Protecting Your Herb Garden From Pests
You can enjoy healthy and delicious supplements to your meals by protecting your herb garden from pests. Most herbs are naturally pest-resistant but you can also help by exercising proper care and avoiding pesticides.
Attract Good Insects
Not all insects are destructive to plants, so try to attract good insects which will eat the bad ones. Praying mantis will eat all insects. Wasps will eat aphids and help to pollinate your herb garden. Ladybugs will eat up to 60 aphids per day. If you allow the bad insects to invade, their presence will attract the good insects and nature will take its course. Alternatively, you can purchase or capture these good insects and manually introduce them into your herb garden.
Use the Companion Planting Method
Plan your garden so that you have beneficial herbs scattered throughout. Planting pennyroyal in your herb garden will help to repel ants and other insects. Plant rosemary, wormwood or sage to repel slugs. To deter aphids, plant coriander, anise, chives, mint or thyme. Planting oregano or marjoram will repel spider mites. Basil attracts slugs, so you would need to make sure that the plants have adequate water drainage and air circulation to prevent the soil on top from becoming too damp.
Create Good Care Habits
While herb plants are naturally more resistant to pests, they are not resistant to mold, fungus and rot. Do not overwater the plants and keep the top soil dry to keep slugs away. A good time to water your herb garden is in the early morning. Remove any dead or diseased leaves. Chives tend to grow extensively, so plant them in containers and place the containers in the ground. The containers will keep the roots from growing too big and choking the other herbs.
Use Organic Sprays, Traps, or Screen Mesh
Since you will be using your herbs internally, avoid using pesticides. You can make your own organic sprays to repel pests and kill fungus. To make a general pesticide, crush a few garlic cloves and soak in water. Place the liquid in a spray bottle and spray directly on the plants. Glue traps are also effective in controlling pests. Place a few traps throughout the herb garden and let them do the work. You can also purchase some sheets of screen mesh to spread over your garden to protect it from cats, squirrels and other pests.
Use Other Non-Traditional Methods
Other ways you can protect your herb garden can vary from the tame to the exotic. One way is to simply pick the bugs off the plants and dispose of them. To keep cats out, sprinkle some rue around the perimeter. You can border the garden with sage, tansy or rue. Sprinkle bobcat urine around the perimeter to repel small animals if you want to be adventurous.
Herbs are already naturally pest resistant, but by mixing them up you can ensure that you will have adequate pest protection throughout.