Have you noticed some bugs hanging around your vegetable garden? If so, don't be so quick to get rid of them: They may be beneficial for your vegetables. But how do you know for sure? I can help you with that! Today, I'm looking at how to put out the welcome mat for the good bugs and send the bad ones down the road.
Bugs That Are Good for Your Garden
It's in the best interest of your veggie garden to make it inviting to the following beneficial insects. Some good insects eat bad ones, preventing them from damaging the vegetables in your garden. Also, when you have good insects in your garden, you can avoid using harmful pesticides to protect your vegetables.
Yep, ladybugs are on the good bug list! They specialize in eating aphids. In fact, they've been known to eat 50 or so aphids in one day. They also protect a garden from mites, mealybugs, and leafhoppers. You can make your vegetable garden appealing to ladybugs by planting yarrow, cilantro, and/or fennel.
Bees are pollinators that help a garden to flourish. You can make your garden attractive to them by planting colorful vegetables as well as pansies, lavender, or marigolds.
Seeing a praying mantis or two in your garden may give you the creeps, but they're helping your vegetables grow. They eat crickets, caterpillars, beetles, and moths that are destructive to a garden. Keep in mind that tall grass, marigolds, or shrubs are all inviting to praying mantis.
Ground beetles eat slugs, cabbage maggots, snails, and cutworms that can harm your vegetables. Creating a compost pile attracts ground beetles and helps you and your family to be more environmentally friendly, too.
If you have a problem with cabbage worms, aphids, or caterpillars, then invite some damsel bugs to your garden. They love eating those and other pests. Plant some spearmint or fennel to make your garden more appealing to damsel bugs.
Bugs That Are Bad for Your Garden
Aphids gnaw on the sensitive tissues of a plant. Also, they leave behind a substance that causes mold in a garden. Ladybugs, damsel bugs, and minute pirate bugs are all aphid-eaters. Petunias and marigolds are also repellent to aphids.
These garden pests feast on the roots of vegetables. They can kill seedlings in no time. Putting a floating cover over your vegetables can prevent flies from leaving their eggs behind on your plants.
Spider mites suck out a plant's juices, causing leaves to dry out and turn yellow. Be on the lookout for silk webs on the undersides of your plant leaves. Ladybugs, praying mantises, and assassin bugs are all insects that eat spider mites.
These bugs chew on leaves, making your vegetable garden look like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Ladybugs eat the larvae of potato beetles. (Ladybugs are certainly the stars of a garden!) Also, consider planting catnip, garlic, and nasturtiums as natural repellents to these bugs.
I hope you have plenty of welcome visitors in your vegetable garden this summer! Thanks for reading. - Alan