To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. ~Mahatma Gandhi
As a gardener, I am always looking for ways to garden responsibly, especially without chemicals. Drawing in beneficial insects and getting rid of bugs that attack my veggies or flowers. The gardener/owner of my favorite farm to table restaurant told me years ago how he planted sunflowers to draw pests away from his veg garden.
And I have long been a champion of companion planting. I planted sunflowers and garlic near my tomatoes. Beets and carrots like growing together. There are so many other combos that help plants grow better.
But it wasn’t until I was dealing with gray aphids that I ran across trap crops. I couldn’t understand why my coral honeysuckle was covered in the aphids (this can be common). They were stunting the new growth, flowers were not fully opening and the leaves were becoming variegated. I cut a lot of the vines off that were covered in aphids. They still returned. I tried Neem oil. They still returned.
So when I looked up how to organically get rid of them, I found that planting nasturtiums nearby would help. The aphids are drawn to the nasturtium leaves, but they don’t remain on the plants for long.
I generally plant nasturtiums near this honeysuckle, but started them a bit later this cooler spring. Once they grew, the honeysuckle revived and grew beautifully just in time for the hummers who were a bit late this year too. Trap crops also draw in pollinators and beneficial predators of insect pests.
I love this idea of using trap crops combined with companion planting to help make my garden resilient to pests and diseases. Anything to not use chemical controls which are not good for me or the pollinators and animals in the garden.
I thought for my weekly vase, I would use some of these lighter red nasturtiums. Not sure if they are Empress of India or Cherries Jubilee. Added to it are some calendulas still going strong, and the sweet peas that began to flower again.
And I added a vase of sunflowers (trap flowers) that were a gift from my husband. I started to decorate with mini pumpkins and gourds. Love the look.
With this week’s vases, I am linking in to the wonderful meme, In A Vase On Monday, at Rambling in the Garden.
All the pictures shared in this post were taken with my Nikon Coolpix or iPhone camera, and manipulated on my iPhone using the apps, Pixlr and Prisma. You can follow my progress with #the100dayproject in my Instagram and Facebook feed.
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