Every year, pests destroy our garden. From squash bugs to groundhogs, I don’t think there’s anything that makes gardening more difficult than hungry critters. So this year, along with adding some humble fencing–more of a deterrent than an actual barrier–we’ve interspersed some plants that will hopefully keep pests away.
The onion family is a known deterrent of bugs and mammals alike. That’s because the same chemical that gives garlic and leeks their distinct sharpness is also poisonous to many animals. So to deter nasties, we’ve planted a clove of garlic about every five feet at the back of each bed so as not to block the sun. No special care needed here. They’re pretty impossible to choke out with other plants or kill with even aggressive hoeing, so I usually just pop them in and forget about them. You can even use the leftover cloves you have sitting in your fridge sprouting.
The other plant in our botanical arsenal are marigolds. These are known to ward off a number of insects that would love to munch on our succulent lettuce or string beans. They’re also said to keep rabbits away and they attract bees for pollination. Unfortunately, marigolds may also attract snails, but we’re going to keep these buggers away with some diatomaceous Earth sprinkled around the beds. Marigolds also encourage spiders to camp out in your garden. Personally, I’m okay with this, because spiders chow down on squash bugs, aphids, and anything else that takes an unfortunate tumble into their web. But if you have arachnophobia, be warned.
We’ve planted our marigolds here and there at the front of the beds since they’re a fairly low-growing flower. Again, kind of one of those things you just plant and forget.
We’ll see how our two natural deterrents work out, and then maybe try a few others next year. Do you plant anything to keep critters away? Let us know in the comments.