sacrificial planting

the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away
~the Book of Jobs

this blogpost title sounds so, errr… dismal – perhaps? but i promise you, it’s not going to be at all!

have you ever heard of sacrifical planting?

i experimented this year with the whole idea, after hearing some horror stories from Farmer T about losing zucchini and yellow squash plants to these evil lil buggers – GRRRRRR!

a demolished crop will be growing along, looking all beautiful and healthy and the next day you come out to something that looks like this

maybe you were even able to get a few bits of produce picked before the attack took place. or maybe you even had one of these in one of the zucs you picked

and thought to yourself, what the heck is this?!

well – here’s what they look like up close – vine borers:

if your plants are not treated when the pretty white moths lay their larvae early in the growing season, you’ll have a whole crop of this waiting for you…. jusssssst when you think everything’s going well in the garden!

BUT – there is a workaround to all of this… hence the sacrificial planting method!!

i threw in a randomness of pumpkin seeds and winter squash seeds at the same time i got my zucchini and yellow squash going. word on the street is that the evil vine borers are attracted to the pumpkin and winter squash more so than the zucchini and yellow squash plants. so, what did i wake up to the other morning, after i was complaining about the amount of spaghetti squash i had growing and didn’t know what to do with?! decimated crops… all dying a slow death from these pests.

BUTthe bright side – it looks like my plan worked – they seem to have stayed away from the zucchini and yellow squash!!! EXACTLY what i was going for!! i mean, yes, it would have been super nice to have every plant i nurtured from seed to flourish, but sometimes you gotta lose some to win some, don’t ya?!

so i did some further digging around on the net to come up with more examples of sacrificial planting to use around your own garden:

plant marigolds around a garden to protect it from insect pests. they keep certain pests away, but also attract pests like slugs, and these pests feed on them rather than your other plants and vegetables. they also attract hoverflies and hoverfly larvae

dill also attracts hoverflies, but also has the added benefit of being a real treat for rabbits. if you want to protect your lettuce and other greens, plant a border of dill well away from them. if the plan goes right, the rabbit will eat the dill and leave your other plants alone. dill also, along with coriander, parsley and asters, attract insects that feed on other insects that damage garden plants

polyanthus and cyclamen will attract the vine weevil, which destroys the roots of grape vines and some ornamental shrubs like laurel and viburnum

collards greens attract the diamondback moth and protect cabbages from the pest

lupine planted in perennial beds are a love of the aphids. they like lupine so much that they’ll leave the other plants alone

nicotiana, basil and sunflowers, like lupines, also attract aphids. planting them around other plants you want to protect

the carrot root fly is attracted to the smell of the carrots, especially when they are young. planting onions by carrots gives off such a strong odor that they are deterred from the plants

tansy is planted to get rid of ants

nasturtiums are another great one for attracting aphids, idealy used by rose gardeners, protecting their precious gems

HAPPY GARDENING – i hope you didn’t suffer any losses this year, but if you did, you’ll know what to work into your garden for oober protection next year!

7 responses to this post.

  1. The bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis will kill the squash vine borer by excreting crystalline solids after being ingested by the grub. This bacteria can be found commercially under the name Thuricide, Dipel or Green Step. Very effective and easy to apply and best of all not a chemical. Use molasses in your spray to get an extra boost of bacteria goodness, they need something to eat while living on your plant.


  2. […] to lure the vine borers away from my zucchini and yellow squash plants and luckily some of the sacrificial plants actually made it!! i picked three of these goodies the other day – along with some other […]


  3. […] part of my sacrificial planting scheme for my garden this year, i ended up with some winter squash product that i wasn’t really […]


  4. […] subjects – and he passed on this bit of goodness the other day that reminded me of my ‘Sacrificial Planting‘ post from this past […]



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