Companion Planting: Natural Pest Control For Your Garden
It’s almost the season for summer gardening, and while you may be daydreaming about your flowers and veggies, it’s time to start thinking about something less glamorous but equally as important as where you will put your sprouting squash plants. What are you going to do this year about pests in your garden?
There are a lot of things that have to be considered in home gardening. If you’re planting your own food, chances are you want to experience the freshest organic produce you can get. Losing your crops to pests is frustrating. The tendency is to load up on harsh, chemical pest controls to wipe out any insect preying on your precious plants, but have you thought about using more natural methods?
One such method that should be at the top of your list is companion planting. Companion planting makes use of plant “friends” – other plants placed in proximity to your garden to help with things like pest control, though that isn’t the only benefit. Companion planting can increase the overall health of your plants, providing shade and beneficial microclimates. The result? Healthier plants, which are better at fighting off pests.
Let’s look at what’s involved in companion planting.
Have you ever seen a tomato garden with herbs like basil or dill planted near? Practically, this makes cooking a lot easier, but both dill and basil have been shown to reduce the effects of the tomato hornworm.
Another example. Marigolds have long been a gardener’s friend, helping encourage pollination by attracting bees and butterflies, but also curbing root rot nematodes with their own toxic roots, the effects of which can be felt year after year as the plants are tilled into the ground.
Companion planting can also attract beneficial insects, i.e. insects that prey on other garden pests. Plants like carrots, dill, parsley, and cilantro attract insects like ladybugs, praying mantis, and provide shelter for spiders. These insects hunt down pests and keep their populations under control.
On the other side, companion planting can be used to attract pests, drawing them away from your important crops. For example, flowers like nasturtium attract aphids, a pest that terrorizes gardeners by destroying valuable vegetable plants. Nasturtium is tastier to pests, and allow you to spray insecticides on crops that won’t end up on your plate.
And finally, using companion planting to create microclimates in your garden gives you healthier plants overall. Use taller plants like tomatoes to shade cool season crops like kale, preventing them from bolting as soon in the heat. Or you can use trees like pine and plant acidic soil loving plants like blueberries nearby. As pine needles drop, they are worked into the soil and change the ph levels, providing plants underneath with healthy organic matter that matches their preferences.
It only takes a little thought and planning to pair plants with beneficial friends. As your garden grows and changes, companion planting will encourage healthy plants and a healthier backyard environment. And for further pest control, Green Home Pest Control is available to help keep your home and yard enjoyable using natural pest control methods that won’t run counter to all your hard work companion planting.
Green Home Pest Control in Phoenix has 30 years of combined experience between its professionals. Its goal is to take care of your pest control needs quickly and effectively through more environmentally friendly methods, keeping you healthier and reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. Give us a call, and be assured that your house and the environment are in safe hands.
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