What is companion planting?
Companion planting is all about plant combinations that protect from pests or help to improve pollination. As well as being a great pest control method, it can save a great deal of space, boost productivity in the garden and attract beneficial insects.
It also is an environmentally friendly way of gardening and repelling insects as it removes the need for chemical sprays.
Here we take a look at the best pairings for combination planting that you can use in the garden or vegetable patch.
Marigolds with vegetables
French marigolds are the ideal solution as they deter aphids and whitefly. Plant in the vegetable garden with peas, beans, potatoes and sweetcorn for a productive harvest, as well as an area full of glowing summer colours.
Poached Egg Plant (Limnanthes) with beans
This low growing annual is often seen in flower borders or rockeries but did you know it can be used as a beneficial neighbour to beans? Plant this around your runner bean teepees for ground cover and to avoid weed infestation. They will also attract pollinators to your plot too that will prey on other pests.
Onions with carrots
Believe it or not but the humble onion is the best thing to plant with carrots. The strongly scented bulb will repel the root fly and allows you to grow two tasty crops in one space.
Clover (Trifolium) with vegetables
Clover is a good companion plant as it fixes nitrogen in root nodules and acts as a living mulch for the plants around it. It cools the ground and enriches the soil, whilst acting as a haven for predatory spiders that would repel pests that regularly feast on crops.
It works particularly well with fruit and vegetable plants such as shallots, cabbage, kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts.
Nasturtiums with brassicas
These are the perfect pairing for brassica plants. Nasturtiums are incredibly easy to grow and will attract cabbage white butterflies away from nibbling your plants. They can also be planted with runner beans to deter aphids. What’s more, nasturtiums are a summer savoury, with their flowers and leaves ideal for adding to a tasty salad.
Borage with fruit
The ideal companion for tomato plants. It attracts pollinating insects that would devour pests that often attack tomatoes and strawberries. The herb is also said to even improve the flavour of fruits and is also a lovely addition to drinks or salads.
Garlic with roses
Planting garlic bulbs at the foot of roses makes them taste nasty to aphids, ants, snails and flea beetles. The beautiful globe flowers of the garlic also have an added benefit of attracting bees and butterflies. Garlic is also said to help with powdery mildew when sprayed on the plant as well as enhancing the rose’s fragrance.
Sweet pea with courgettes
The cottage favourite will encourage insects that would otherwise attack your courgette plants. Plant amongst them in your plot to provide a fuller crop later in the year. Sweet peas are quick to establish, will flower early lasting until the end of summer when they make beautiful cut flowers to take indoors.
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