8 Companion Plants That Protect Crops From Pests

8 Companion Plants That Protect Crops From Pests

Back in the day of traditional farming, nobody ever thought to use pesticides on their crops. Although pests existed, farmers managed to grow what they needed, using natural solutions to stave off irritating pests. Nowadays, it’s perfectly normal to use chemical pesticides during agricultural practices. Just spray poison on the crops, which people inevitablly consume, and the pests go away. 

The Problem With Pesticides: 

Well, there isn’t just one single problem; rather, there are many. Pesticide sprays don’t single out the harmful insects from the beneficial ones. For example, they kill bees and butterflies and allow smaller predator populations to recover. They slowly develop a dependence on the chemical sprays, as opposed to the other natural systems. Additionally, plants may also become dependent on chemicals to grow properly. That is all to say that it’s time to get back to repelling insects the natural way, with companion plants. Repelling insects in this fashion actually increases biodiversity and enhances the ecosystems. The following plants may help to keep harmful pests away from what you are trying to grow. 

Alliums:

This belongs to the onion family and the flowers are beautiful purple balls that bloom from tall green spikes, which are reminiscent of scallions. Alliums have been known to repel numerous pests, including slugs, carrot flies, cabbage worms, and aphids. These pests dislike the powerful aroma of alliums. 

Borage:

Borage is an edible plant, with the flowers and leaves being safe for consumption. If you eat the leaves, make sure to choose the young varieties, otherwise they get fuzzy. The flavor is similar to that of a cucumber. They help attract bees and use deep taproots to pull up nutrients from deeper soil, depositing them on the surface. It also works to repel tomato hornworms and cabbage worms. 

Marigolds:

Mosquitos, aphids, plant lice, and even rabbits avoid marigolds because they have a potent aroma. Fruit and vegetable farmers have used these little flowering plants to repel pests for many years. They are very easy to grow, especially in flower beds or planters. Make sure that they receive ample sunlight to thrive. 

Petunias:

If you want to protect members of the brassica family (cruciferous vegetables), you’ll do well to plant petunias in the vicinity. The vibrant colors are signature to these wonderful flowers. Leafhoppers, tomato hornworms, aphids, and squash bugs do not like these flowers. 

Mosquito Plant:

Yes, this is in fact a legitimate plant that offers a lacy green foliage and purple flowers. It’s also called citronella-scented geranium, and it is effective at repelling mosquitos. Mosquitos despise the citrusy aroma that comes from the plant’s natural oils. If you have lots of them flying around your yard, plant a couple to help repel mosquitos. 

Sunflowers:

These are great garden companions because they help repel pests. Additionally, they are quite beautiful and distract aphids and white flies away from nearby plants. Those pests don’t actually have a negative effect on sunflowers, but they will harm other crops. Plant a few and see how the surrounding crops thrive. 

Chrysanthemums: 

Beetles, ticks, roaches, fleas, lice, mites, and ants will flee your garden when chrysanthemums are present. Several studies found that the extracts from the flowers can actually kill some of the aforementioned insects. In fact, chrysanthemum extract is a common ingredient in many residential insecticide products. This explains why pests steer clear of them.

Basil:

There’s an enchanting quality to basil’s fresh aroma. Moths, mosquitos, and flies do not agree with this sentiment. In fact, they will steer clear of basil because of the potent scent. If you’re in a pinch and need to repel bugs away from your body, crush some basil leaves in your hand and rub them on your skin. You won’t have mosquito problems after that. 

Sources:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/crops-protect-plants-from-pests/
http://chemung.cce.cornell.edu/resources/companion-planting
https://www.farmersalmanac.com/what-to-plant-to-keep-bugs-away-24734

2021-07-29T12:34:10-07:00

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