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The Garden Experiment That Has Worked Wonders To Deter Pests!

When it comes to finding a simple, all-natural method to deter pests from the garden, we may have hit the proverbial “Home Run” this year.

Each and every growing season, we love to try out a couple of new experiments in the garden.

For one, it really helps keep gardening fun and fresh for us.

After all, just like in life, if you don’t try something different, how can you expect to learn anything new?

deter pest with marigolds
One of our pots of marigolds growing in the garden among our tomato plants.

Now, truth be told, some of our past experiments have quite honestly failed miserably. And many others never really lived up to what we were hoping for.

But sometimes, every once in awhile, a garden experiment works like magic!

And that is exactly what has happened this year with our big flower and herb companion planting experiment.

As you will see below, it has been nothing short of amazing in helping to deter destructive pests from the garden.

nastrutium  blooms
Nasturtiums actually produce a chemical marker that is offensive to many garden pests.

But it has also had a huge impact on keeping mosquitoes and biting flies out as well. And if you have ever been attacked by either while working in the garden, you know how annoying and painful they can be.

But perhaps maybe best of all, our little planting experiment has added some pretty amazing color to the garden too!

Growing Flowers & Herbs To Deter Pests

For this year’s experiment, we tried our hand at planting marigolds, nasturtiums and basil in a large portion of the garden. See : Our Big Garden Experiment For 2019

We planted some in pots and containers within the rows. While others we seeded directly in the ground by the plants. We also seeded the outside western edge of our garden fence with marigolds as well. ( French Marigolds are among the best in repelling pests)

In years past, we have had an ever-increasing number of cabbage and tomato hornworm attacks on the garden.

how to deter pests with companion planting
The dreaded tomato hornworm chewing at will on a tomato stem.

It seemed with each successive season, the problem was continuing to grow. That is, until this year!

In fact, as of today’s writing, in the areas of the garden where we have planted basil, marigolds and nasturtium, we have had zero attacks from either pest. And I mean ZERO!

In addition, our vegetable plants are also free of the minor leaf damage that usually occurs at the hands of aphids, beetles and other garden pests.

But here is the kicker: We left a few parts of our garden free from the companion planting experiment. And in those areas, it is amazing how to see just how different the results have been.

The Proof Is In The Peppers

It’s comical, but in previous years, we rarely had and issue with hornworms touching our pepper plants. In fact, both Mary and I can only recall one or two times we have ever found one a pepper plant.

The Raised Row Garden
Our Raised Row Garden

But as part of our trial this year, we left the pepper rows free of any companion plants.

And guess what? The hornworms and a few other pests have decided they now like them.

Perhaps more telling, the plants in those few rows, although still healthy and thriving, have more leaf damage than any other plants in the garden.

The Mosquito And Biting Fly Disappearance

As an added benefit, basil, nasturtiums and marigolds are all well-known to help deter pests such as mosquitoes, flies and aphids too.

deter pests with flowers
The flowers have also helped deter mosquitoes and biting flies from the garden area.

And in a year of excessive rain and moisture where you would expect mosquitoes to be bad, they have been anything but. Especially in the garden.

But maybe best of all, we have yet to had a bite from those annoying triangular-shaped summer biting flies!

One thing is for sure, I think it’s safe to say that we will be planting these wonderful flowers and herbs all over our garden in years to come.

using coffee grounds
French marigolds are one of the best choices to repel aphids and hornworms.

Here is to using companion planting as an incredibly natural and effective way to deter pests.

Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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