Insect Control in the Vegetable Garden
There are two basic methods for pest control in the vegetable garden: Organic, and Chemical.
Organic, Natural Insect Control
There are ways to keep insect pest populations down in the garden without ever using any harmful substances.
When planting your vegetable garden always leave a little room for "companion plants." Companion planting is a practice by which you include certain types of plants that lure beneficial insects into your garden. These beneficial insects act as a patrol, guarding your garden and attacking and killing harmful insects that try to invade. Other companion plants act as repellents. A companion plant can also be something useful for culinary purposes or just a way to add pretty flowers into the vegetable garden.
Below are a few of the most popular plants you can plant in your garden to attract beneficial insects.
Beneficial Insects & Companion Plants:
Sweet Alyssum: This plant is very attractive when in bloom and provides a good nectar source for many adult beneficial insect species.
Basil: It's always a good idea to include basil in the vegetable garden at any time of year. The flowers are a rich source of pollen and nectar and you can use the leaves in the kitchen.
Dill: This is one of the best plants for luring beneficial insects into the garden. Dill flowers are very high in nectar and it is also one of the most useful of seasonings for cooking.
Mint: Any member of this family of plants is very useful in drawing beneficial insects into the garden.
Marigolds and Nasturtium These can handle a slew of buggy challenges. They thwart bugs that can harm your tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries including tomato hornworms, squash bugs, and whiteflies. The smell of marigolds will help to also deter rabbits and squirrels.
Yarrows (Achillea): Plant these to attract ladybugs and lacewings, both of which will kill and eat many bad insect pest's.
Here's even more ideas for insect control using companions and beneficial insects:
Below is a listing of beneficial insects, along with the plants that can be grown to attract them.
Brachonids, Chalcids and Ichneumon Wasps: These small beneficial insects destroy leaf-eating caterpillars. You can attract them to your garden by planting carrots, celery, parsley, caraway and Queen Anne's lace. These plants are easy to grow, and some should be left to flower. It's the flower that attracts the insects.
Ladybugs: These common insects consume aphids, mites, whiteflies and scale. They can be attracted to your garden by planting members of the daisies, tansy or yarrow. Ladybugs are also available from catalogues online.
Lacewings: Lacewings are avid consumers of aphids, and their larva eat aphids and other varieties of other insect pests. They are attracted to flowers such as yarrow, goldenrod, black-eyed susan's and asters. Lacewings can also be purchased online and released directly into your garden.
Hover-flies: Hover-flies are avid consumers of aphids, and the larva of hover-flies eat aphids and other insect pests. Like the Lacewings, they are attracted to flowers, such as yarrow, goldenrod, black-eyed susan's and asters. Seeds for these flowers are available online, or at most garden centers.
Praying Mantis: These large insects have an appetite for most garden pests. Praying mantis eggs are set out in the garden where they hatch and quickly grow to adult size. The eggs are available through mail-order catalogues.
Continue to next page for more remedies for insect control in the vegetable garden.