95% of surveyed consumers buy organic food because they think it is pesticide free. Organic farmers can legally use pesticides labelled as ‘organic’ or 'natural,’ but nearly half of the natural pesticides used in the US are illegal and deemed unsafe in Europe. Source
Permaculture Design PrinciplesCompanion Planting
Many of these relationships are fairly general. The best results come from creating diversity by using a variety of herbs and ornamental plants alongside the edible crops planted in the garden.
Some Companion Plants are:
Basil helps repel flies and mosquitoes
Birch leaves encourage compost fermentation
Borage in the strawberry patch will increase the yield
Catnip repels fleas, ants and rodents
Caraway helps breakdown heavy soils
Chamomile deters flies and mosquitoes and gives strength to any plant growing nearby
Chives grown beneath apple trees will help to prevent apple scab; beneath roses will keep away aphids and blackspot.
Elderberry a general insecticide, the leaves encourage compost fermentation, the flowers and berries make good wine.
Fennel repel flies and ants
French Marigold root secretions kill nasty nematodes (not the beneficial ones) and will repel white fly amongst tomatoes.
Garlic helps keep aphids away from roses
Hyssop attracts cabbage white moth keeping brassicas free from infestation
Mint repels cabbage white moth. Dried and placed with clothes will repel clothes moth.
Nasturtium secrete a mustard oil, which many insects find attractive and will seek out, particularly the cabbage white moth. Alternatively, the flowers repel aphids and the cucumber beetle. The climbing variety grown up apple trees will repel codling moth.
Pyrethrum will repel bugs if grown around the vegetable garden
Rosemary repels carrot fly
Sage protects cabbages from cabbage white moth
Tansy (Tanacetum, not Senecio) repels moths, flies and ants. Plant beneath peach trees to repel harmful flying insects. Tansy leaves assist compost fermentation.
Wormwood (Artemesia, not Ambrosia) although it can inhibit the growth of plants near it, wormwood does repel moths and flies and keeps animals off the garden.
By Angela Blackerby
How many of you have checked out Pinterest? Like most people, I initially used Pinterest to gather recipes and craft ideas. However, I’ve been using the gardening section a lot lately.
When I started gardening, seriously, all I really wanted was to have hummingbirds in the garden, because my parents had hummingbirds in their garden—Da Hummingguys, as my stepfather call them—and y’know, hummingbirds are just so inherently neat.
But I’m way too scatterbrained to reliably clean and refill a hummingbird feeder every week, so it was much easier for me to plant plants that the hummingbirds would like. So then, because I was on a budget, I had to research what kinds of plants hummingbirds like, instead of just buying everything with a silhouette of a hummer on the label
Then the hummingbirds needed more than nectar. They needed little tiny bugs. Lots of little tiny bugs. Apparently they are not exclusive nectarvores. So I had to do things to bring in little tiny bugs, which involved reading books about wildlife gardening, which led me to discover all the shocking facts about the amount of ecological lifting a native plant does vs. the vast majority of ornamental immigrants. (Bringing Nature Home is a great book for charting this all out in layman’s terms.) So then I wasn’t just working for the hummingbirds, I had to do something for all those poor specialized little bugs that would be starving in my yard. The butterflies were easy to love, but my affections are broad, if largely unrequited, and I found myself fretting over the fate of the milkweed assassin bug.
Plus I had to clear space for my plants, which meant that those take-over-the-world viney things had to go, which led me to discover Japanese honeysuckle and English Ivy and Chinese Wisteria (They call me…Wisteria-bane…) and also I lived in the south, where you learn about kudzu very rapidly. And this taught me about invasive species in a big and practical way, beyond the abstract knowledge derived from an 8 AM biology elective in college, which turned out to be one of the more important classes I ever took and I kinda wish I’d been more awake for it.
And then it turned out all those little bugs fed frogs, and I knew amphibians were hurting around the world so they needed all the help they could get, and I started trying to dig them a pond, and then it turns out that bees are in trouble too, so I had to plant more things for bugs, because let’s face it–bugs run the world under our feet and largely out of our sight, and planting spring things for bees, because without bees and pollinators in general, we are in A Whole Lot of Trouble. This is pretty much enlightened self-interest, particularly since I had discovered tulip poplar honey and what it can do to tea.
Then I started reading about why the bugs and the birds were in trouble–factory farming and pesticide use for one, habitat loss for another. Eating pesticide sprayed bugs kills some unbelievable number of birds a year–millions and millions, even by conservative estimates–and we need the pesticides because we killed the predatory bugs with last year’s pesticides, and every time it takes more to kill the pests because the bugs are growing resistant but of course big Agribusiness isn’t interested in changing this state of affairs, because they’re the ones who sell pesticides.
And that led to reading about organic farming and the way our food really works, and once you start reading about farming and food you are utterly lost, because the whole system as it is set up is so insane and so warped and so…unkind…that it’s nearly impossible to get your head around.