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Top tips to protect your plants from little critters.

FOR generations, companion planting has been used to repel pests, or at least lure them to another plant away from your crops, as well as attracting beneficial insects who will eat some of the nuisance ones.

Gardening consultant, broadcaster and RHS judge Martin Fish and master grower Chris Smith, owner of Pennard Plants, offer the following advice...

Use nasturtiums, which are great for attracting pollinators, but they also attract aphids and cabbage white butterflies, so be prepared to plant them in the garden as sacrificial plants to draw pests from other plants.

Basil can easily be grown from seed in early summer, so plant it around tomatoes to help deter whitefly and other pests.

The white flowering annual, alyssum (Lobularia), makes a low growing plant and when planted between lettuce and other salad crops, the white flowers attract hoverflies that feed on aphids.

French marigolds (Tagetes) planted between tomatoes and cucumbers in a greenhouse or polytunnel help to repel whiteflies, which can be a real pest.

Plant spring onions between rows of carrots as the strong onion scent will help to deter or confuse carrot root flies looking for somewhere to lay eggs. Also, grow sweet peas in the vegetable plot close to runner beans. The scented flowers are great for cutting and will also attract bees and pollinating insects to pollinate the beans.

Grow taller plants such as sweetcorn and climbing beans on the sunny side of lettuce and salad crops, to provide shade and cooler growing conditions on warm days.

If you have ants, grow some mint - it deters them completely. If the ants are in an area where you cannot grow the mint, some cut mint scattered around will deter them. Mint also deters mice.

Hyssop, particularly anise hyssop planted among cabbages and other brassicas, will help deter cabbage whites from laying the eggs which hatch into caterpillars. | The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Bakewell, Derbyshire, will run from June 5-9. For details, visit rhs.org.uk

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Kale planted with nasturtium in a vegetable plot

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 1, 2019
Words:339
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