Pest Patrol

Pest patrolling your garden could sometimes make or break your harvest. Hungry herbivores sometimes seem to have no consideration for all the hard work you put into your garden. If you try to avoid pesticides and chemicals it can be even more difficult to dissuade animals from snacking on your garden goods. With the help of herbs, some insects and birds you can hopefully attempt to bring a balance to your garden that sees no pest can get carried away in your garden. A combination of planting herbs that repel pests and having an environment that attracts the predator species of pests you can achieve a little garden ecosystem. None of these methods are an exact science but rather an art that you can fiddle with and fit to your environment and garden. 

Herbs and Flowers

Many plants have natural anti-herbivory strategies built in, they find ways to make themselves less appetizing through different means such as highly textured, fuzzy leaves, and high fragrance can be less than tasty. Both animals and insects prefer to stay away from plants that are highly aromatic, and that have leaves that are unpalatable. Strategically planning your garden so it is lined by unpalatable plants may decrease the likelihood of herbivores considering your garden a good place to dine. Some compounds found in herbs and flowers are used in insect repellent like pyrethrum that occurs in chrysanthemums. 


  • Basil
  • Alliums including chives and garlic
  • Catnip
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Thyme
  • Lemon thyme 
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Rosemary


  • Marigolds 
  • Nasturtiums
  • Chrysanthemums 
  • Lavender 
  • Geraniums 
  • Anise hyssop
  • Wild bergamot
  • Dotted mint


Insects can be a huge help in the garden, I have watched and thanked wasps that eat caterpillars that blended into the colour of my broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage veins. Wasps as well as hoverflies like tiny flowers, like the ones on dill as well as composite flowers like chamomile. Ladybug larvae as well as adults are a garden friendly bug, they love to snack on aphids and other garden pests. Low growing and dense plants like thyme and mint make shady areas for the eggs of beneficial species. 

Beneficial Bugs:

  • Wasps 
  • Ladybugs
  • Lacewings
  • Dragonflies
  • Ground beetles
  • Hoverflies
  • Garden spiders


Birds that mainly eat insects and bugs will be more attracted to suet feeders than seeds, however, black oil sunflower seed seems to be enjoyed across the board.  American robins like to walk along the ground in search of bugs to eat. To allow robins and other insect eaters to inspect your garden ensure they can walk under plants, prune leaves to about 4 to 5 inches high to give the robins a line of sight and the ability to walk through your garden unhindered. I like to visualize my garden being like a miniature forest for the birds. To the list of insectivorous birds that can aid in the control of pests in your garden.

Insectivorous Birds:

  • American Robins
  • Sparrows
  • Warblers
  • Nuthatch's
  • Flycatchers
  • Cardinals
  • Jays
  • Swallows
  • Downy and Hairy woodpeckers 

Promoting Healthy Ecosystem 

Harnessing natures methods for pest patrol are far from an exact science, but with help of beneficial plants, insects and birds, garden pests will be less likely to visit your hard worked slice of paradise.

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