Gardening Tips - Interplanting Can Foil Pests

Published: 18th May 2009
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An invasion of aphids or an encampment of slugs in your garden patch doesn't need to send you running to the nearest garden center for one of the many broad spectrum insecticides.

Our grandparents raised bountiful gardens without the use of chemical pesticides, and there are many lessons we can learn from them about taking care of our gardens.

Here are some suggestions about inter-planting and home-made insecticides. Hopefully, more and more people will concern themselves with living environmentally sound lives and still have bumper crops of more healthful, better tasting, fruits and vegetables.

Border planting and inter-planting crops in specific combinations can help eliminate many varieties of insect pests in the garden...

Marigolds rid the soil of nematodes and Mexican bean beetles. Grow marigolds where tomatoes and eggplant are to go the next year. In the fall, dig in the plant residue or leave as a mulch through the winter. The factor that kills the worms is produced slowly in the roots of the plants and gradually released into the soil. The good effect of inter-planting marigolds may not show the first year.

Nasturtiums defer aphids, squash bugs and striped pumpkin beetles. Grow them between vegetable rows and around fruit trees.

Rosemary deters cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot flies. Plant around your vegetable garden.

Sage deters cabbage moths and carrot flies. Plant with rosemary, cabbage and carrots, but keep away from your cucumbers.

Chives keep Japanese beetles at a healthy distance from raspberries and grape vines.

Onions deter most pests.

Mint deters white cabbage moths and ants. Plant along side members of the cabbage family.

Soybeans shield corn from clinch bugs. Plant in alternate rows with your corn.

Garlic repels aphids from roses, fruit trees and cabbages. Plant the cloves near these flowers, fruits and vegetables.

There are also several home-made insecticides. Common plant oils, food stuffs and household items can be very effective in the treatment of insect infestations. They can be used as sprays, dusts, bait or as rinses and baths.

To make a spray from plant oils, chop or grind the plant and add an equal part of water. Strain, if necessary, and mix with emulsifiers such as fish oil and liquid soap. As oil tends to separate out, use the spraying solution as soon as possible. Some remedies you can make at home are:

A strong soap and water solution sprayed on infected plants will rid them of aphids and mites.

Garlic oil spray is effective against onion flies, aphids, thrips and ermine moths. Onion and chive solutions are also effective.

Mineral oil applied to corn silk with an eye dropper when the silks have turned brown will eliminate corn earworms.

Table salt sprinkled on slugs and snails is lethal.

Hot pepper, salt and sour milk spray has proven effective on cabbage maggot.

Paper or tin can collars placed around plant stems and forced down into the soil will prevent cutworm damage.

For tons of great information about gardening visit Out of the Soil. Check out the great Organic Gardening Guide you'll find there to help you be even more environmentally solid!

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