[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] Scandinavian Kitchen by South West Kitchen Designers & Remodelers Sustainable Kitchens[/caption] This Cotswolds kitchen was a little different from the projects Sam Shaw of Sustainable Kitchens usually designs. “We do lots of oak-fronted, Shaker-style kitchens,” Shaw says. But the owners of this kitchen, part of a newly built “almost passive” eco...
No one likes to see precious garden vegetables eaten away by bugs. What if you could keep those damaging insects away from your edibles without using insecticides? All it takes is a few helpful plants, better known as companion plants.
Companion plants help keep unwanted bugs away, but they also attract pollinators for many vegetables, like cucumbers, melons, squash and tomatoes. You may be surprised to discover that you are probably already familiar with many of these helpful plants.
How Companion Plants Work
There are many companion plants that help repel damaging insects. You may wonder, how do they do that?
Insects are often guided to plants by their scent. Aromatic plants such as marigolds, garlic, nasturtiums and basil will help keep bad bugs away from your vegetable garden.
Other ways that companion plants help in the vegetable garden is by attracting beneficial insects, which help pollinate flowering vegetables. Some companion plants also attract good bugs that will eat the unwanted bugs.
Cucumbers, squash and tomatoes are just a few plants in the vegetable garden that need to have their flowers pollinated to produce delicious vegetables for your table. Flowering companion plants like alyssum and bachelor’s button add beauty to the garden while attracting pollinators.
Popular Companion Plants
Companion plants aren’t fussy and are easy to grow. Here are a few that can help out in your vegetable garden.
Repel unwanted bugs: Basil, garlic, geraniums, marigolds, lavender, nasturtiums, petunias, rosemary, sage and thyme
Attract beneficial insects: Alyssum, bachelor’s button, cosmos and chamomile
Basil masks the alluring scent of your vegetable plants, keeping bad bugs away. Here are two other reasons to grow basil in your garden:
Basil is very easy to grow from seed or seedlings once the danger of frost has passed. You can also grow it in containers.
It’s hard to beat the fresh taste of basil in a favorite Italian dish.
Nasturtiums are great companion plants because bugs hate their peppery scent. They not only repel bugs you don’t want around, they also attract pollinators. But there are other benefits of adding nasturtiums to your vegetable garden:
• Every part of nasturtiums is edible, and they add a delicious, peppery taste to salads.
• They are easy to grow from seed.
• The flowers add beauty to any vegetable garden.
Marigolds add a bright and sunny spot of color. Pest bugs simply hate them and stay away. Purchase them in six-packs or start them from seed.
Alyssum does double duty as a companion plant. Its flowers attract pollinators as well as good bugs that feed upon the unwanted ones. They have other benefits too:
The flowers have a sweet fragrance.
You can buy them in six-packs from the nursery or simply scatter seeds throughout the garden.
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