The Q&A Archives: Encouraging Beneficial Insects

Question: Do you have any information on what plants/flowers to plant in a vegetable garden that naturally keep "pests" away from the vegetables. I've heard marigolds are good to plant beside tomatoes - is this true? Pam Collins San Rafael, CA

Answer: The best way to keep insects from destroying your garden is to have all the plants healthy by feeding the soil first before planting and planting a diversity of herbs, flowers and vegetables. This will create a small ecosystem where beneficial insects and animals such as toads can live and balance out any invading insects. When planting, try to mix things up a bit by interplanting the flowers, herbs and vegetables so even if a bug attacks one plant, it wouldn't necessarily spread to the adjacent plant. Keep an eye out for any really destructive insects such as potato beetles and hand crush them as soon as you see them.

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