Ways to deter weeds and insects, any ideas?

I’m thinking of doing a no till bed veggie garden in Oklahoma with sandy/clay soil.
I’m going to be making a compost pile and doing everything organic…so if I cant use bug spray or weed killer how do I rid my garden of it’s unwanted guest?
sorry, I tend to question pretty much everything before embarking on a new quest lol.

When bugs first appear in the garden as plants are growing, we typically resort to some chemical to evict the pests. With some advance planning of your garden, you may be able to prevent them from showing up in the first place. The answer? Flowers!

Certain flowers give off a fragrance that repels bad bugs, while other flowers emit a fragrance that lures the good bugs.


Both marigolds and nasturtium can handle a slew of buggy challenges. They thwart bugs that can harm your tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries including tomato hornworms, squash bugs, and whiteflies.

The fragrance of marigolds (more like odor because it is not a pleasant smell) is so strong, that if you plant marigolds around the perimeter of your garden, the mature plants will help deter rabbits and squirrels.


Lavender is a wonderfully fragrant flower that can be cost prohibitive to show its true value. Lavender has the potential of keeping mice and ticks away, but you’d need a lot of the plants to create a lavender-fence so to speak. One of the best things about growing lavender is that you can use the highly fragrant buds to create sachet packets.

To attract ladybugs and lacewings, plant yarrow. Golden Marguerite (think yellow daisy) also brings in ladybugs and lacewings.

What are the best soil materials for raised beds?

I am building contained raised beds for vegetables on top of my existing vegetable garden. The existing garden has clayish soil that I amended with 2" of manure last year. I would like to add about 4" of material on top of this and do and turn it into the existing soil. I have municipal compost, composted manure, peat compost (not peat moss), and screened topsoil available to purchase in my area. What would be the best mix for the raised beds?

Also, what is the general rule of thumb for converting pounds of topsoil to cubic feet. Is it 40 lbs equals roughly 1 cu. ft.?

In case anyone is wondering, I’m building the raised beds for better spring soil warming, better drainage, to focus organic fertilizer applications where needed and to create a no-till soil structure.

I have had so much success with French gardening (raised bed). So many advantages:

>head start on growing season; heightened bed gets a week or two added to frost free season.
>ease in cultivating and weeding; less bending required
>better DRAINAGE, by virtue of the design
>aesthetically pleasing
> ready structure to attach standards, stakes and netting etc

I always used well aged cattle manure, wheel barrels full of wood ash, a few handfuls of dolomite lime (magic stuff) and clean sand (when I could get it). some friends swear by worm castings and vermiculite etc, but you want to minimize the cost all that you can.

Keep the beds lofty light and never compact the soil. Another soil amendment that I used lots was well aged kitty litter with kitties dropping of course. Coffee grounds should make it to the compost pile. So the bottom line here is to have good drainage and to incorporate inexpensive materials.

I obtained these figures from online and something interesting can be noted by comparing your 40 pounds to the higher numbers below.

The healthiest most friable soil for raising vegetables is one that has good drainage. Most plants desire this. Friable soil WOULD be far less dense than unusable soils.

So, the 40 pounds per cubic foot sounds ideal.

Earth, loam, dry, excavated – 78 pounds/cubic foot
Earth, moist, excavated – 90 pounds/cubic foot
Earth, wet, excavated – 100 pounds/cubic foot
Earth, dense – 125 pounds/cubic foot
Earth, soft loose mud – 108 pounds/cubic foot
Earth, packed – 95 pounds/cubic foot

These figures are likely for construction purposes and have no bearing on vegetable gardening. However, one can see that soil can become quite heavy, compacted and basically useless to grow most vegetables in.

Video on Using Organic Matter To Construct A No Till Garden

No till gardening using organic methods video presented at HerbFest, 2008 by Dr. Milton Ganyard.

Duration : 0:9:41

Continue reading Video on Using Organic Matter To Construct A No Till Garden

How do I turn my garden into a "no-till" garden?

Will this work, or is there something more I need to know… I have an empty garden (but a bit of last year’s debris is still in it) and it hasn’t been tilled. I want to put newspaper down, wet it, and put straw on top. Then dig holes to plant transplants.

Also, what if I want to be direct sowing early growers like peas, onion, lettuce, etc… do I do that before I put the newspaper / straw down – and wait for them to emerge or just dig a bunch of little holes for them to grow through?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Your method will work well for transplanting. For the peas, etc., plant them first, and mulch when they’re a couple of inches tall. It’s asking too much of newly emerged plants to grow through holes in the mulch, and some of them won’t germinate, anyway.