Gardening Tips ~ Animals and Insects in Your Garden – Part 2

2 min to read

Submitted by Doreen Coyne, a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society with additional information picked up from talking to several other members.

This article, part two of three, attempts to help answer the question of how to deter garden insects and pests from your gardens.

Certain plants tend to repel insects and small critters from disturbing both vegetables and flowers.  There was a good article from The Farmers’ Almanac on the topic this past February, titled “What To Plant To Keep The Bugs Away” by Amber Kanuckel. In her article, she lists the benefits of Lavender, Basil, Alliums, Thyme, Mint, Lemongrass, Chrysanthemums, Petunia, and (my favourite) Marigolds. Another great article is from Gardening Know How titled “Using Marigolds Around Plants – Do Marigolds Keep Bugs Away” by Mary H. Dyer.

Marigolds: I love the look and colour variations of Marigolds. I first planted them 3 years ago and a wonderful side effect was a reduction in the number of insects in my front garden where they were planted. The back gardens, without Marigolds, still had lots of insects. It turns out that the marigold is one of the most well-known insect-repelling plants and the French Marigold variety is apparently best although my marigolds were not of that variety. The scent from a marigold will keep pests like mosquitoes, various worms (ex. hornworms, cabbage worms), squash bugs, whiteflies, and other pests away.  Personally, I found that they helped eliminate a variety of small beetles that tended to irritate me and my plants. When planting marigolds place plants around and amongst vegetables and ornamental plants. It is best to put them in groupings or rows around the edge of your garden or in between your vegetables.  I planted mine around the border of my garden and added extra marigolds near the plants that I saw got more insects the prior year than other plants, such as tomatoes, hostas, and roses. And yes, I do put cherry tomatoes in my front garden. Marigolds are reportedly helpful around potatoes and strawberries as well. Additionally, Marigolds attract beneficial insects, like ladybugs, that attack and kill aphids. At season’s end, harvest the seeds for next year and “plow” the rest of the plant into the soil to provide even more control of nematodes in the soil.

Here are pictures are Marigolds in full bloom (taken by Chris Robarts), 8 Marigold seedlings ready to be planted this weekend, and a young seedling of a different variety of Marigold from our Plant Sale.

Citronella Geranium: Other HORT members, tell me that Citronella Geranium, aka the Mosquito Plant, is a great natural insect repellent. It helps to keep pesky bloodsucking mosquitos away because this specific variety of geranium has the citronella gene embedded in it to give us that lovely smell while also repelling several insects! It’s a good idea to plant some around the outside area of your gardens or patio. Others report that you need the oil from the plant to spread around the patio or garden as a repellent. Give it a try to see if it works for you.
Here is a picture of a Citronella from our Plant Sale starting to bloom.

This is the traditional weekend for planting gardens. Enjoy the outdoors, the warmth of the sun, and your time with nature as you plant your selected flowers and vegetables!