Companion planting involves grouping plants together so that they can help each other to grow better. Growing certain plants together will also help deter insect pests ruining your carefully tended plants before you get the chance to enjoy them!
Companion planting also works in a physical way. Spatial interaction of plants occurs in most gardens naturally. For example, tall-growing, sun-loving plants may share space with lower-growing, shade-tolerant species, resulting in high usage of the land.
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COMMON COMPANION PLANTS:
- Nasturtium attracts caterpillars, aphids and whitefly, so planting it alongside or around vegetables such as lettuces, cabbages, beans and tomatoes will protect them. The adults will lay the eggs on the nasturtium leaves instead. The nasturtium can be pulled while the eggs are at a junior stage to rid the garden of this cycle.
- Plant marigolds close to crops that suffer from aphids and greenfly. Marigolds emit a scent that repels aphids and attracts hoverflies, which are a predator of aphids.
- Foxgloves have a growth-stimulating effect on all the plants near it. It is also said to protect the garden from disease and strengthen tender plants.
- Certain flowers are grown near edible crops in order to attract insects for pollination. Capsicums and eggplants, which have smaller flowers, benefit from having flowers nearby to ensure they get pollinated. Bee friendly plants include: calendula, marigolds, sunflowers, poppies, clover, nasturtiums, Queen Anne’s Lace, echinacea, borage and purple tansy.
- Borage is a great companion for your strawberries.
Plant flowers in Tui Flower Mix, high quality planting mix containing potassium to enhance flower production and Acadian seaweed to promote strong root development, prevent root disorders and encourage plant vigour. Feed with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser – a slow release fertiliser providing a sustained release of easy-to-absorb nitrogen, to keep your flowers blooming.
- Sage is a great herb to plant around celery crops, as it helps to keep aphids away.
- Hyssop deters white cabbage butterfly from brassicas such as broccoli, cabbages and Brussels sprouts.
- Basil improves the flavour of tomatoes when planted alongside. Basil can also be planted alongside capsicums.
- Plant dill and rosemary next to broccoli.
- Grow carrots and leeks together. Both have strong scents that drive away each other’s pests.
- Garlic planted among roses will help deter aphids.
- Asparagus, basil, carrots, celery and parsley are ideal companion plants for tomatoes to help each other grow. Tomatoes are also compatible with chives and onion.
- Sweetcorn does well planted with potatoes, peas, beans and squash.
Plant vegetables in Tui Vegetable Mix, a high quality natural-based planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your veges with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season. Fertilise every four weeks during key growth periods with Tui Vegetable Food, a rich formulation of fertilisers including dolomite, blood and bone and sheep manure dust designed to encourage healthy vegetable growth.
Use plants to encourage good bugs which in turn eat the bad bugs. Plant a mixture of flowers and herbs among vegetables and fruit trees to encourage a healthy diversity of insects to move into the garden.
- Make sure companions are planted at the same time as your edible crops in order to prevent insects from taking over the vegetable patch.
Excerpts taken with permission from The Tui NZ Vegetable Garden by Sally Cameron and The Tui NZ Vegetable Garden 3rd Ed. by Rachel Vogan.
Published by Penguin Books. Copyright © Penguin Books 2009 & 2012