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Pests in your Garden? – Strategies to keep them away!

Pests! – Ask any ‘Green Thumb’ and the one thing they will all have in common is their despise for pests ruining their crops. We love all critters, they have to eat too, but could they dine somewhere else!?

We are very much against the use of roundups; you will have likely heard us harp on about this several times throughout the podcasts. It’s ‘butterfly effect’ for an appropriate use of this term more than ever, is a cascade of catastrophe. The bugs, our bugs, the soil, the waterways, marine life… it’s greater than just a quick spray to keep the grasshoppers from chomping on your leaves. Now, we have had a dig into some methods recommended by some of the best gardeners and farmers and designed the following outline for planting specific plants to keep the pests at bay!

Flowers:

Making a row of these flowers near the fruit, veg or herbs you wish to protect from the critters will help keep their numbers down and the environment safe too, plus a pop of color in amongst all that luscious green cant be a bad thing right!

Nasturtiums –

Hues of orange, yellow and red against a contrasting dark green leaf – These flowers are native to Australia, love a well-drained sunny garden bed and tolerate a wide range of soil types. Which is fantastic for our clay-like soil in many areas.

Help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Bettles.
  • White Flies.
  • Squash Bugs.
  • Aphids.

Fun fact, the flowers are also edible and make incredible color pop garnishes in a salad or dish!

Marigold –

Most will remember Marigolds in their grandma’s garden beds, she knew how to keep those pests away and make her garden alive with the golden/orange hue of these beautiful luscious flowers. They have incredible pest protective properties; the bugs hate the stench of them and upon a whiff on human smell receptors they can be intense too! Hardy plants that thrive in sunny to partly sunny areas of the garden. This plentiful flower is easy to maintain, pinching off the dead flower will result in a new one soon after and amplify the amount of growth from the single plant.

They will help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Aphids.
  • Mosquitos.

Ageratum –

Lovely luscious lilac! Like the softest looking purple fluffy clouds, they make the perfect addition to a delicate garden. These plants are perfect if you have water nearby on a property that is prone to mosquitos, they hate them! Great for Aussie gardens as they are hardy and drought-tolerant!

They will help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Mosquitos.

Chrysanthemums –

The above all teacher’s pet of pest control! There are few pests that don’t hate this plant, and lucky for us they come in such a variety of colors, yellows, purples, orange. They are mostly native to the northern hemisphere especially in Europe and vastly across Southeast Asia. They have been used throughout Asia for over 2500 years in food and agricultural practices.

Help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Ants.
  • Beetles.
  • Roaches.
  • Ticks.
  • Silverfish.
  • Lice.

Pests hate Basil, Mint and Citronella Grass

These two beauties can be eaten in so many dishes but they also make a great windowsill barricade against summer night pests that love to sneak inside! Keeping them in a planter box also helps prevent them from completely taking over your garden as they love to do!

They will help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Ants.
  • Spiders.
  • Mosquitos.
  • houseflies.

Pests and Petunias –

Beautiful pops of vibrant colors in your gardens, delicate and dainty but packing a pest-proofing punch too!

They will help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Asparagus Beetles.
  • Grasshoppers.
  • Aphids.
  • Fruit worms, especially the type that loves to ruin your beautiful red tomatoes as a snack. How rude.

Garlic –

Good enough for keeping vampires away, need we say more? Plus, who doesn’t love roasted bulbs of garlic, when they go that beautiful caramel soft delicious mush that pairs perfectly with a roast. Mmm, getting hungry thinking about it! But seriously they are fantastic to plant in a veggie patch not just for harvesting later on but for everything in between!

They will help ward off the following pests and critters:

  • Moths.
  • Aphids.
  • Beetles.

If you already have a veggie garden set up and don’t have room to fit any of the above in; fear not, we have a natural pest spray mix that won’t hurt the environment or your guts!

Pest Chilli Spray –

Hot stuff coming through – Critters hate the spice life, so spice it up with this recipe that’s environmentally friendly! Just don’t touch your eyes while prepping it!

Method:

  1. ½ cup of chopped chili’s (the hottest you can get the better)
  2. 2 Cups of water
  3. 2 tablespoons of biodegradable dish soap. One that does not contain any bleach. If you are happy to wash your dishes in it, this is a safe one to use for this mix.
  4. Add all to a spray bottle, mix it up and spray over the plants you wish to protect.
  5. (Do a leaf test first, by spraying the mixture on one leaf and seeing how the plant responds over 24 hours.)

Pest Vinegar spray –

Method:

  1. 1 Part vinegar to 3 parts water, add to spray bottle.
  2. Add in a few drops of biodegradable dish soap (bleach-free), give it a shake and spray away!
  3. (Do a leaf test first, by spraying the mixture on one leaf and seeing how the plant responds over 24 hours.)

Polyphenol Fun Fact!

Did you know that plants naturally contain in-built pest control properties called polyphenols? Yep, you know those peels that are bitter, the pulp that is chewy and the seeds that are astringent and dry… those are inbuilt protection mechanisms to help protect the fruit itself from pesky critters destroying and rotting the yield. Pretty incredible, research is now delving into how beneficial these Polyphenols can be for modifying our own good and bad bug ratios!

Got timeless gardening tips you use? Tag us on Instagram in them! @atpscience.au if you’re in Australia or @atpscience if you’re visiting us from anywhere else globally. we can’t wait to hear about them!