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organic gardening

Organic Gardening and Companion Planting

I’ve been reading and researching about companion planting this year. Now that I’m managing a community organic garden I thought it was time to amp it up as far as learning more about what kinds of plants will attract beneficial insects and also repel harmful insects (Integrated Pest Management). Being an organic gardener it’s wise to utilize annuals, perennials and herbs alongside your veggies to help them produce and deter harmful insects.  Companion planting will attract more bees to pollinate and birds to munch on harmful insects.

I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on what I have learned by providing a list of the best plants and herbs to help you on your way to companion planting in your garden this year. For those making their plans and seed purchases now, here’s a helpful guide from the Iowa State University Extension on planting and harvesting times for vegetables in Iowa.

Asters

Deters most insects

Basil

Basil repels white fly and makes a good companion to tomatoes, in the garden & the kitchen. Use 3 basil plants to each tomato plant. Basil also repels flies and mosquitoes, so useful in kitchen, outdoor barbecues. Don’t plant near rue. Deters tomato hornworm, aphids, flies and mosquitoes. Slows growth of milkweed bugs and acts as a fungicide.Borage – Deters tomato worm – improves growth and flavor of tomatoes

Borage

Plant with strawberries to increase crop. Also good with tomatoes and squash. Attracts bees to the garden. Deters tomato worms, attracts bees, helps growth and flavor.

Calendula (Pot Marigold)

Deters asparagus beetles, tomato worms and general garden pests

Catnip

Deters flea beetle

Celery

White cabbage butterfly

Chamomile

Improves growth and flavor of onions and cabbages.

Chrysanthemum

Deters most insects

Dead Nettle

Deters potato bug – improves growth and flavor of potatoes

Eggplant

Deters Colorado potato beetle

Fennel

Repels fleas, so grow it around dog kennel.

Flax

Deters potato bug

Garlic

Deters Japanese beetle – other insects and blight

Geranium

Deters most insects. Plant near roses, grapes and corn. Repels cabbage worm. Oil of geranium prevents red spider mite.

Horseradish

Plant at corners of potato patch to deter potato bug

Henbit

General insect repellant

Hyssop

Deters cabbage moth, white butterflies, good insect repellant

Lavendar

Lavender bags repel mice, ticks and moths.

Marigold

The workhouse of the pest deterrents. Plant throughout garden to discourage Mexican bean beetles, nematodes and other insects.

Mint

Deters white cabbage moth and ants

Nasturtium

Good insect repellent. Deters aphids, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles

Onion Family

Deters most pests

Oregano

Plant near broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to repel cabbage butterfly and near cucumbers to repel cucumber beetle. Also benefits grapes.

Petunia

Protects beans

Peppermint

Planted among cabbages, it repels the white cabbage butterfly

Radish

Especially deters cucumber beetle

Rosemary

Deters cabbage moth, bean beetle and carrot fly

Rue

Deters Japanese Beetle

Sage

Deters cabbage moth, carrot fly

Salsify

Repels carrot fly

Southernwood

Deters cabbage moth

Summer Savory

Deters bean beetles

Tansy

Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, ants

Tomato

Asparagus beetle

Thyme

Deters cabbage worm

Wormwood

Carrot fly, white cabbage butterfly, black flea beetle

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About Dawn

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Discussion

9 thoughts on “Organic Gardening and Companion Planting

  1. Hey, Dawn! Great post, thanks for the tips.

    I’ve also read that garlic, onions, and horseradish are good for detering rabbits. Although, nothing will stop the beasts in my neighborhood. LOL

    Any tips for starting rosemary from seeds? The best info I can find on the web is to plant them and then neglect them. 🙂 People give up and then that’s when they seem to do best. Mine aren’t doing anything and I started them (8 or so) over 4 weeks ago and a new batch (18 seeds) yesterday.

    See you next week! 😀

    Posted by Stephanie | April 9, 2010, 6:55 pm
  2. Oh Stephanie. I have not tried rosemary!

    You know what keeps those rascally rabbits out of your garden?! Human hair. Yes, that’s right. Go to your neighborhood salon and ask them to keep some for you.

    I took an old pair of nylons and made small “balls” of human hair. Staked them a rabbit level on the edges of my garden.

    Walaa … it was magical!

    I can’t wait to see you in 7 days 🙂

    Posted by Dawn | April 10, 2010, 8:35 pm
  3. Thanks for the extensive companion planting list. What do you recommend for an organic insect spray? I found an organic bug spray online called Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer that’s made by Safer Brand. Have you heard of it? It kills a lot of different bugs and is safe to use up to the day of harvest.
    Here’s the spray I’m talking about:
    http://www.saferbrand.com/store/garden-care/5085

    Posted by Greg | April 22, 2010, 2:49 am
  4. There is a known toxicity in pyrethins, an ingredient in this “organic” bug spray.

    Red spider mites can be controlled with planting garlic near tomatoes. Cutworms, place wood ash on soil. Adding lime, bone meal, and Epsom Salts to the soil tomatoes are planted in can fend off many tomato plant pests.

    Tomatoes are one of those plants subject to pest infestation if placed in the same area of your garden year to year. Rotate the area for planting tomatoes each year.

    Posted by Dawn | April 23, 2010, 11:27 am
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