Insects in the organic garden

Produce provided by Mother Nature

For the organic gardener companion planting of vegetables/herbs or flowers serves a single purpose, to imitate Mother Natures relationships between plant species.   These relationships are symbiotic.  Some plants will detract pests by masking or hiding crops because of colour, shape or scent confusion.  Some plants exude chemicals that inhibit disease and/or pests.  Many flowering herbs, vegetables and plants not only attract predators but attract bees who will supply nectar and pollen to the garden.  Still other combinations of plants work well because they live in similar habitats but have different plant heights, root depths and food requirements and as a result do not compete with one another.  Every plant has a purpose.  One of the most vital are plants who clean. Mustard for example is not only a soil cleaner but restores vital nutrients ready for Mother Nature to begin her cycle of production again.

Insect and animal friends of the garden also play a role.  The importance of hoverflies, lacewings, predatory wasps and ladybirds cannot be underestimated.  Animals such as spiders, birds, hedgehogs, praying mantis, beetles and bees too, aid pest and disease prevention and protection as well as encouraging fertility.

For a good general pest control against all insects except bees use hyssop or New Zealand spinach is renowned as keeping all manner of flying insects from neighbouring plants.  In contrast the apiaceae family (which includes celery, parsnips and fennel) and the brassica brigade (broccoli, cabbage,  mustard etc) if left to flower, will attract beneficial insects to the garden.  Remember too a well mulched garden will provide a sheltered home for spiders, beetles and birds and encourage earthworms, which not only improves soil fertility but helps plants to be more resistant to pests and disease. Happy gardening!

Attracting Beneficial Insects
  • Amaranth Ground beetles, bombardier beetles
  • Anise Wasps
  • Celery flowers Wasps
  • Chamomile Hoverflies, wasps
  • Chervil Hoverflies, wasps
  • Clover Ground beetles
  • Dandelion Wasps
  • Hawthorn Parasites of Diamond Black Moth
  • Hyssop Hoverflies, wasps
  • Ivy Hoverflies, wasps
  • Marguerite Daisy Wasps
  • Marigold Hoverflies
  • Mint Hoverflies, wasps
  • Mustard Wide variety of parasites
  • Ragweed Strawberry leaf bugs, parasites of oriental fruit
  • Stinging Nettle Many beneficial insects
  • Strawberry Parasites of oriental fruit
  • Sunflower Lacewings, wasps
  • Tansy Ladybirds
  • Yarrow Ladybirds, wasps
Insect Repellents
  • Ants  Tansy, spearmint, penny royal
  • Aphids (woolly)  Clover, chives
  • Aphids  Nasturtium, tobacco, chives, coriander, garlic, pyrethrum, spearmint
  • Bean Beetle  Marigolds, potatoes, onions, turnips
  • Borer  Tansy, lavender, garlic
  • Cabbage butterfly  Peppermint, tomato
  • Cabbage moth  Dill
  • Carrot fly  Parsley, onions/leeks, rosemary, sage
  • Codling moth  Common oleander
  • Cucumber Beetle  Radish, Tansy
  • Fleas  Chamomile, lavender, santolina, fennel, fleabane, tansy, wormwood
  • Flies  Elder leaves,  basil, rue, tansy
  • Green Fly  Rhubarb
  • Harlequin Bug  Radish, turnip, onions
  • Japanese Beetle  Rue, garlic, larkspur
  • Leaf Hopper  Geraniums
  • Lice  Thyme oil, catnip oil
  • Mosquito  Lavender, basil, garlic
  • Moth  Dried rosemary, santolina
  • Nematodes  Marigolds (tagetes), mustard, French lavender
  • Red Spider Mites  Garlic, rhubarb
  • Silverfish  Bay leaves
  • Stink Bug  Radish, Jerusalem artichoke
  • Thrips Marigolds, tobacco, nasturtium
  • Weevils  Dried garlic cloves
  • White Butterly  Sage, peppermint
  • White Fly  Rhubarb, nasturtium, marigolds
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