How to Have a Great Garden for Less Money

I love my vegetable garden. I spend most of my summer out there even when it really doesn’t need my attention. I get a thrill just seeing my vegetables growing. Yet even though I love my garden I’m not going to spend a fortune on it each season. I grow vegetables because home-grown are healthier and cheaper than store bought. Over the years I’ve learned how to have a great garden for less money.

 

  1. I grow almost all my vegetables from seeds rather than buying started plants. My son always gets me some plants for Mother’s Day but starting vegetables from seeds is a lot less expensive.
  1. Seed swapping is another way to save money. Get together with your gardening friends and trade seeds. I always look for heirloom seeds and that way I not only get seeds for this year but I can save the seeds from my harvest for next year.
  1. I make my own soil amendments. We have chickens so I have that manure in bulk. There are also several nearby farms that have cows. They’re always happy to let me go clean up their pastures for the free manure. I just mix the manure I collect with grass clippings and old leaves, add some kitchen trimmings like eggshells and coffee grounds, and let it sit over the winter. The next spring I have great compost.
  1. Re-purposing and reusing items I have on hand saves money, too. Use fallen tree branches as stakes or trellises for tomatoes and vining plants. Old lattice can be turned into a garden gate. Be creative. Try using old cardboard and newspaper for mulch.
  1. Going organic is also a cash (and health) saver. Chemical pesticides can be expensive and they aren’t healthy but attracting beneficial insects to my garden is free. Cover crops and companion planting add nutrients to the garden and give me additional crops.

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  1. Free or discount items like listings on Craigslist or your local newspaper often have free mulch or even live plants. I also go to garage sales and flea markets as they can be great places to find things I can repurpose for my garden.
  1. I design my vegetable and flower gardens myself. There are plenty of design services and software for designing gardens but they can be costly. It’s free and easy to do it yourself. Just research which plants grow well together and the light requirements of plants you want to grow. All you need to do the layout is some paper and a ruler. I use Excel each winter to plan my garden for the following spring. That way I can ensure crop rotation and move things around as my ideas change.
  1. Get creative. I often drive our dirt roads to pick up large rocks I use to decorate my flowerbeds. I have a thing about rocks. You can often find furniture to turn into garden decor and garden decorations free by the side of the road. Look to nature for items you can use to dress up your garden.
  1. Take cuttings and thin bulbs to increase the plants you have in your flower beds. Start your cuttings in a pot with wet perlite and you’ll see roots and leaves in just a few short weeks. Research which plants can be grown from cuttings as some are asexual; genetic clones, and won’t reproduce this way.
  1. Flower trades are another way I’ve found to get free plants. I take bulbs or cuttings of plants and trade them for the new ones I want with friends. It’s a wonderful way to get free perennials

 

Do you have money-saving tips for the garden? Please share them!

 

 

 

 

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Don't Get Rid of These Garden Bugs!

When I was younger bugs freaked me out. As I got older I’ve found I can handle things like ladybugs and fireflies but most bugs still kind of give me a little chill down my spine. They’re so darned fast and they have all those legs! When I first started gardening I either ran away from or killed every bug that I saw. Now, decades later, I’ve come to appreciate some of those critters. Not all bugs are good but if you want your garden to thrive don’t get rid of these bugs!

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Bigeyed Bugs

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This is an actual bug not just a description. They are small (1/4 inch long), grayish-beige, oval shaped) bugs with large eyes that feed on many small insects such as leaf hoppers, spider mites), insect eggs, and mites, as both nymphs and adults. Eggs are football shaped, whitish-gray with red spots.

Braconid Wasps

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Unless you abuse them braconid wasps are harmless to you but deadly to many garden pests! The adult female of this species injects its eggs into host insects, including caterpillars, moths, beetle larvae, and aphids. The larvae feed inside the host and it dies once the larvae have completed development. Nectar plants with small flowers, such as dill, parsley, wild carrot, and yarrow will attract these beneficial wasps to your garden. If you see a caterpillar or other harmful insect with little white things attached don’t kill the host.

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Drop it in a jar with some holes poked in the lid and feed it. They larvae will mature and fly out of the holes giving you even more braconid wasps!

Damsel Bugs

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Damsel bugs are more commonly found in field crops such as alfalfa and soybean than in row crops or orchards. Grassy fields tend to have more damsel bugs than do broadleaf weed or weed-free fields.  Collect them for your garden by using a sweep net. Damsel bugs feed on aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, thrips, and other pesky pests.

Ground Beetles

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The ground beetle is a nocturnal predator of slugs, snails, cutworms, cabbage maggots, and other pests that live in your garden’s soil. A single beetle larva can eat more than 50 caterpillars. White clover or perennial plantings provide a stable home for these beetles.

Hoverflies

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Adult hoverflies look like little bees that hover and dart around very quickly. They don’t sting so don’t be afraid of these helpful flies! They are also known as syrphid fly, predatory aphid fly or flower fly. They lay white, oval eggs either singly or in groups on leaves. These eggs hatch into green, yellow, brown, orange or white maggots that look like little caterpillars. They rise up on their hind legs to catch and feed on aphids, mealybugs and others. Dill, coriander, and parsley attract these flies.

Lacewings

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Both adult lacewings and their larvae eat aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, scales, thrips, and whiteflies. They are sometimes called aphid lions for their habit of dining on aphids. They also feed on mites, other small insects and insect eggs. On spring and summer evenings, lacewings can sometimes be seen clinging to porch lights and screens or windows. Tolerate light aphid outbreaks, because they are an important food source for lacewing larvae.

Lady Beetles

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Adult lady beetles eat aphids, mites, and mealybugs, and their hungry larvae do even more damage to garden pests. The young larvae are black with orange markings and they eat more pests than the adults, and they can’t fly. Planting dill, fennel, and yarrow will attract these beetles. Lady beetle larvae also need aphids for food so don’t immediately wipe out a light outbreak.

Minute Pirate Bugs

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The quick-moving, black-and-white minute pirate bugs will attack almost any insect. These are tiny insects about 1/20 of an inch long. Attract these bugs with Goldenrods, daisies, alfalfa, and yarrow will attract these helpful bugs. These tiny fellows can deliver a bite and the reaction can be anything from nothing at all to a mosquito bite type of irritation to a hard, red bump. Fortunately, they do not inject any kind of venom nor feed on your blood. The good they do in the garden is worth a minor bite.

Soldier Beetles

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The soldier beetle feeds on aphids and caterpillars, as well as other insects—including harmless and beneficial species. Attract this flying insect by allowing some herbs to flower and by planting brightly colored flowers. These insects resemble fireflies but lack the glowing bottom!

Spined Soldier Bug

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The spined soldier bug’s pointed “shoulders” distinguish it from stink bugs.

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These bugs attack over 90 species of harmful insects including gypsy moths, Mexican bean beetles, European corn borers, and Colorado potato beetles, all of which can take a hefty toll on crops.  Attract the spined soldier bug by planting permanent beds of perennials to provide shelter or by purchasing spined soldier bug pheromones to lure this predator of hairless caterpillars and beetle larvae.

Tachinid Fly

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Tachinid fly larvae burrow their way into many caterpillars, destroying these garden pests from the inside. Herbs including dill, parsley, sweet clover, attract adult flies.

 

 

 

Pictures courtesy of Rodale’s Organic Life

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Cabbage Worms

This afternoon I found something awful in my garden; a cabbage leaf, the underside of which had an infestation of cabbage looper eggs!

This is intolerable! These eggs will hatch into voracious green caterpillars that have the potential to destroy my already meager early cabbage crop. And grow up to be cabbage looper moths that will continue the cycle next year. The control of cabbage worms and cabbage loopers is the same. To combat these little munchers I’m taking several steps.

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First let me give you a little background on these destructive insects. The cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) is a common and destructive insect that is most often found on cabbage-family crops of the Brassica oleracea family. These crops include: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, and kohlrabi. You may know cabbage loopers by the name “inch worm.”  They are large larvae 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. They are a pale green color with a narrow white stripe along each side and several narrow lines down the back. The adult cabbage looper moth is a nocturnal gray moth with about a 1 1/2 inch wingspan. The moth lays pale green eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatch into the worms and eat and grow and eat more. The more cabbage looper larvae grow, the more they eat, devouring three-times their body weight in plant material a day. They do the most harm during the last few days of their development.

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Cabbage looper larvae

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Adult cabbage looper moth

The imported cabbage worms (Pieris rapae) are the larval form of the Cabbage White butterfly which have white wings with one or two black spots per wing). The worms are velvety green with a narrow, light yellow stripe down the middle of its back and sport many short, fine hairs. These worms tend to feed closer to the center of the plant. The adults are white or pale yellow butterflies with a 1 – 2 inch wingspan and three or four black spots on their wings. From early spring to late fall you’ll see these butterflies fluttering around your garden.

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Cabbage moth

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In my garden I’ll transplant some established parsley and, when my coriander (cilantro) seedlings are strong enough they’ll also go in my cabbage and broccoli beds. I’m also going to start some dill seeds to move to the cabbage and broccoli beds when the seedlings are big enough.

I’m not going to use any chemicals because they’ll also kill the beneficial insects like predatory wasps that eat the eggs of these worms. I’ve encouraged birds to come to the garden by planting flowers that they find attractive and they’ll eat the worms.

Another way to control these pests is to allow chickens and/or ducks into the garden to gobble up the worms. Unfortunately chickens especially, can do a lot of damage themselves. Both ducks and chickens will eat the worms but also tender young plants. Chickens may scratch up seedlings. If you let them into the garden it’s best to wait until plants are mature and less likely to be destroyed accidentally.

If you see worms you may want to apply Bt-kurstaki to the leaves where you’ve seen them. This is a naturally occurring soil bacteria and it will kill the worms as they feed on the leaves. Another option is spinosad which doesn’t persist in the environment the way the Bt-kurstaki will.  You can harvest crops one day after applying to your vegetables. Tansy tea has also been reported to be effective in preventing moths from laying eggs on leaves sprayed with the brew. Planting tansy near your cabbage crop may also be helpful. Cabbage helps tansy thrive and tansy deters the moths.

To help keep any moth pupae from overwintering in my garden and emerging next spring I’ll remove and either bury or throw out any cabbage family debris. I’ll also make sure the edges of my garden are cleaned and any grass is cut short. This will eliminate another spot the pupae can hide out over the winter.

Whether it’s for soups, coleslaw, casseroles or other recipes I’m going to do everything I can to ensure I have a large crop for both summer use and for my root cellar.

How do you fight vegetable eating worms in your garden?

 

Mulch the Right Way

If you want a high-yield vegetable garden you need to use mulch. Mulching not only helps your plants but saves you work. But you should mulch the right way to get all the benefits.

Here are the ways that mulch helps in the garden:

  1. Mulch insulates plants in extreme weather. In summer it keeps the soil cool and moist which can save your plants in very dry weather. Vegetables that have their roots in cool soil are more vigorous and don’t suffer as much stress in heat as plants that are unprotected. If you live in an extremely cold climate you may prefer to mulch with black landscape fabric or plastic to keep in the heat or forego mulching altogether.
  1. Mulch keeps the soil moist longer and that means plants get more water. It also means less watering for you.

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  1. Mulch keeps weeds down. The soil beneath mulch is shaded and moist. If weed seeds do manage to germinate in the dark and get above the mulch they are uprooted easily with just a slight pull. Just be sure you’re not using a type of mulch that can introduce seeds in the garden.
  1. Mulch helps prevent diseases. Water splashing on to leaves can carry diseased soil. Blight is an example of a fungal disease that spreads quickly when water splashed dirt on to leaves.
  1. Mulch decays and increases the organic matter in the soil. Over time it increases hummus which is like the holy grail of organic matter. Hummus is the point where mulch material can no longer decay and instead acts like a sponge holding in moisture and nutrients. It is the ideal growing medium for most plant roots.

The types of mulch vary and the choice is up to you. Some mulch material is even free because it occurs naturally.

  • Black landscape fabric or plastic is great for heat loving crops like peppers, tomatoes, melons, and eggplants. Be careful that you don’t use this if you live in an area that experiences extreme heat. Also be sure that your plants are starved of water if you use plastic that is non-permeable.
  • Burlap bags make great mulch if you can get them cheaply enough. Check with local farmers who will often give you their empty burlap feed sacks or at least sell them cheaply.
  • Compost is excellent mulch and you can make it at home with garden debris and kitchen items. Just don’t use any meat or dairy in your homemade compost. Homemade compost is higher in nutrition that the commercially produced compost like manure but the bagged types will give you a jump start on improving soil until you get your own compost pile going.
  • Newspaper seems like unlikely mulch but carefully placed newspaper, overlapping and three sheets thick is a remarkably effective weed barrier. Either tack the newspaper down with garden staples or cover it with mulch like straw to keep it from blowing around. By the following growing season the newspaper will have broken down and can be turned into the soil like and other mulch. Be sure not to use any glossy print paper. They may contain metal-based ink.
  • Pine bark is a byproduct of the milling of trees for lumber. Very finely ground bark is called soil conditioner and is the choice for vegetable gardens. The finer particles of soil conditioner will turn to compost more quickly than regular pine bark and therefore benefit your soil faster.
  • Pine needle mulch (pine straw) is sold by the bale and is also available for free wherever there are pine trees. This mulch is a favorite in the southeast, where it’s abundant. This mulch adds acidity to the soil so it’s perfect for blueberries and gardens with neutral or alkaline soil.
  • Wheat straw is sold by the bale. It’s a light, fluffy mulch to use around vegetable plants. It breaks down relatively quickly and so it can be turned back into the soil each season. It won’t influence the pH of the soil. Cool weather crops like broccoli and greens prefer this to black mulch. It keeps the soil up to 25°F cooler. Be careful to purchase straw and not hay. Hay contains seeds that could have you fighting a wheat crop all season long!

Tips for mulching:

  • To avoid rot and fungus problems keep mulch away from plant stems by about 1 inch. This can be a bit closer for tomatoes and peppers that are subject to blight.
  • If you use grass clippings let them sun dry for a couple of days. And don’t use clippings from lawns treated with herbicides or toxic pesticides.
  • Using leaves is fine but they must be aged at least 9 months. Phenols which inhibit growth will have leached out in that time.

And don’t forget that you should use a weed barrier in your flower gardens!

 

Photo courtesy Sergei S. Scurfield  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AStraw_bale.JPG

10 Uses for Epsom Salt You May Not Know

After a long day of gardening I enjoy soaking in a hot tub with Epsom salt but here are 10 uses for Epsom salt you may not know.

  • Before you plant your garden put one cup of Epsom salt per 100 feet of garden in a spreader and spread it over the soil. Then simply mix it in with a tiller or cultivator. Your garden will produce bountifully.
  • Too late this year to mix the Epsom salt into the soil? No problem. Just mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt into a gallon of water and spray it on your tomato and pepper plants. It will also help your flowers! Treat your plants every 1 or 2 weeks and you’ll have bigger fruit and lots more of them!
  • If you have a slug problem in your garden just sprinkle some Epsom salt around. Slugs can’t stand the stuff. That’s the end of your slug problem!
  • Your garden is thriving but your lawn isn’t? Just mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt into a gallon of water. Use a sprayer to spread it over the lawn and make sure it soaks in. Treat the grass every 2 weeks. The Epsom salt adds magnesium and iron to the soil which grass needs. They say the grass is greener on the other side and, with this treatment you can be the other side!
  • Sprinkle Epsom salt around the outside of your garden and around your trash cans to deter raccoons. They hate the smell and will leave both your garbage and your garden alone!
  • Itchy Skin or Bug Bites- Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in to 1/2 cup of water and cool. Spritz on itchy skin or apply a wet compress to help relieve itching.
  • Mix 4 cups of Epsom salt and 20 drops of essential oil to make your own fabric softener crystals. Use 1/4 cup per load and add at beginning of wash.
  • Everyone wants full looking hair and Epsom salt can help! Combine equal parts of conditioner and Epsom salt and leave on hair for 20 minutes. Rinse well and let air dry for thicker hair.
  • Making Magnesium Lotion- Using magnesium flakes is a better option, but in a pinch, you can use Epsom salt to make homemade magnesium oil
  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • A glass bowl or glass measuring cup
  • A glass spray bottle (plastic will work too)
  • Instructions
  • Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled to extend the shelf life of the mixture.
  • Add the Epsom salt in the glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the boiling water over it.
  • Stir well until completely dissolved. Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle. Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months. I keep in my bathroom to use daily.
  • How to Use Magnesium Oil
  • Spray on arms, legs, and stomach daily. You may feel tingling on the skin the first few times it is used. Not to worry. This is normal. It should fade after a few applications, but you can dilute with more water if it bothers you too much.
  • Leave on the skin or wash off after 20-30 minutes. You can try it after a shower then, after about 5 minutes apply coconut oil.
  • Reduce the appearance of bruises by making a cold compress with Epsom salts and water can help you to reduce the appearance of bruises.  Use two tablespoons and apply the compress to the bruised skin.

 

 

 

Gardens have Circadian Rhythms, Too!

Our bodies are controlled by circadian rhythms that tell us when we should be sleeping and when we should be awake. The same is true of every animal. Diurnal creatures are awake during the day and nocturnal animals wake for the night. Sure, we can get out of sync but our natural rhythms dictate when we should be active and when we should be resting. And it’s not just animals that follow this natural cycle. Gardens have circadian rhythms too!

 

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This year I missed the boat on planting my early spring crops like broccoli and cabbage. I do have some coming up but, for the full crop I want I’ll have to do a mid-summer planting to get a fall harvest. That’s good news in a way as cabbage is always sweeter after having gone through a frost. Yet it’s not so much the temperature that these crops are reacting to but the longer days. Just as our bodies set our internal clocks by sunlight, many crops do the same.

Plants keep track of the seasons to ensure the survival of their species. They are sensitive to day length which is called photoperiodism. Potatoes use this to determine when to produce storage tubers and other plants use it to time when they fruit or bolt. We would know spring from summer and summer from winter without clocks or calendars by daylight and plants are the same.

“The {circadian} clock has a light-sensitive window at the end of the day that acts as a gating mechanism” according to Takato Imaizumi, a University of Washington biologist. Sunlight is still crucial to our biological sense of time but that gating mechanism communicates to plants and animals the changing of seasons. Latitude also plays a role in the success of your garden.

Long-day plants like tomatoes and peppers want to flower and fruit as we move toward the longest days each year. Plants such as cabbage and turnips want to flower in early spring or in the fall. Some plants require a prolonged period of cold, known as Vernalization. Carrots, parsnips, and beets won’t go to seed in their first summer with this cold.

When trying to create a garden be sure to purchase plants or seeds that are suited to your locale. If you’re in Florida, it’s not use trying to grow crops intended for cold weather areas. You can also adjust when you plant various crops so that you can mimic the circadian rhythm of your garden.

UPDATE – Potatoes & Carrots in Pots

I promised an update on the potatoes and carrots I planted in pots and I’m delighted to say that the red potatoes and both kinds of carrots are coming up. The Yukon Gold potatoes haven’t shown any green yet but I’m still hopeful.

These are the red potatoes. I did plant quite a few for the size of the pot but, with luck, they’ll produce the way I want. If things get too crowded I’ll just thin them a bit.

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Here are the carrots. I made a rookie mistake in that I didn’t note which pot is the baby carrots and which I planted the full size variety. This may mean I’m going to be pulling a lot of carrots when they’re still small. Lesson learned for next year!

 carrot-close-upA close up of one of the carrots just starting to grow. I’m delighted!

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 There are several carrots here and many more in the pot. I’m going to have to thin them a bit. I can live with having more than I expected!

How To for Seeds

I love the Old Farmer’s Almanac. I check it for last frost dates in spring and first frost dates in fall. I’ve found some great gardening tips over the years and this year I discovered some terrific ways to deal with problems many of us have when sowing seeds in the garden. We’re planting our early seeds right now and you can bet I’m going to use these tricks!

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Homemade seed tape – You’ll need toilet paper, flour, and water: Make your planting trench the correct depth for the seeds you’re planting. Roll out enough toilet paper for the length of the row. Cut the toilet paper in half lengthwise. Make a paste of the flour mixed with a bit of water and dab a bit of the flour paste at the correct spacing for the seed. Put two seeds on each dab of flour paste. Fold the paper in half lengthwise and, if you’re not planting immediately, roll the paper up to store. Otherwise just lay the folded paper along the row, cover with the correct amount of soil and water. Paper towels work great for square planting (for example Square Foot Gardening). Just dab, place two seeds, and cover with another square of toilet paper.

Tiny seeds, like carrots, can be mixed with fine, dry sand. Put a pinch of seeds into a couple of tablespoons of sand. Dig the trench to the correct planting depth and sprinkle, by hand, the sand/seed mix into the trench. Cover with soil and water.

Big seeds, like beans and squash, will germinate faster if the outer covering is roughed up a bit. Gently roll the seeds between two pieces of fine sandpaper just until the seed coat begins to come off. Don’t rub too much or you’ll damage the seed. Or you can soak seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours.Parsley seeds benefit from being soaked for 24 hours, then having the water changed and soaked for another 24 hours.

If you’re having trouble seeing your seeds against the dark soil, ensure proper spacing by laying toilet paper in the seed row. The dark seeds will show up against the white paper.

Use row markers so you know where you’ve planted or plant a fast germinating and growing seed along with the slower ones. For example, plant radishes in the same row as parsnips. The radishes germinate in a few days and will be harvested long before the slow growing parsnips.

You can give very slow germinating plants a head start by putting a layer of damp paper towel in a sealable plastic container. Space the seeds on the paper towel and cover with two more layers of damp paper towel. Seal the lid and put the container in a warm spot (65° – 70°F). Check after a few days and, if you see roots starting to sprout, the seeds can be planted. Don’t worry about which side of the seed is up when you plant. The roots will always grow down.

Companion Planting to Attract Bees and Deter Pests

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  • Bachelor’s Buttons has bright blue flower that attract pollinators that are important to the formation of beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. They also attract insects that will prey upon damaging insects such as scales and thrips.
  • Bee Balm Monarda is a bee favorite and will help your tomatoes taste better. It’s a beautiful plant but it can be invasive so be prepared to remove plants as they spread. Also keep in mind that it gets tall so consider what sunlight it may block from other plants when finding it a home in your garden.
  • Borage deters tomato hornworms and cabbage worms by confusing the moths that lay the eggs that become those pests. It’s a great companion plant for tomatoes, squash, strawberries, and other plants. The leaves are rich in and vitamin C calcium, potassium and mineral salts and the flowers are edible. Bees absolutely love it! It’s self-sowing so be sure to pick your spot for it carefully and till it back in the soil.
  • Chamomile (German) is a sun loving annual which plays host to hoverflies and trichogramma wasps. These two eat the eggs and larvae of many garden pests including tomato hornworms, aphids, scales, whiteflies, sawfly larvae, ants, leaf miners, and several types of caterpillars. It also improves your soil by accumulating calcium, potassium, and sulfur then returning them to the soil. Chamomile improves the flavor of cabbages, cucumbers, and onions. It will reseed itself so remove it before it bolts or rotate crops that love it when you plant the next season.
  • Lavender repels fleas and moths, including codling moths if planted near fruit trees. It attracts beneficial insects and protects plants from whiteflies. Allow lavender to dry out between waterings.
  • Petunias in purple and pink tones are a bee favorite. Petunias are a good companion plant for tomatoes. It repels a wide range of pests including the asparagus beetle, leafhoppers, certain aphids, tomato worms, and Mexican bean beetles. Be sure to buy heirloom seeds so the plant will self-seed.
  • Rosemary deters cabbage moths, bean beetles, and carrot flies. It’s a perennial so plant it where it can have a home for a long time. It is an excellent companion plant for cabbage, beans, carrots, and sage. A cutting of rosemary placed by the crown of carrots deters carrot rot.
  • Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) is an herb that not only attracts bees but contains saponins which cause boiled solutions made with soapwort to lather. Before phosphates this plant was used for washing lace, silk, and woolens. It was also used as a shampoo. Harvest the leaves, stems, and roots to make liquid soap. You don’t want the soapwort groundcover, however. Be sure to plant Saponaria officinalis. It’s a perennial that grows to about 3 feet and will grow from zones 3 – 9. It, unlike many herbs, needs well-composted soil and excellent drainage. It can become invasive so be watchful of it. When it blooms, usually in late July, it has a lovely spicy berry scent. It requires support to stay upright.
  • Sunflowers attract hummingbirds that eat whiteflies. Ants will herd aphids on to sunflowers and small birds eat both the ants and the aphids.
  • Zinnia attracts bees and other pollinators and hummingbirds which eat whiteflies. Pastel varieties of zinnias can be used as a trap crop for Japanese beetles.