For those of us that have gardens or raised beds gardens and we have an issue with pests , flies and insects on our hard grown vegetables, but we don’t wish to use insectisides or pesticides, well fear not, there is a natural solution to this problem. There is a type of natural control that we can use parallel with our growing vegetables, and is guaranteed to be safe to use. Companion planting for raised bed gardens or indeed ordinary open ground gardening is a new phenonomen and is widely used by growers and gardeners and those that use this method seem to be very happy with the results. The idea seems to be complicated and difficult to understand, but it’s a really simple alternative to the pest eradication system that we may have used heretofore.
It’s really planting and sowing some heavily scented flowers, herbs and some vegetables in amongst our regular vegetables. One of the main variety of flowers used for this purpose is the common Marigold, believe it or not. Others that are regularly used and have proved to be quite effective in controlling these pests are narstitiums and in some cases, ordinary geraniums. If we have been growing these in our patio containers or flower pots, we will be very familiar with these and the other interesting fact that we may not be aware of is, these flowers that I have mentioned above have a particular repelling scent which deters insects.
Like all the gardening books that we now have at our disposal, either online or in our libraries, believe it or not there are now some great books on the subject of companion planting. If we are thinking of going all out in the garden and becomming almost professional, then I would recommend that we go ahead and purchase some of these books for reference on the topic of companion planting. Meanwhile back to the topic of Marigolds, whats all the fuss about, I hear you say, when it comes to mentioning these flowers and what’s so special about these. Even though they loook splendid with their bright orange and yellow coloured appearance and the bushy flower head that they produce for most or all of the summer months, they do have a rather pungent smell or aroma.
This is where the magic happens in the gardens, what we do when we have our vegetables all sown and planted, we then go ahead and plant some marigolds in amongst these. As our vegetables mature and begin to produce , this is the time when insects and garden pests are attracted to our gardens. But the pungent aroma that eminates from our Marigolds will deter some or all of these insects. Evidence suggests that these marigolds will deter most beetles, beet leaf hopper, the mexican bean beetle and nematodes. Potted marigold repels asparagus beetle and tomato worms. The rarer mexican marigold variety is known to deter rabbits from our garden patch also. There is also further evidence to suggest that, when the flowers die away and the roots of the marigold dissolve into the soil, this creates a natural pesticide that will last for a number of years.
Other flowers that will deter insects and pests;
The very common and brightly coloured nasturtiums are another well known favourite when it comes to companion planting in our vegetable gardens. These flowers also have a rather pungent aroma and make a great natural pesticide or insecticide, if I can use these words. Even though these nasturtiums make rather delicious accompaniemients to salad meals from time to time, they are often use as garnishes or as a decorative element to a side dish, they do have that uncanny trait that will repel most insects from the gardens. The fact that nasturtiums repel most insects and are a gardeners friend when it comes to solving this issue, we need to be aware that these flowers will multiply a hundred fold, if we do not take preventitive measures.. The seed of these are located under the flower in a seed pod or sac and each flower will produce many seeds, so in twelve months from planting a garden can be coverd instantly.
Along with the two varieties that we have mentioned previously, there are other flowers that will also be just as effective in helping and assisting with these problems and they are, geraniums, dahlias and chrysanthemums. If its possible to grow these, they are a great way of eliminating the pest problem from our gardens, not only will that insect problem be eradicated but the other advantage that this system will bring is a fantastic splash of natural colour to our otherwise rather dull vegetable raised beds or gardens. Vegetable raised beds or gardens are predominantely green in colour all over from the leaves, so by adding these brightly coloured flowers, we will really transform our outdoor growing arena into an attractive canvas of colour.
Vegetable Companion Plants;
Along with all the flowers that we have covered and considered to be great companions in our vegetable gardens, let’s not forget that there are also rather acidic scented and heavy emitting aromatic vegetables that will greatly assist us with this problem. Vegetables like onions, spring onions, chives, sage, horseradis, mint, peppermint and thyme. These have their own unique scented aromas, that will also deter a section of these pests from time to time. Take the onion for example, if these are planted in amongst cabbages, they are known to deter the butterflies from going any where near them and thus preventing them from laying their eggs.
Indeed if we pick an onion and mash up the leaves in our hands, the smell is almost overpowering and that is just one example. How many times has the task of peeling onions brought a tear to our eyes and right there is further evidence of how effective this vegetable is in the elimination of certain garden pests. Let’s look for a moment at the i above image of a community allotment garden and we see marigolds and calendula scattered throughout and planted amongst the vegetables.
I trust that you have enjoyed reading this post on companion planting for raised bed gardens and if so, please join the conversation and leave your thoughts in the comments section under here.
Happy gardening to all.
Cheers Phil Browne.
“Oh, the joy, the joy of Spring,
a joy so grand, so absolute,
so lavish and engaging,
dipping my humble soul in magic,
uplifting and exhilarating,
instilling beauty and virtue into my days.”
― Amelia Dashwood