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Organic Gardening: Repel Bugs Naturally with Garden Herbs

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Naturally Repel Insects from Your Garden - Feature

Like many gardeners out there, I’m learning about the frustrations of keeping an organic garden. Flies, beetles and other annoying pests destroyed most of the vegetables I grew last year. Chemical pesticides are a big “no-no” in organic gardening, so what’s a girl to do? I can’t just let this massacre continue to reign in my garden.

After some research, I discovered that some herbs are natural bug deterrents. Not only that, but some also allow pollenating insects, such as bees and butterflies, to access your plants without being killed by chemical mixes… SCORE!

Watch out, pests! I’m ready for you this year. The employees at Country Harmony helped me immensely in picking out my herbaceous weapons. They told me which herbs are best to plant and how to care for each type. Here is a list of some herbs and which type of bugs they deter:



Basil – Flies, Mosquitos, Thrips. Plant some near tomato plants for more flavorful tomatoes. Basil is weak against aphids, so plant near some garlic.







Catnip – Mosquitos. When you’re done for the season, dry the leaves to make a catnip toy for your cat.








Chives – ants, aphids, fleas, nematodes. Chives are actually a small species of onion. You use the stems for cooking. Plant this herb with carrots. Chives can also be planted amongst rose bushes to defend against the disease Blackspot.







Mint – Cabbage Moths, flies, flees, ants. This herb can grow out of control rather quickly. If you’re more concerned about repelling flying insects, try planting mint in a pot near your vegetables.






Oregano – Mosquitos (can you tell I really don’t like this pest?), Cucumber beetle, Cabbage butterfly. While oregano repels many types of insects, they are susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and leafhoopers. Plant oregano near garlic, onions or chives to protect them from these insects.







Rosemary – I don’t like cooking with rosemary, but they work well in a garden with cucumbers. Carrot Fly, Mexican bean beetle, Mosquitos, Cabbage Moths







Sage – This is an excellent one, because it repels many types of insects. Plus they look nice and don’t have a strong odor, in case you want to place some around the house. Sage can take a long time to grow. I suggest not starting from a seed. Mosquitos, Cabbage Moths, Carrot Fly









Thyme – Cabbage Moth, whiteflies. Thyme oil helps with respiratory and digestive problems in people.




I stocked up on basil, oregano and sage for my garden. I suppose I’ll get some catnip too, for DeeDee Ramone. She’s been doing a good job of keeping the mice away lately. She deserves a good reward.

For the gardener with limited space to work with, having to add more plants to your garden isn’t easy. Instead of picking herbs based solely on the type of bug they repel, plan which vegetables you want to grow and pair them with herbs and other plants that benefit each other. If you want the benefits of an herb but don’t want to grow it, you can buy oils from the store. Spray these oils onto your vegetables once a week, or more after a big rain storm.

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Kayley Wagner
More about Kayley Wagner

During the spring of 2012, I had the urge to start a vegetable garden. From my first bean plant, which perished prematurely when I was six, to my little pine tree, which didn’t survive the first three months in my college dorm room, I’ve wanted to prove that I inherited my Grandpa Mount’s green thumb. Even though I chose to start my garden during the longest drought in Indiana history in decades, my plants managed to produce a few tomatoes and radishes. This gave me the motivational drive to do what I can to learn gardening.

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2 responses to “Organic Gardening: Repel Bugs Naturally with Garden Herbs”

  1. Jp Superboy says:

    my spinach almost died from catepillars, even with oregano, but I placed some tarragon besides them along with my tomatoes whalla! gone like a bubble; thanks for the info;)

    • You’re welcome JP! Thanks for letting me know about the tarragon. My garden has been doing pretty well this year, with the exception of grubs interfering with my potatoes. We cut open one of the potatoes and found a huge cavity. GRRR!!

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