Pest Control Plants
SunflowerOne of the great things about gardening is that in some ways your garden can take care of itself. Now I'm not endorsing abandoning your garden chores completely, but there are a few things that you can do to make your work a little easier. One of these things is to select plants for your garden that will help control insect pests.
Certain plants contain properties that either invite beneficial insects or repel harmful insects. Beneficial insects prey on pests that cause damage in the garden. Ladybugs and praying mantis are good examples of beneficial bugs.
Using plants for pest control not only cuts down on your workload, but it also reduces the amount of insecticides that you use in your garden. And fewer insecticides means more good bugs, which in turn means help in controlling bad bugs.
Remember that what works in my garden may not work in yours. Every garden is different with its own microclimate, soil type, and pest control issues. It is important that you experiment to find out what works best for your situation. With this thought in mind, it also helps to choose plants that are native to your area. This way beneficial insects will already know what to look for.
Artemisia - This plant produces a strong antiseptic, although not unpleasant aroma that repels most insects. Planted in drifts it can also deter small animals. My favorite variety is 'Powis Castle'. I prefer to use this plant in flower borders and not in my vegetable garden because it produces a botanical poison.
Basil -The oils in basil are said to repel thrips, flies and mosquitoes. I plant basil along side my tomatoes for larger, tastier tomatoes. However, basil and rue should not be planted together.
Bee Balm - I love this plant because it attracts bees to my garden. It is another plant that you can grow with your tomatoes.
Borage - This plant is a real workhorse in the garden. It repels tomato hornworms and cabbage worms and attracts beneficial bees and wasps. Borage also adds trace elements to the soil. This is an annual, but readily comes back each year from seed.
Catnip - I think that this plant repels just about everything, except for cats of course! Use it to keep away flea beetles, aphids, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, ants, and weevils. I use sachets of dried catnip to deter the annual parade of ants that invade my kitchen. My favorite variety of catnip is 'Six Hills Giant' because of its proliferation of sky blue blooms.
Chives - Chives are one of my favorite herbs. Not only do I love the flavor but their grassy foliage and round flower heads also add so much interest to my garden. You can plant chives to repel Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies. It has also been said that chives will help prevent scab when planted among apple trees.http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/pest-control-plants