Companion Planting- The Organic Gardener’s Best Friend
Every gardener knows that one of the biggest threats to your beautiful garden is harmful bugs, that’s why pest control gilbert az is important. Many, if not most, gardeners would prefer a chemical-less solution to these everyday pests. If that is the case then companion planting is definitely one of the best solutions to these everyday terrors. Most plants have a plant that pairs well with it because it repels harmful pests, provides a necessary function for the plant, or improves the plant’s taste. A few of your most basic plants that are amazing pest repellants are marigolds, mint, rosemary, and catnip. Marigolds for example repel ants, aphids, mosquitoes, rabbits, and even nematodes. Mint repels most flying insects, can be mixed with witch hazel to create a very effective mosquito spray, and even helps repel biting insects from pets.
Rosemary repels mosquitoes, cabbage loopers, carrot flies, slugs, snails, and Mexican bean beetles but also attracts butterflies. Catnip is said to be ten times more effective than DEET. Catnip repels flea beetles, mosquitoes, ants, squash beetles, cuke beetles and many more. Not only are these several plants very effective insect repellants, but they smell lovely, and can grow with almost any other plant in your garden.
In other cases the companion planting becomes much more important. Basil is best planted with tomatoes and lettuce because it improves the overall flavor of its companions, as a bonus fresh basil tastes great in recipes and also repels mosquitoes. Beans grow great with corn, marigolds, potatoes, and radishes. Beans have traditionally been planted with corn by American Indians because the corn provides a strong stalk for the beans to grow and climb upon and shade enough for the beans and the beans provide nitrogen in the roots for the corn.
Beets best companion plants are broccoli, brussel sprouts, bush beans, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, and onions. Most of these are good planting companions because they are of the leafy vegetable family and will cause an increased yield in each other as well as build disease resistance in each other. Chives make great partner plants to a great many plants some of which include apples, berries, carrots, grapes, peas, roses and tomatoes. Chives are such a great companion plant because they generally improve the flavor of most things planted around them but chives also deters many natural pests most particularly aphids and Japanese beetles. Cucumbers on the other hand tend to rely pretty heavily on companion plants because they are relatively fragile vine plants. Cucumbers are best planted with beans, cabbage, corn, radishes and sunflowers; the beans, cabbage, corn and sunflowers provide necessary shade for the cucumber and radishes deter the cucumber beetle.
Another great way to protect your garden is by introducing plants that attract beneficial bugs to your garden. Two of the biggest beneficial insects for your garden are praying mantises and lady bugs. The mantis is a great insect to encourage in your garden because the entire family is more or less indiscriminate in what they eat but they commonly prey on flies, crickets, moths and mosquitoes and the mantis will lay an egg sack with over three hundred eggs. Ladybugs most commonly feed on one of the biggest garden pests: aphids, but they will also eat other soft bodied insects like whiteflies, scale insects and mites. To attract these beneficial insects you will want to plant parsley, dill or fennel. This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of companion plants so when you get ready to plant your next batch of veggies or flowers remember that nearly every plant has a companion that helps it in one way or the other and consider planting them with their natural partners. The use of companion plants will make your plants taste great, provide the necessary nutrients or shade, and can naturally repel some of the most invasive insects.