That would be the aphids, caterpillars, ants, and so forth. If you've spent any time in your garden lately, you have seen the evil ones preying on your beautiful veggies. Some sneaky caterpillars were seen munching on our cabbage leaves the other day. Ants were delightfully dancing on the spaghetti squash. Last year, the tomatoes were bombarded with some really creepy things I never did identify.
The question is, how do you defend yourself from these pesky pests while keeping things “natural” in the garden?
An age old practice called “companion planting” can be put into place very easily. What this means is that you should plant certain things along side others in order to enhance the growth of your veggies while repelling the enemies. Bugs are attracted or repelled by scents and plants thrive while in the company of their friends.
Try these in the garden:
- Old fashioned pungently scented Marigolds- Marigolds can be planted all throughout the garden, so make sure you utilize them to the fullest. They'll add some color too and attract things you DO want in the garden like bees (to pollinate) and Ladybugs (to feast on the unwanted visitors).
- Garlic- It keeps vampires away, so just imagine what it will do to bugs.
- Onions- I've never seen any garden pests on my onions. You also don't want to eat these on a first date.
- Lavender- Delightfully pleasing to humans, but many bugs don't care for it so much.
To combat the recent ant problem going on in my garden, I mixed up a solution in a spray bottle of 20 ounces water along with essentials oils of peppermint, lemongrass and lavender, about 10 drops of each. Finding the ant hill among the twisting vines of spaghetti squash proved to be a little difficult, but once discovered, that hill got blasted with the heavenly aroma of my homemade essential oil concoction. This can also be sprayed directly on the plants themselves to get rid of the ants that are currently creeping their way around. To get rid of larger things like caterpillars, slip on some gloves and remove them by hand. Be sure to check the underneath side of large leaves where they might be camouflaged. A word of caution regarding essential oils: Pregnant women should avoid many essential oils and they should not be used where cats will have direct contact.
This isn't a one time thing where you go spray something and then you're finished. You will need to be persistent, but if you're determined to maintain a chemical free natural garden, you'll be glad you stuck it out and didn't reach for that handy bottle of pesticide.
Now go smash some bugs!