MosquitoMy wife Sara and I constantly strive to use products that are not harmful to us, the kids or the environment. One area that I really have had a hard time honing in on a good product is in the bug-repellent category. There are a ton of “all-natural” sprays out there. Some of these do work a bit and some seem to actually attract more! Compare these naturals to sprays that contain DEET and it is a night-and-day difference. DEET alone is the best thing out there, that is, if you want to keep the skeeters away while melting your $200 rain gear or DG sunglasses. It is here that I did a little research into plants that might help keep the little pests away from the yard rather than having to put a spray on the skin. There are not an overabundance of plants so this list is pretty consistent with what you will see if you were to go online and check.

Lavender – I have had luck hardiness-wise with the Munsted Variety more-so than the Cynthia Johnson variety Bachmans sells. If you can get it to survive in your yard you have a good thing going!

Basil – It is always fun to intersperse herbs in the garden if you have good soil and consistent moisture. Purple basil is an added bonus to any garden.

Marigolds – Naturally producing pyrethrum, this bright-colored annual is drought-resistant and easy to take care of. The anti-mosquito chemical is one that you will find (synthetically derived) in many sprays.

Catnip – I would look for the form of catnip called Nepeta cateria, but verities that are in the nemosa family are worth trying as I know their fragrance is very pungent. It will undoubtedly be in my trial garden this summer.

Rosemary – This beauty will not survive our winters, but having it as a guest over the summer would be a welcome both visually and culinary-wise.

Geranium – Pick up a dozen Biokova Geranium and place them around the border by where you sit. Their fresh lemony aroma will delight. Hopefully the reverse holds true to our state bird.

Ageratum – One of my favorite annuals. This would be a nice mid-level plant in a planting arrangement (pot). The mellow almost-blue color has a very cooling effect and would compliment the above mentioned oranges of the marigold. Coumarin is the chemical of note here as it is a natural beg-deterrent.