I have had a lovely weekend planning the layout of my patio garden. My excitement is truly next level. Keeping all things organic and realising that the more scrumptious my veggies are going to be, the more attractive they are going to be to all sorts of beneficial and non-beneficial bugs. Without having to revert to environmentally unfriendly pesticides, I will rather focus on companion planting.
There are so many benefits of companion planting, specifically to increase the odds of higher yields and minimise the risks associated with natural challenges ie. weather, pests and/or disease.
Firstly, companion planting offers a more delicate shelter for plants when growing beside another plant which in itself has a natural strength against harsher weather conditions. In my opinion companion planting offers excellent organic pest management. Certain plants repel unwanted pests and others lure pests away from the garden. Clearly, the most important benefit of companion planting is the ability to increase the population of beneficial insects (pollinators) to manage harmful pests.
As I already have Basil on my list of herbs to plant, I will be adding these to my pot. The vibrant aroma of Basil will assist in repelling flies and hornworms and may also improve my Tomato yield. I have never thought of Borage before, but I will definitely add this to my list. This beautiful flowering herb has blue star-shaped blossoms which is a big favourite of pollinators and also repels tomato hornworms. It will assist in improving both growth and flavour of the tomatoes, whilst protecting them.
Honey Nut Butternut and Sweet Purple Asparagus are on my list and are both fantastic companion plants. The tomato plant will repel the asparagus beetle and the asparagus in kind will return the favour and assist in clearing root-knot nematodes, which are highly attracted to tomatoes.
One should never forget Marigolds and Nasturtium! These will definitely assist in banishing root-knot nematodes and other parasites that feed off the tomato’s root system. Nasturtium is well known as a pest repellent because of its peppery and bitter fragrance. Take care though, the Nasturtium spreads quickly and can overtake other plants if not maintained. And again, the old faithful Marigold! Catnip will reduce squash bugs and is a big yes for my Honey Nut Butternut.
Sugar Snap Peas, Radish, Spinach and Lettuce are also great companions and my Carrots will share their plot with some bunching Spring Onions. The aroma of the onion will deter and repel carrot root fly and the Sugar Snap Peas will add plenty of nitrogen goodness for the butternut.
I have always loved baby corn, and have added the Chires Baby Corn to my collection and guess what? These are perfect companions for squash!
About the Author
Michele Fourie is the Seeds for Africa General Manager. Michele loves growing beautiful flowers, chilli plants and is passionate about exceptional customer. service. Michele is also a fundi in the kitchen. Check out her blog post on making your own sweet pickled piquant cherry peppers at this link.