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Gardener shares 'scientifically proven' tip to combat common garden foe: 'It works beautifully'

"Bonus: They're beautiful."

"Bonus: They’re beautiful."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Much like the nematodes in "Spongebob" ate his entire pineapple house, parasitic root-knot nematodes in your garden can devour your plants and damage their roots. 

Needless to say, they're not something you want around your plants, but they're a fairly common pest in hot climates.

Thankfully, TikToker TheZenHenandTheHoneyBee (@thezenhenandthehoneybee) shared how to prevent and kill these harmful worms without pesticides. 

@thezenhenandthehoneybee #organicgardening #gardeningtips #sustainability #growyourownfood ♬ original sound - TheZenHenandTheHoneyBee

The scoop

While most of the thousands of nematode species are harmless, some, like the root-knot nematode, can wreak havoc on plants, per Good Housekeeping. They puncture plants' cell walls and feed on their root cells, injuring root systems and causing huge knots to form, hence the worm's name.

In the video, the creator shows an overgrown turnip in her garden that was infected by the nematodes, creating unsightly knots on its roots. 

"But the solution is easy. All you need to do is plant marigolds in your garden beds," she says. "It's true — they have been scientifically proven to kill and stop the life cycle of nematodes."

She explains that French marigolds work particularly well to ward off nuisance nematodes. Planting a few in each bed should be enough to keep nematodes away.

"At the end of the season, pull those spent seed heads, spread them new places in your garden, and mulch and compost down those leaves and roots into your soil. It works beautifully," the gardener says as she shows viewers the beautiful red-orange French marigolds in her planters.

How it's helping

Since root-knot nematodes can damage and even kill your plants, getting rid of them will safeguard your garden and your wallet, as you won't have to spend money replacing plants. 

The garden hack also avoids using harmful pesticides or insecticides to eradicate the nematodes, ensuring the health of your soil and other plants. 

According to The American Phytopathological Society, some chemical controls used to eliminate nematodes can harm human nervous systems, making them a hazardous option compared to planting marigolds.

Planting flowers or growing your own food can also dramatically improve your physical and mental well-being by helping you stay active and connected to nature.

If you decide to grow turnips or other foods, you'll also reduce the pollution created by the production and transportation of mass-produced, globally shipped fruits and vegetables.

What everyone's saying

Commenters loved the sustainable hack, and some even had other suggestions for keeping the destructive worms at bay.

Someone shared, "That's awesome! You can grow wine cap mushrooms as well; the mushrooms eat the nematodes!"

"Great use of integrated pest management (IPM)," another praised the helpful hack.

"Bonus: they're beautiful, wide range of colors, and I love the smell of marigolds," another commented.

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