Search The Rusted Garden Blog: Just Enter A Vegetable or Phrase

Monday, April 11, 2011

Alyssum AKA Carpet of Snow: Plant it With Your Vegetables...

I had white-flies last year. My garden also gets infested with aphids. I am cutting down on nondiscriminatory insecticides. I will probably use Sevin Dust around the base of Zukes and Squashes. No massive dusting.

So how do you kill aphids and creepy larva etc... predatory insects. The scent of alyssum attracts Hover Flies and Parasitic Wasps. Those insects are good and feed on the aphids. They may not do anything to white-fly larva but I bet any soft bodied insect is a treat for them.

I planted alyssum around my kales and cabbages and tucked plants throughout my garden beds. I will also be enhancing my wild flower bed closest to my raised beds. I am compiling a list of flowers that attract good insects. You'll notice the clip below also mentions cilantro.

 http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/1998/May98/alyssum.htm
Above is one of many articles about predatory insects.

Here is a clip:

The researchers observed an increase of beneficial predators of aphids, in a commercial broccoli field interplanted with alyssum to attract aphid predators, hover flies and parasitic wasps. Green peach aphids and cabbage aphids inflict millions of dollars of damage on broccoli crops in the northwest. 


By researching biological control of broccoli pests, the OSU scientists hope that someday growers may be able to save money and reduce the impacts on human health and the environment by reducing the use of chemical pesticides. 

"Many broccoli growers spray chemical insecticides to combat these aphids," explained Micaela Colley, a recent M.S. graduate of the OSU Department of Horticulture. "Natural predators may prevent a pest outbreak above the economic threshold, or reduce them so a 'softer' insecticide regime may be effective." 

Colley, working with John Luna, assistant professor of horticulture at OSU, conducted her experiments on Stahlbush Island Farm near Corvallis in 1997. She compared the relative number of hover fly predators on pure broccoli stands to those interplanted with patches of alyssum or cilantro, known attractants of hover flies. She also looked at aphid populations in stands of broccoli only compared with interplanted broccoli. 

Hover fly adults are known to feed on the pollen of cilantro and alyssum and other flowers. Many species of hover fly larvae feed on aphids. Scientific evidence that the planting of flowers attracts hover fly adults exists for other regions including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and California, said Colley.

If You Use Amazon, Please Support The Rusted Garden via My Amazon Affilate