Although it`s still freezing cold and snow is covering the ground, I got Summer on my mind. Hot & sunny days swatting bugs away after bathing in DEET. I use the highest % I can find and it is nothing more than a very tasty marinade.So this year I am going to try companion planting and use plants that deter bugs because bathing in chemicals just can`t be a good thing.
Artemisia - This plant produces a strong antiseptic, although not unpleasant aroma that repels most insects. Planted in drifts it can also deter small animals. My favorite variety is 'Powis Castle'. I prefer to use this plant in flower borders and not in my vegetable garden because it produces a botanical poison.
Basil -The oils in basil are said to repel thrips, flies and mosquitoes. I plant basil along side my tomatoes for larger, tastier tomatoes. However, basil and rue should not be planted together.
Bee Balm - I love this plant because it attracts bees to my garden. It is another plant that you can grow with your tomatoes.
Borage - This plant is a real workhorse in the garden. It repels tomato hornworms and cabbage worms and attracts beneficial bees and wasps. Borage also adds trace elements to the soil. This is an annual, but readily comes back each year from seed.
Catnip - I think that this plant repels just about everything, except for cats of course! Use it to keep away flea beetles, aphids, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, ants, and weevils. I use sachets of dried catnip to deter the annual parade of ants that invade my kitchen. My favorite variety of catnip is 'Six Hills Giant' because of its proliferation of sky blue blooms.
Chives - Chives are one of my favorite herbs. Not only do I love the flavor but their grassy foliage and round flower heads also add so much interest to my garden. You can plant chives to repel Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies. It has also been said that chives will help prevent scab when planted among apple trees.
Chrysanthemums - When I do use an insecticide I use one made from chrysanthemums called pyrethrum. This all-natural pesticide can help control things like roaches, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, and I like to use it to control ants in certain parts of my garden. In the garden white flowering chrysanthemums are said to drive away Japanese beetles and C. coccineum, commonly known as Painted Daisy, kills root nematodes.
Dahlias - I have a renewed appreciation for these old fashioned favorites. Dahlias repel nematodes and the blooms are great for adding bold splashes of color to flower borders and fresh arrangements.
Dill - I always find a place for this plant in my garden. Dill is best planted with cucumbers and onions. During the cool season I plant it with my lettuce. Dill attracts hoverflies and predatory wasps, and its foliage is used as food by swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Tomato hornworms are also attracted to dill, so if you plant it at a distance, you can help draw these destructive insects away from your tomatoes. Dill repels aphids and spider mites. I like to sprinkle dill leaves on my squash plant to repel squash bugs.
Four O'Clocks - This plant is a favorite food for Japanese beetles. However, because of its poisonous foliage rarely do they get to finish their meal. It is important to note that Four O'Clocks are also poisonous to people and animals, so avoid planting it if you have small children or pets.
Garlic - I could write endlessly about garlic. I love the stuff. In addition to its great taste and health benefits, garlic planted near roses repels aphids. It also deters codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails, and carrot root fly.
Hyssop - This is another one of my favorite plants. Hyssop is great for attracting honeybees to the garden.
Lavender - I can't imagine my garden without lavender. I just love its fresh scent and delicate blue blooms. Lavender is a favorite among many beneficial insects and also repels fleas and moths.
Marigolds - The marigold is probably the most well known plant for repelling insects. French marigolds repel whiteflies and kill bad nematodes. Mexican marigolds are said to offend a host of destructive insects and wild rabbits as well. If you choose marigolds for your garden they must be scented to work as a repellant. And while this plant drives away many bad bugs, it also attracts spider mites and snails.
Nasturtiums - I plant nasturtiums with my tomatoes and cucumbers as a way to fight off wooly aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. The flowers, especially the yellow blooming varieties, act as a trap for aphids.
Petunias - I plant petunias throughout my garden just because I love them so much. As an added benefit they repel asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, a range of aphids, tomato worms, and a good many other pests.
Sunflowers - I use sunflowers as a way to draw aphids away from my other plants. Ants move their colonies onto sunflowers. The sunflowers are tough enough that they suffer no damage
I am really hoping that companion planting works but I always gotta have a backup plan just in case. Here are some tips I found online:
Drill holes in the centers of small bars of soap (hotel sample sizes are perfect), hang four to five in each tree on "S" hooks of wire to repel deer.
Place Dial soap in a drawstring tobacco pouch and hang in fruit trees and Christmas trees to deter deer.
Hang human hair in a sack for deer repellent (one ounce of bagged human hair hung in each orchard tree or in perimeter trees will repel deer).
Keep ants from crawling up a picnic table by standing each leg in a small pan of water.
To kill ants, use a paste of equal parts of borax and confectioner sugar.
Mix peanut butter (six parts), brown sugar (one part), one-half teaspoon salt with boric acid (one part) for Pharaoh Ant control.
Mix mint apple jelly and boric acid for Pharaoh Ant control (two tablespoons boric acid powder per 10 ounces of mint apple jelly).
Mix three cups water, one cup sugar and four teaspoons boric acid powder for ant control. (Pour a over a cotton ball in a small dish or bottle cap.)
Apply slices of Osage oranges (hedge apples, horse apples or Bois d'arc apples) of Maclura pomifera to repel cockroaches.
Sliced or crushed cucumbers to keep cockroaches away from food.
Mix equal parts of boric acid powder, powdered sugar, and cornmeal as a poison bait for cockroaches.
Mix equal parts of plaster of paris and powdered sugar as a poison bait for cockroaches.
A nail spike beside a tomato plant repels cutworms.
Place a milk carton over young tomato plants to keep out cutworms. (Set vertical carton collars at least two inches above and two inches into soil.)
Place cornmeal around tomato plants for cutworm control.
Wrap tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants with a four inch by four inch aluminum foil strip to prevent cutworm damage and soil borne blight organisms (wrap stem area between roots and leaves; place two inches of foil wrapped stem below soil and two inches above soil.)
Walk through a room wearing white socks to detect fleas. Dark fleas jumping on the white background are easily seen.
Use flea bane daisy to repel fleas.
Use banana peels to repel fleas.
Feed yeast to dogs to repel fleas.
Suspend a light bulb over a pan of oil or soapy water to attract and drown fleas during the night.
Rub jewel weed on mosquito bites and poison ivy to control itch.
Use hedge apples for control of crickets and spiders.
For grass and weeds growing between stones or bricks on walks or terraces, sprinkle 20 Mule Team borax powder and sweep into cracks (one application every other year).
Apply tobacco and snuff juice for wasp stings and bites.
Apply Adolph's Meat Tenderizer in a poultice, baking soda, ammonia or ice for bee stings.
Spray insect stings with "Fantastic."
Put up a chicken fence to keep rabbits out of home vegetable gardens.
Apply finely ground cayenne peppers sprinkled on moistened vegetable leaves to repel rabbits.
Use plastic or heavy cardboard tree wrap around tree trunks to prevent rabbit feeding damage.
Use wood ash for slug control.
Use beer or yeast dissolved in water in pit fall traps (cups sunk into the ground) to attract and drown snails and slugs.
Use Juicy Fruit gum in mole runs for control.
Use chocolate flavored Ex-lax to control chipmunks, moles, etc.
Apply paradichlorobenzene (PDB) crystals to the soil in autumn in a band surrounding the peach tree trunk to control borers.
Install an electric fence to keep raccoons out of the sweet corn patch.
Use alcohol on a cotton ball with a toothpick or commercial "Q" swab stick for mealybug control.
Spray aphids with garlic.
Spread tin foil spread around the base of plants to repel aphids.
Spray Ivory soapy water for plant scale, aphid and spider mite control.
Put bay leaves put into stored beans, peas and flour meal to repel pantry pests.
Plant marigolds around other plants throughout the garden to repel nematodes. (The African Marigold, Tagetes erecta is effective.)
Place pans of apple cider vinegar on the periphery of the picnic area the night before to attract and drown picnic beetles. Place an upright bottle in the middle of the pan to assist beetles falling into the vinegar.
Tick and Fly Spray--two cups white vinegar, one cup Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil, one cup water, one tablespoon eucalyptus oil (available at drugstores and health food stores).
Keep pests away naturally, add a sprig of basil to a fruit bowl to deter fruit flies, rub a drop of vanilla extract into skin to control gnats.
Pour hot boiling water and a strong cleaning detergent down the drain to eliminate nuisance gnats and flies.
Coffee spray---bugs hate coffee...especially aphids.Mix yarrow, tansy, penny royal, thyme, lavender, rue, catnip and artemisia. Mix at least a cup of this herbal mixture with 2 tablespoons used coffee grounds and 2 cups of water. Allow this to marinate for at least 24 hours before straining and placing into a spray bottle. Keeps for several weeks.
And last but not least...a small wet towel and good aim...WORKS EVERY TIME!
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