by Faye Sakellaridis
The last thing any herb gardener wants is to see their beautiful greenery infested with pests. And while it’s not very common, it can happen, especially depending on what herbs you’re growing. Herb gardens add a lot to our lives through their culinary and health benefits. Instead of treating the herbs you eat and use with pesticides, you can use natural solutions to both prevent and fix infestations offered by this blog over at seemingly the endless reserve of herbal knowledge, Herbal Academy of New England.
Knowing your herbs individually and how they react to each other is essential to maintaining a thriving garden. Certain herbs can help each other out by preventing the spread of disease or infestation:
Companion planting is when you arrange your plants so they can help each other out. This is highly beneficial in all types of gardens and will help prevent the spread of disease or insect infestations. You can plant just herbs with each other, or you can turn it up a notch and mix your herbs and vegetables!
However, we’ll try and stay focused on using companion planting in your herb garden as a way to deter insects from reaching your edibles. Cilantro and dill will discourage spider mites and aphids, and chamomile will work to attract the right kinds of insects to your garden. Garlic planted nearby will help disguise the smell of rotting leaves that attracts Japanese beetles, and mint can help drive off ants.
It’s also crucial to understand the insects you’re dealing with. Bugs will attract other bugs, such as the praying mantis, whose craving for bugs will do the dirty work of eliminating them for you:
The circle of life is naturally occurring. Therefore, if you do have a pest infestation, eventually you’ll start to see the bugs’ natural enemies coming in. Some of these predators are all around good, like the praying mantis. They eat just about any insect they come across, so if you have pests, the mantis can have a meal.
Other beneficial bugs include ladybugs, which are partial to aphids. Birds will eat slugs, snails, earwigs, and a variety of other insects. Wasps help pollinate and will eat other bugs. Most varieties of wasps also aren’t aggressive if you leave them alone. Remember, if you have enough of a food supply, the predators will come.
Find out more about how you can protect your herb garden here.