A couple of days ago I was talking to Alex over at Spotty Dog Farm about distraction crops (AKA trap crops). They can be weeds or plants that come up accidently or that are planted on purpose (think companion planting) and will either distract the bad bugs with their scent and their yumminess or will attract other (good) bugs that will eat the bad ones.
Now, we have an aphid problem. When they first appeared and killed our over-wintered-going-to-seed kale, we pulled it all and then purchased some ladybugs to eat up any remaining aphids in the bed. This was in the hope that they wouldn't attack the tomatoes, carrots and peppers that were in the same bed.
It seems to have worked. However, the question has become, "Did they really all get eaten, or did they leave and simply find another meal?" Not sure we'll ever know the answer to that one.
However, we have now learned that a distraction crop can be a failed cauliflower plant that grew slowly over last winter, was transplanted into a pot and placed in a random corner of the yard in the hope it might actually produce something. Well, it hasn't, but it is serving a purpose...
There are aphids literally covering the whole plant! Insane!
So far they haven't turned up anywhere else in the yard. Maybe they just really like brassicas! If that's the case, brassicas just might become my new best friend in the garden!
What do you do to keep your garden pest free?