Companion Planting, part 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent a large chunk of last week sorting out a plan for this year’s expanded garden. In thinking about mistakes I had made last year, one of the worst ones had to do with garden pests, and so how to keep said pests from repeating their demolition weighed heavily on my mind.
I’d already been enlisting the help of certain plants for pest control in the house, with varying degrees of success. For instance, rosemary, lavender and basil planted in windowboxes did actually seem to have some effect on keeping mosquitos and flies away from the open windows. However, my planting of mint around the house didn’t do the promised job of keeping away ants. (Maybe I didn’t plant enough of it?) Then again, who knows if the catnip would have done it’s job since the cats pretty much rolled in it until it was nothing but nubs in a puddle of mud.
Note to self: put the catnip in pots next time.

So! Moving on!
This year, I want to extend this concept to the raised vegetable beds in my garden. Not only do I hope for an elimination of the use of pesticides (I use non-toxic ones, but it would be nice to use none at all. yes, this may be a pipe dream) and having to do less work to keep the bugs out, but an awful lot of the stuff listed here is also useful in cooking, and I might have grown it in a pot anyway.

In thinking back to last year, I know I have issues with cucumber beetles, so I’ll want to plant marigolds and nasturniums around that area. (catnip is also noted to help, as is something called tansy, which I’d never heard of)
Radishes are also good for squash beetles, and the horrible, horrible vine borers that invaded last year. Mmm. I like radishes. (adds radishes to list)

Marigolds seem to be a sort of miracle flower, they are noted to keep away not only the beetles, but aphids and whiteflies as well – two other common garden pests in my area.

Rosemary also seems to be a nice catch-all plant, as do plants in the mint family (again, this includes catnip). We do have a little ant problem, and I suspect the husband wouldn’t complain one bit if I got rid of all the grass around the garden beds and replaced it with mint. Mojitos anyone?

Anyway, I’ve comprised this list from varying places around ye olde internet of companion plants to combat pests I see here in my zone. I hope it helps! You can find lots more information if I’ve left out a pest in your area in books like this one: Carrots Love Tomatoes. I’ll try and touch on companion planting for better yields in a couple weeks…

Companion Plants for Pest Control in the garden:

Aphids – Catnip, Chives, Coriander, Marigolds, Mint, Nasturtium, Oregano, SUnflower

Ants – Catnip, Mint, Tansy, Wormwood

Bean Beetle – Marigold, Nasturtium, Rosemary, Savory

Cabbage Moth – Artemesia, Hyssop, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tansy, Thyme, Wormwood

Carrot Fly – Lettuce, Rosemary, Sage, Wormwood

Cucumber Beetle – Tansy

Flea Beetle – Catnip, Mint, Sage, Tansy, Wormwood

Flies – Basil, Tansy

Japanese Beetles – Begonia, Catnip Chives, Garlic, Hydrangea, Pansy, & Rue (near roses and raspberries), Tansy

Potato Bugs – Horseradish, flax

Mosquitoes – Basil, Rosemary, Geraniums, Citronella

Nematodes – Marigold

Squash Bugs & Beetles & Vine Borers – Mint, Nasturtium, Tansy, Radish

Tomato Horn Worm – Borage, Marigold

Whiteflies – Basil, Marigold, Oregano, Peppermint, Wormwood


5 thoughts on “Companion Planting, part 1

  1. I have to caution against Tansy, it’s considered a noxious and invasive weed in a lot of places, iirc, and is toxic to people and pets. I don’t have a problem with cucumber beetles but I do have a lot of Asters planted and they are related to Tansy so maybe it’s a close enough relation to also discourage the beetles? idk.

      • You also need to remember that any type of mint is invasive..keep it contained..that goes for catnip too!
        The last two seasons I have had a problem with vine borers too, the problem with planting marigolds with squash is that the borers get in there when the vine is still young, and the marigolds aren’t in bloom. Just something to think about. I do love to companion plant though. Good luck let us know how it turns out!

      • I’m cheating and buying marigold plants, lol.
        The borers came around in late May last year, so I hope that’s enough time. I also heard to wrap the stems with tinfoil or old pantyhose?

  2. I questioned the old farmers in my area, they said that I had started my squash late. Evidently the moth that lays its larva aren’t around earlier in the season. So this year I planted my seeds earlier. So far so good. I have a horrible time with tomato horn worm…hate hand picking but my chickes love them! I have tried using marigold and this year I planted nasturium in my veggie beds. Suppose to be another good companion plant for bug repelent…they are also edible.

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