Butterfly Fund

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What plants to plant, to repel insect, rodents, and other nasties in your garden.

You love to garden, you love having all that wonderful food and flowers, but the nasties are getting your goodies! These plants will help you to deter insects, rodents, and other nasties.

So, when you are planning what goodies to plant, plan on picking up seeds to combat naturally, the invaders of your gardens.

Also, these can be planted around your home, to combat roaches, ants, lice, fleas, mosquitoes, etc to protect your family and pets.

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  • Artemisias     Repels insects, including ants, cabbage looper, cabbage maggot, carrot fly, codling moth, flea beetles, whiteflies, the Cabbage White, and the Small White, as well as mice
  • Basil     Repels flies, including mosquitoes and the carrot fly, plus asparagus beetles and whiteflies
  • Borage     Repels tomato hornworm and cabbage worms
  • Castor bean     Repels moles
  • Catnip     Repels ants, flea beetles, aphids, the Japanese beetle, squash bugs, weevils, the Colorado potato beetle, the cabbage looper, and cockroaches
  • Chamomile     Repels flying insects
  • Chives     Repels carrot fly, Japanese beetle, and aphids
  • Chrysanthemums     Repels roaches, ants, the Japanese beetle, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, and root-knot nematodes
  • Citronella grass     Repels insects, may deter cats
  • Citrosa     Repels insects, including mosquitoes
  • Clovers     Repels aphids and wireworms
  • Common lantana     Repels mosquitoes
  • Coriander     Repels aphids, Colorado potato beetle, and spider mites
  • Cosmos     Repels the corn earworm
  • Crown imperial     Repels rabbits, mice, moles, voles and ground squirrels
  • Dahlias     Repels nematodes
  • Dill     Repels aphids, squash bugs, spider mites, the cabbage looper, the tomato hornworm, and the Small White
  • Eucalyptus     Repels aphids, the cabbage looper, and the Colorado potato beetle
  • Fennel     Repels aphids, slugs, and snails
  • Fever tea     Repels mosquitoes
  • Four o'clocks     attract and poison the Japanese beetle
  • French marigold     Repels whiteflies, kills nematodes
  • Garlic     Repels aphids, Japanese beetle, carrot fly, codling moth, snails, root maggots, cabbage looper, Mexican bean beetle, peach tree borer, and rabbits
  • Geraniums     Repels leafhoppers, the corn earworm, and the Small White
  • Hyssop     Repels the cabbage looper and the Small White
  • Larkspur     Repels aphids
  • Lavender     Repels moths, fleas, and flies, including mosquitoes
  • Leek     Repels carrot fly
  • Lemon balm     Repels mosquitoes
  • Lemon thyme     Repels mosquitoes
  • Lettuce     Repels carrot fly
  • Lime basil     Repels mosquitoes
  • Mexican marigold     Repels insects and rabbits
  • Myrrh     Repels insects
  • Narcissus     Repels moles
  • Nasturtiums     Repels whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, many beetles, and the cabbage looper
  • Onion     Repels rabbits, the cabbage looper, and the Small White
  • Oregano     Repellent to many pests
  • Parsley     Repels asparagus beetles
  • Peppermint     Repels aphids, cabbage looper, flea beetles, squash bugs, whiteflies, and the Small White
  • Petunias     Repels aphids, tomato hornworm, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, and squash bugs
  • Radish     Repels cabbage maggot and cucumber beetles
  • Rosemary     Repels cabbage looper, carrot fly, slugs, snails, and the Mexican bean beetle
  • Rue     Repels cucumber and flea beetles
  • Spearmint     Repels fleas, moths, ants, beetles, rodents, aphids, squash bugs, and the cabbage looper
  • Spiny amaranth     Repels cutworms
  • Stone root     Repels mosquitoes
  • Summer savory     Repels bean beetles
  • Tansy     Repels ants, many beetles and flies, squash bugs, cutworms, Small White, and Cabbage White
  • Thyme     Repels cabbage looper, cabbage maggot, corn earworm, whiteflies, tomato hornworm, and Small White
  • Tobacco     Repels carrot fly and flea beetles
  • Tomato     Repels asparagus beetles

Gardening tips to help repel insects

Bring on the Coffee: Coffee grounds are a great addition to your garden. They add nitrogen to the soil, they increase the acidity for acid loving plants, and, best of all, a wide range of creatures can't stand coffee grounds. Slugs hate coffee, cats hate coffee; it's even sometimes an effective olfactory-based repellent for picky deer. What's that you say? You hate coffee and have no coffee grounds to work with? Stop by your local Starbucks and ask. They have a policy of giving away their mountains of spent grounds for patrons to use for composting and other projects.

Bait, Trap, and Deter the Slugs: Slugs are, in my humble opinion, the most annoying of garden pests. They're the veritable ninjas of plant destruction. Unless you're looking for them—and carefully—it's rare to see slugs at all, yet every night they descend upon your garden and chew the crap out of everything. You can deal with slugs a variety of ways depending on your adversity to killing them or merely redirecting them to your neighbor's yard.

Coffee grounds, as mentioned above, will deter slugs to a degree. Even more effective, and radically longer lasting, is copper. Slugs and snails hate copper. You can use copper in a variety of forms to keep them away. To keep slugs from crawling up into your potted plants you can put decorative copper tape around the body of the container. You can shield plants on the ground by buying rolls of thin copper sheeting and making rings around the plants you want to protect—when you're done it'll look like all your plants are castles in the center of little copper fortresses. Alternatively, you can buy pot scrubbies made of copper mesh—snip the tie in the center of the scrubbie and then uncoil the copper mesh into a long tube to wrap around your plants. If you're building copper mesh barriers for lots of plants it will likely end up being more economical to just buy a commercial roll of copper gardening mesh.

If your attempts to deter slugs are a failure, you'll have to start trapping them. Slugs are, as one would imagine, as dumb as they look. You can make an effective slug trap with little more than an orange rind or a shallow container and some grape juice or beer. Save the half-rinds from citrus fruits like grape fruit and oranges and place them about your garden. Slugs will flock to the rind. Come morning you can throw the rind in the trash or put it on top of your compost pile to dry them out in the sun and mix them into your compost. You can also put saucers of grape juice or beer around the garden. The slugs will dive in and drown.

Repel Insects with Organic Sprays: There are an abundance of organic recipes online for insect-repelling plant sprays. The majority of them have common ingredients like garlic cloves, hot pepper, and sometimes the essential oil extract of either or both. Mixtures of the two work great for repelling everything from bugs to bunnies. 

Deterring the Big Pests

If slugs are the most annoying little pests, adorable yet destructive creatures like rabbits and deer are the most annoying big pests. A few deer can reduce a thriving garden patch to waste or a hearty stand of hostas to nubs in a matter of days. Unlike the simple orange-rind traps you use for slugs, you have to be a little trickier with larger pests.

If you can afford it and it's feasible to do so, putting up a fence is the only fool-proof way to keep animals out of your garden. Barring building a rabbit-proof fence, the most effective deterrent for large pests is to scare the hell out of them. You can spray plants with nasty tasting substances like the garlic/pepper spray above, but that's not as effective or far reaching as introducing the scent of predators.

Apply Bloodmeal Liberally: Bloodmeal is a by product of meat packing plants. It's dried and flaked blood and animals strongly dislike the smell of it. Prey animals like rabbits and deer are spooked by the smell of blood, even old dried blood. Bloodmeal is also extremely high in nitrogen and a great additive for your garden. Sprinkle it around your plants and in your garden beds. Take care, however, not to sprinkle the powder directly on the plants. The high nitrogen content can burn the leaves.

Introduce Strong Scents: If you have a strong aversion to spreading bloodmeal all over your yard, you can also introduce other strong scents. Deer, particularly, are not fond of really strong smells like bars of scented soap, cheap perfume, and other strong smells.

Bring in the Predators: You won't literally invite predators—your neighbors wouldn't approve of your use of coyotes as garden patrol—but you do want their scent. For about $30 you can purchase fox and coyote urine. Fox urine is great for repelling small animals like rabbits, squirrels, and skunks. Coyote urine is great for bigger pests like deer, raccoons, and opossums. You use it by putting a few drops every couple feet around the perimeter of your garden and plants. A $30 bottle will last you all season even with a fairly large yard as those few drops usually linger for a week or two barring a heavy rain storm. If you're curious, no, human urine doesn't work very well. Urban and suburban deer have adapted to the smell of humans and don't fear us as much as they do the smell of other animal predators.

Scare 'em Off with Water: Scarecrow sprinklers look like regular lawn sprinklers, except they have a battery-powered motion sensor. Anything that gets in the path of the sensor gets a sudden and intense blast of water. I've never used one personally, but everyone I know that has one swears by them. They run $50-$75, but they're great for everything from deer to squirrels