There are many ways that herbs help the health of your vegetable garden including attracting beneficial insects like honey bees and predatory insects and masking your vegetable plants by emitting an odor which deters pests like aphids and thrips. Here are a few examples of how you can use herbs instead of relying on more traditional methods of pest control. And the bonus is you can also use the herbs in your cooking.
Chives are excellent at repelling aphids as well as cabbage worms and carrot fly. Plant them around your carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and even roses. Not only are they an attractive addition to your vegetable garden with their purple flowers but they taste fantastic when added to cooking and go really well with any type of potato dish. They are also said to prevent apple scab so plant them around the base of your apple trees if you have them.
Coriander is also an excellent herb for repelling aphids, as well as spider mites, white flies and potato beetle. Spinach loves to be planted with this herb as a companion, however avoid planting dill near coriander as the two will easily cross-pollinate and ruin both plants. Coriander is commonly used in Asian cooking especially Thai and has a wonderful taste and aroma.
Garlic, like chives, is great at repelling a lot of insects like cabbage looper, ants, cabbage maggot, fruit borers and spider mites. Oddly enough though cabbages do not like to be planted with this herb. Plant garlic around tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, celery and roses.
If you are growing cabbages and want a herb that repels cabbage fly and cabbage looper, try peppermint or spearmint. Also very useful around any other brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower. When planting any type of mint however, be aware it can be very invasive so its best kept in pots and placed around your vegetables. You can also use cuttings of mint as a mulch around your vegetable plants. Mint is also very useful for attracting bees to your garden to help pollinate fruit producing vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
Rosemary also deters cabbage flies as well as repelling many bean parasites so this is definitely the herb to grow amongst your bean plants. Also beneficial to cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. A great herb to use in the kitchen as well, it compliments any lamb dish beautifully.
Borage is a good all round herb to grow as it will repel many garden pests that are just waiting to prey on your valuable vegetable crops. Plant it amongst your strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage. It also helps to attract predatory insects as well as honey bees. In the kitchen you can the leaves in salads and the flowers in soups and stews.
This is obviously only a small selection of herbs which can be used as companion plants but there are enough here to get you started on the path of using companion planting to keep your vegetable garden healthy and pest free.
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