Attract an airborne defense squad
One of the best ways to short-circuit an onslaught of pests is to attract an airborne cavalry charge of beneficial insects. Many beneficials—including the small wasps that prey on pest caterpillars—will gratefully take advantage of the flat-topped floral landing platforms offered by members of the umbel family, which includes dill, Queen-Anne’s-lace, parsley, and carrots. (You have to allow the parsley and carrot plants to overwinter and grow into their second year to get those umbrella-shaped flowers that beneficials find so attractive.) Other plants beloved by beneficials include sweet alyssum, all kinds of mints, and chamomile.
Photo: (cc) Dean Morley/Flickr