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Marigolds in Your Veggie Garden

I plant a few Marigold plants in my vegetable garden to deter and discourage garden pests.

Also basil near my tomato plants.

Are there any other flowers/ plants that also serve this purpose.? Something is eating the leaves of my Swiss Chard plants.

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  1. No plant that I know of ... my friend uses Bulls-Eye, approved for organic, but not familiar with it. I use cayenne around the permiter of the beds and sometimes garlic which seems to work. Have you tried to see if there are any bugs, aphids, grubs, check out all possibilities. There are many sprays, depends what you want organic or not. I would take a leaf into a local nursery if not sure, they can probably tell you and then treat properly.

    1. When I had a much larger vegetable garden - in another house - I planted a lot of lavender with the marigolds. An old farmer told me that anything with a strong scent deterred pests.

      After I'd forced narcissus in the house, I planted the bulbs in the vegetable garden but I don't think they discouraged anything. I just liked the way they looked when they bloomed in the spring. Nothing ever touched the walls of hollyhocks either. Did they discourage any pests? I dunno. Lots of marigolds, daisies and nasturtiums, along with the lavender, seemed to do the trick.

      1. Lots of French Marigolds at least 3 at the end of each row, nastursums too, I also intersperse garlic & onions, where appropriate. check out MOFCA for more info

        1. jfood has marigolds and hot pepper plants but his best deterrent is the following.

          Around the edges he placed the bamboo stakes and halfway up the stakes he put the following.

          1 - he took some old socks and cut then into strips
          2 - he tied the strips at different heights
          3 - he sprays the Deer Off on the tied sock strips.

          No deer off on the plants and the absorbing factor seems to keep the stuff longer.

          1. Irish Mist soap hung from poles around the perimeter of our garden has proven effective in keeping deer away.

            1. I put copper tape on the perimeter of my planter boxes along with borage, nasturtiums, & marigolds. And my spinach is planted with a surround of leeks. I've heard that a ring of wormwood is also a good deterrent for deer and the like (and with the comeback of absinthe, maybe you can sell it :)). Good luck!

              1. I have a variety of flowers and herbs planted around and among my veggies, both for determent of pests and for the attraction of parasitic wasps, lady beetles, lace wings, a variety of pollinators, ect. Since I've been planting like this I always have some kind of predators available to keep the balance in check :)
                Mainly planted around and among the veggies are: Lavender, Sage, Thyme, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Chives, Sweet Alyssum, Basil, Calendula, Marigold, Zinnia, Larkspur, ect.....
                The only pest that doesn't seem to be deterred are the blasted Earwigs! It's just a shame they can't just stick to eating aphids. This year they have found a variety of seedlings to munch on! Found a great recipe for attracting and drowning them. Per container (ie: yogurt, cream cheese, ect.) add 1 Tbsp. each of cooking oil, soy sauce and molasses or Karo syrup. Place near plants under attack and check the next morning. You'll be amazed at how many earwigs you'll find drowned to death!! The first day I mainly caught somewhere around 50-60 earwig nymphs and only 5-10 adults....WhooHooooooo!!
                Just a few pics.....the 1st one is the newest veggie bed in the making in early May attached to my flower NW-NE flower strip. The bed is a heck of alot fuller now, but was the last pic I took of it. Currently that bed has Romaine lettuce, Calendula, Marigold, Carrot 'Purple Dragon', a few determinate heirloom tomatoes, Brussels Sprout 'Long Island Improved', Dahlia 'Early Bird', Kohlrabi 'Early Purple Vienna', Collard 'Vates', Pepper 'Thai Hot', Pepper 'Hungarian Hot Wax', Pepper 'Chicken Heart' and my 3 year old Habanero and 'Bolivian Rainbow'. The 2nd pic show Strawberry growing with Gazania; not shown is the Sedum album that the strawberry are growing up through....they LOVE it! The last pic is just partially what the border looks like in front of another veggie bed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: vera_ewashington

                  Marigolds attract earwigs, which really love to eat their leaves and flowers.

                2. It's kind of true that flowers repel pests, just a bit indirectly. The idea of flowers actually repelling pests is mostly a myth (although there is one specific type of marigold that has been shown to repel nematodes). However, as vera_ewashington says, planting flowers really can attract beneficial insects who will prey on the bad guys, pollinate your plants, and make your garden a more interesting and diverse place.

                  So go ahead and mix in lots of flowers. Particular favorites include anything with daisy-like flowers (like cosmos and some dahlias), anything with wide, flat umbels of tiny flowers (yarrow, for instance), and many herb flowers (plant extra basil and let some go to flower -- the bees go nuts!). Flowers with excessively doubled/ruffled petals aren't as attractive for beneficial insects as their old-fashioned single counterparts.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                    We have a community garden plot, and it used to irk one of our neighbors considerably that I put flowers all over the place. He asked why, but not in a curious or nice way, just annoyed. My answer was that they attract beneficials, and tried to explain to him why I wanted nature to do as much of the dirty work as possible, and he just fumed. Then I ended with, "and they're purty." I thought his head was going to explode. The following year, he asked the same question, and got the same answer.

                    I've had great success with the basil and cosmos as you mention; plus petunias, sunflowers, nasturtiums and zinnias. And white alyssum and (contained) catmint. The sunflowers bring in bees, but birds like them too, and they leave my other stuff alone. Plus, of course, they're purty.

                  2. It's called Companion Planting and it's every bit as beneficial as you would expect. I've been practicing this for years with very good results. Of course, you have to take into account the kinds of wild life that view your garden as their habitat. I had a groundhog resident that wreaked havoc chewing off the tips of most plants till I put up a barrier around the most favored plants. But, generally if you can find plants which actually protect those you wish to thrive... it's a wonderful thing. Here's a link I particularly like: