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Skip the Pesticides! 10 Plants That Naturally Protect Crops From Pests

In the days of old, pesticides were never a consideration when growing food, and people still managed to do it quite well. It wasn’t that pests didn’t exist, but simply that natural solutions did, too. Unfortunately, with the rise of chemically-based agriculture methods, these reliable and safe methods took a backseat to brand names and poisons.

There are many problems with using pesticides. They kill indiscriminately, taking out beneficial insects, like bees and butterflies (Some of us don’t want to kill anything anyway). Then, when predatory insects die along with the pests, the much smaller predator populations recover significantly more slowly than pests, which creates a complete dependence on the chemical rather than natural systems. And, of course, we don’t really know just how badly the accumulated poisons are affecting our food and health in the meantime.

In other words, the time to switch back to those solutions of old is long past due, and it all begins with choosing companion plants that protect crops from pests. When we do this, we increase biodiversity and enhance ecosystems, which reach healthy balances of predators and pests on their own, with no poisons needed. Here are ten plants to keep pests at bay.

1. Sunflowers

Sunflowers, like many on the following list, are great companions because, not only do they help with pests, but they also provide more to harvest. Their most notable attribute is that they distract aphids and white flies from other plants. These pests don’t have much negative effect on sunflowers, but they’ll decimate the other crops.

2. Marigolds

Fragrant marigolds are amongst the most respected pest repellent plants, and they are often used to border gardens or planted throughout them. In addition to repelling plenty of pesky bugs, marigolds distract spider mites and snails away from other plants, and the really smelly varieties — Mexican marigolds — will even keep rabbits out of the garden.

3. Culinary Herbs

Like marigolds and several others on this list, culinary herbs tend to be very aromatic, which confuses pests and attracts beneficial insects. Basil, mint (the entire family), and...

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