A trap crop is a plant that attracts pests, usually insects, away from the fruit or vegetables which are growing nearby. Trap cropping is a type of companion planting and another form of organic or biological control.
Examples of trap crops
- Sweet alyssum is a good trap crop for the European tarnished plant bug that attacks strawberries.
- Nasturtiums trap aphids (blackfly, greenfly, whitefly) when planted between rows of cabbages.
- Chervil protects all vegetables from slugs when planted in amongst them.
- French Marigold protect vegetables from nematodes.
- Radish can be used as a sacrificial crop to attract flea beetle and root fly away from cabbages.
The trap crop is planted either:
- around the circumference of the fruit & vegetables to be protected
- or interspersed among the fruit & veg
Trap crop is generally destroyed before the pests’ lifecycle finishes so that it does not spread onto the main crop. When the trap crop is destroyed, the pest will go with it. If you do not want to destroy the trap crop, the pest can be vacuumed up using a mini-vac like the ones used to valet cars.
Trap crops are an interesting way to control bugs in the vegetable garden and a way of protecting the environment, because they do not kill the pests’ predators.