It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time for Alabama residents to start planning their fall gardens. If you plan things right you can use plants to keep garden pests under control.
It’s a process known as companion planting. Gardeners can put certain plants in and around their garden to deter specific bugs that are filling up before winter. Companion plants can also be used to attract good insects that prey on garden-eating pests. Here are a few tips to get you started!
Use Your Hardiness Zone as a Guide
Companion plants won’t do much good if they can’t grow. The USDA hardiness zone map gives you a good gauge of which companion plants will thrive in your fall garden based on your local environment. Use it as a reference before you break ground.
Use an Interplanting Pattern
Many gardens are planted in the standard way with a single type of plant per row or section. However, an interplanting pattern is often used when companion plants are being added to a garden. Interplanting uses a grid layout with different plants alongside one another.
Other options include planting companion plants along the perimeter of the garden or adding them intermittently among rows.
Add Herbs to Your Fall Garden
There are many herbs that are known to repel garden pests, mostly because of their strong aroma. They can also attract beneficial bugs as well. Many will grow in the fall if you live in the southeast, and they can be used to add flavor to the vegetables you grow. Some herbs to consider planting in your fall garden include:
- Basil – Repels mosquitoes, flies and hornworms.
- Dill – Repels squash bugs, cabbageworms, mites and aphids, also helps improve growth in cabbage family plants.
- Mint – Repels ants and cabbage moths.
- Chives – Repels aphids.
- Sage – Repels cabbage moth and carrot flies.
- Rosemary – Repels cabbage moth, carrot flies and mosquitoes.
- Oregano – Repels cabbage moth.
- Thyme – Repels cabbage moth.
Flowers That Protect Fall Garden Vegetables
Flowers can add color to your fall garden while also keeping your vegetables safe from pests. Here are a few flowers to consider planting as companions.
Marigolds are well-known insect deterrents. They are great at keeping beetles away from vegetables. Marigolds can also repel nematodes from eggplants and tomato worms.
Cabbage family plants (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) This flower is able to repel cabbage worms, cutworms and squash bugs. If ants are still around in the fall tansy can help deter them too.
Zinnias help lure predator bugs into a fall garden where they eat destructive pests. Plant zinnias near cauliflower to attract ladybugs, which eat many of the insects that attack cauliflower.
Nasturtium are bright and cherry flowers that also serve a purpose. They can repel beetles as well as aphids and squash bugs.
Companion Vegetables for a Fall Garden
There are also other vegetables that can be used as companion plants. Consider adding the veggies below to fill out your fall garden.
Many people grow radishes in their fall garden to add to hearty winter dishes, but it’s also a great companion plant for another fall vegetable. Radish draws leaf miners away from spinach so they won’t devour the root system. Leaf miners may still chew on some of the spinach leaves, but the radish can prevent the spinach from being destroyed.
This aromatic onion relative can protect a number of fall garden vegetables. They are able to deter aphids that feed on lettuce and other leafy greens.
Onions, in general, are a common companion plant because they mask the smell of other vegetables. During the fall plant them around carrots to protect against carrot root maggot flies.
Like chives, garlic is very effective at deterring pests with their strong smell. They’re also used as companion plants to repel lettuce-eating aphids.
Start fresh by getting rid of yard pests before you start gardening. Call Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. to discuss our safe and effective custom pest control treatments.