Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden
Are you constantly on the lookout for damaging insects eating your vegetables. Well, instead of reaching for the nearest pesticide, how about letting 'companion plants' keep those 'bad bugs' away? 'Companion plants' are a vegetable garden's best friend. They repel damaging insects and attract beneficial insects.
Every year, I have bachelor's button, cosmos, marigolds and nasturtiums growing alongside my vegetables. They do a great job at keeping damaging bugs out as well as attracting pollinators.
Here are some favorite companion plants that you may want to try in your vegetable garden:
Alyssum has a beautiful, sweet fragrance and their white flowers attract butterflies and ladybugs, which are important pollinators. Insects that eat mealy bugs, scale, thrips and spider mites are also attracted to alyssum and will help to keep those damaging bugs away.
Bachelor's Button has bright blue flower that attract pollinators that are important to the formation of beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. They also attract insects that will prey upon damaging insects such as scales and thrips.
Cosmos are a vegetable's best friend. In addition to attracting insects that will feast upon mealy bugs, Cosmos also serve a general deterrent to insects.
Lavender acts as a great repellent in my garden. It repels ants, aphids, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Butterflies and bees don't share the same aversion to lavender -- they absolutely love it!
Marigolds are probably my favorite companion plant. I love their bright orange blossoms and how easy they are to grow. Damaging insects are repelled by their fragrance. Each year, I let my marigolds go to seed and they come back up every year.
Nasturtiums are a welcome sight in the garden with their sunny flowers. But, bad bugs absolutely hate them. Nasturtiums repel sucking insects such as aphids and whiteflies while attracting beneficial insects that 'eat' bad bugs like scale.
Rosemary isn't just for cooking. When in flower, bees are attracted to them and will pollinate your beans, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. In addition, the aromatic fragrance of the rosemary messes with the ability of 'bad bugs' to detect delicious vegetables.
Other great companion plants to try in your garden are basil, calendula, catmint, coreopsis, dill, fleabane, sage and thyme.
So the next time you plant your vegetables, be sure to add companion plants alongside them to keep the bad bugs out and bring the good bugs in.
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