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.
Deters most insects
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
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
Deters flea beetle
White cabbage butterfly
Improves growth and flavor of onions and cabbages.
Deters most insects
Deters potato bug – improves growth and flavor of potatoes
Deters Colorado potato beetle
Repels fleas, so grow it around dog kennel.
Deters potato bug
Deters Japanese beetle – other insects and blight
Deters most insects. Plant near roses, grapes and corn. Repels cabbage worm. Oil of geranium prevents red spider mite.
Plant at corners of potato patch to deter potato bug
General insect repellant
Deters cabbage moth, white butterflies, good insect repellant
Lavender bags repel mice, ticks and moths.
The workhouse of the pest deterrents. Plant throughout garden to discourage Mexican bean beetles, nematodes and other insects.
Deters white cabbage moth and ants
Good insect repellent. Deters aphids, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles
Deters most pests
Plant near broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to repel cabbage butterfly and near cucumbers to repel cucumber beetle. Also benefits grapes.
Planted among cabbages, it repels the white cabbage butterfly
Especially deters cucumber beetle
Deters cabbage moth, bean beetle and carrot fly
Deters Japanese Beetle
Deters cabbage moth, carrot fly
Repels carrot fly
Deters cabbage moth
Deters bean beetles
Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, ants
Deters cabbage worm
Carrot fly, white cabbage butterfly, black flea beetle