Companion planting in your vegetable garden is a great way to naturally and organically deter pests. To achieve a chemical free garden, it is important to have companion planting as part of your strategy and it only takes a little forethought and planning.
How Companion Planting Works
Companion planting works by using flowers, herbs and some bulb crops to either deter the pests by their scent or to attract the pests away from your vegetable crops to the companion plants using their blooms or scent.
Flower blooms can also hide vegetable crops from the pests while some scents will simply confuse the pests. For example, when you plant tomatoes and cabbages together their scents can mask the other creating confusion for some moths.
You can also use companion planting to keep down the weeds at the base of the plant using annual flowers with shallow roots such as alyssum. (Paid link)
Keeping Known Insect Repelling Plants in Pots
The vegetable garden is made up of annual crops which will need to be moved to a different spot every year. Many of the herbs and flowers that will protect these crops are perennials so it is advantageous to keep these plants in pots so they can easily be moved to their new position without any hard work on your part.
Herbs and geraniums grow well in pots. Rosemary, lavender and sage are known to have insect repellent properties while geraniums will repel white butterflies.
Planning Our Your Vegetable Garden
It helps to draw out a plan of your vegetable garden every year then keep it on record to refer to so you get the health benefits from crop rotation. This will produce stronger plants that are more resistant to disease.
Consider planting a hedge of pest deterrent plants such as rosemary or lavender around the outside rim of your vegetable garden. Not only will it look beautiful and smell amazing but it will help to detract the pests.
Plant annual flowers around the appropriate vegetables rotating the annual flowers as you would the rest of the garden every year. The flowers will attract the pests away from the vegetables to their blooms.
Vegetable Companion Plants
Below is a list of companion plants and their benefits. It will depend on your climate and what vegetables you can grow at a certain time of the year as to what companion plants you choose.
Try experimenting with plants that you know grows well in your climate to see what effect they have on your pests. Growing these plants in pots is a great way to be able to move them from one vegetable crop to another to see where they are the most useful.
Alyssum – Blocks out weeds and attracts wasps and hoverflies.
Nasturtiums – Repel aphids from vegetable crops if planted at the base of the plants. Especially good paired with climbing beans.
Scented Geraniums – Repels cabbage white butterfly.
Marigolds and Calendula (paid link)– Aphid and mosquito repellent.
Chrysanthemums – Beetle, roach, tick and silverfish repellent.
Petunias – They will attract some bugs and repel others such as beetles and aphids.
Onion – Excellent insect repelling properties. Plant near any crop you are having particular trouble with.
Leeks – Flowering leeks disguise the smell of tomatoes and attract pests.
Garlic – Plant near spinach, silverbeet or lettuce to repel pests.
Sage – Repels white butterflies.
Rosemary and Lavender – General pest repellent.
Mint – Can repel some insects.
Basil – Known to deter flies and mosquitos.
Clover – Such as red clover will need to be kept short until the plants have developed a good root system then let the clover flower. It will repel white moths. The cut clover is also good for your compost.
Catnip – Known to repel ants which attract aphids and your cat will love you too!
Companion planting is trial and error to find out what will work best in your situation. You may find that certain weeds will be effective pest repellents but they will need to be managed well so you don’t end up with a weed problem.
Looking for pots to plant your companion plants in? Try these top rated UV resistant resin pots from Amazon. (Paid link)
To Save or Print this guide to companion planting in your vegetable garden, click the button below for the PDF version.
Are you a homebody? Try this Homesteading guide.
Subscribe to our fortnightly mailing list to recieve our latest posts direct to your inbox & receive 50 ways to save money at home free.
We will never sell your address to third parties or send you spam.Follow Grow Create Save on: