There’s a good reason grandma always had a row of flowers in her veggie garden!
I’ve spent the past few days really getting organized for spring planting and thought I’d share a couple of things that may be helpful. Many of us have stopped using chemicals and I heard about last year’s frustrations with garden yields as well total loss of veggies as a result of bugs etc.
Mother Nature has her own pest control & fertilization method and I‘m going to put as many out there as I know. The buzzword for this is “Companion Planting” and that’s the perfect descriptor.
Flowering Pest Management:
Most of us know that marigolds are an insect repellent, but there are plenty more that you should consider adding. Cosmos, chrysanthemum and nasturtiums do as good of a job and personally, I’m a big fan of nasturtiums in the garden as well as on my salad, so that one’s double duty in my book.
If you hate Japanese Beetles, you gotta love geraniums! Hard to believe that those beetles that munch their way north every summer taking out roses, crepes, berries, fruit trees and anything else they care to inhale are actually deterred by the geranium. Plant them around trees, in your veggie garden, near your roses or fill up pots and planters everywhere so you can saturate any area quickly with these beautiful blooms that beetles avoid. I’ve long given up the beetle traps as I think they bring in more than they destroy. I plan to fill every pot with at least some geraniums and my preference is the herbal “scented geranium” as it also keeps away mosquitoes.
Anise is an every king of bug deterrent as well as a perennial in our zone 7.
Friends with Benes
The following are perfect companions. They deter detrimental bugs from their partner(s) plant as well as gifting the dirt with nutrients that their partner(s) love. Perfectly paired!
Asparagus with tomatoes, nasturtiums & parsley
Basil with tomatoes
Beans with strawberries, petunias, rosemary, savory & potatoes (I’m going to underscore beans & potatoes together as an important pairing as potatoes discourage the bean beetle and the bean discourages the potatoes beetle and we all grow lots of each)
Beets with onions
Broccoli with chamomile (I prefer German), zinnias, mint & chives
Brussels Sprouts with chamomile, zinnias & mint
Cabbage with rosemary, sage, thyme, chamomile, zinnias & mint
Carrots with chives, tomatoes, peas, lettuce and almost every herb EXCEPT DILL
Cauliflower with zinnias and mint
Celery and leeks
Chard and onions
Chives with carrots, broccoli, lettuce and peas
Corn with beans, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, radishes and any berry
Cucumbers with corn & radishes
Garlic with berries, lettuce
Lettuce with carrots, chives, garlic, radishes, strawberries, zinnias
Parsnips with beans, poppers, potatoes and peas
Peas with carrots, chives, garlic and radishes
Potatoes with beans, corn, flax dead nettle
Pumpkins LOVE corn
Squash with nasturtiums, corn, geraniums and borage
Strawberries with beans and lettuce
Tomatoes with most herbs, onions, asparagus, carrots and if we keep having weird weather, cabbage
NOT FRIENDS, EVER
The following aren’t helpful for one another; moreover, they are actually harmful and fight for the same nutrients in the dirt and will quickly deplete your soil. Keep them in a separate bed all together. If you rotate your crops, keep in mind that one should never follow the other in the same bed.
Beets and beans
Broccoli and strawberries
Carrots and dill
Cauliflower and strawberries
Chives and beans (yes, I know peas & chives love one another)
Garlic and any bean, pea, ok legumes
Onions and peas, beans
Parsnips and carrots, celery & caraway
Peas and onions
Potatoes and squash, tomatoes, sunflowers
Pumpkins and potatoes
Strawberries and cabbage, broccoli, Brussels, cauliflower
Tomatoes and potatoes, cabbage
The only non-plant deterrent I’m going to add is the swizzle stick or any small sipping straw. Those cannot be beat when stopping the cutworm. As you put your veggie starts/slips in the ground, before you pat it down, push in a swizzle stick touching the stem of your plant. If you’re growing from seed, as soon as the stem of your plant is up a few inches, insert the stick, again touching the stem. If the worm cannot wrap completely around the stem, it can’t cut it and won’t do any harm. Sweet~
I hope this helps; it’s a list I keep handy as I begin to layout what and where for the spring. If you have something to add – please send it along!
Granted it’s not as much fun as playing in the dirt, but planning your attack is the next best thing, especially when is only 22 degrees outside!