Catnip used as Pest Repellent
Here's one I started this past Spring. I planted catnip in my squash & pumpkin rows/hills to see if it really does work to repel certain pests (SVB, Squash Bugs, Cuke Beetles, etc.).
Results so far:
Little damage from all 3 pests listed above. A few squash plants (zukes) were killed by SVBs but these plants were on the edge of the test plots. Squash Bugs & Cuke Beetles were around but not nearly as concentrated as last few years (just luck?).
My daily chore would be to crush some of the leaves on the catnip plants to make the pungent aroma ever more present in the plots. Also, I would pick some catnip and "rub" the crushed leaves on some of the exposed root/stems to make those areas even more "pungent".
No damage found on Pumpkin plants so far, but it is nearly impossible to get in there to see nowadaze, a real jungle out there.
Problems: In the beginning the catnip actually attracted Flea Beetles to the squash & pumpkin leaves causing quite a bit of noticable damage. This was very evident on the leaves nearest the catnip where the flea beetles would be concentrated. I have read on several "companion plant" sites where catnip repels flea beetles but this is not the case in my garden, no way!
Extra Bonus: Recently the catnip went into a full blooming period. The assorted bees (Bumble, Carpenter, various wasps, etc.) that were attacted to the pollen were also helpful in pollenating my pumpkins & squash too.
Future outlook: My squash plants are about exhausted now anyway and my pumpkin vines have extended well beyond any catnip effects (except for the original root/stem area). So this probably ends the experiment for this year. Once the pumpkins die back I'll examine and compare and pest damage (esp SVB) for it's proximate location along the vines.