What can I plant to keep pests away?
It’s a familiar sight to gardeners. A neon green tomato hornworm burrowing its way into a juicy red tomato hanging like an ornament on the vine. Rather than use chemicals to keep pests away, consider companion planting. Flowers such as zinnias attract ladybugs, which will turn aphids into appetizers. Marigolds not only give your garden a pop of color but also they can keep certain beetles away from asparagus, and nematodes off eggplant. Nasturtium repels cucumber beetles, and petunias can thwart aphids, leafhoppers and tomato worms. Plant basil beside tomatoes for a larger, tastier crop while effectively discouraging mosquitoes and flies.
Mint, fennel, and garlic are good to eat and have the added benefit of repelling many pests including aphids, root maggots, and snails. One way to discourage snails is to sprinkle crushed eggshells between the rows. They don’t like obstacles.
Got slugs? Make a slug trap using half buried used yogurt cups, or put out plastic cups with a bit of beer in the bottoms.
And those tomato hornworms? Send them on their way with borage which has the added benefit of adding trace elements to the soil. Also borage’s purple star-shaped flower attracts bees and wasps, which are helpful for pollination and for pest control.