Creating a thriving and pest-resistant garden is every gardener’s dream. But did you know that certain plants can work together to achieve just that? Companion planting is a tried-and-true gardening technique that maximizes the benefits of neighboring plants. At our Corfe Mullen nursey, we use companion planting in the garden. The children at Tops have an interest in Gardening, they enjoy planting their vegetables and watching them grow.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of companion planting.
Potatoes with Mint: A Dynamic Pest-Fighting Duo
Mint is not only a delightful addition to your herb garden, but it also serves as a powerful pest deterrent for potatoes. By planting mint alongside your potatoes, you can naturally repel pests such as whiteflies, ants, mice, and flea beetles. Additionally, mint acts as a magnet for beneficial pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hoverflies, which further supports a healthy garden ecosystem.
Tomato with Parsley: Ward Off Aphids the Natural Way
Parsley is more than just a flavorful herb. When planted near tomatoes, it attracts hoverflies, which are natural predators of aphids. By luring hoverflies to your tomato plants, you can effectively control aphid populations and protect your precious tomatoes from harm.
Nasturtium: Nature’s Pest Repellent and Pollinator Magnet
Nasturtium is a versatile companion plant that can be paired with various crops, including brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale), cucurbits (courgette, cucumber, squash, pumpkin), legumes (French and runner beans), and nightshades (peppers, tomatoes). Nasturtiums serve multiple purposes in the garden: they deter cabbage worms and lure aphids and flea beetles away from your food crops, all while attracting vital pollinators. Additionally, these vibrant flowers form a beneficial ground cover, helping retain soil moisture and promoting overall garden health.
Calendula officinalis: Natural Pest Control and Beneficial Insect Magnet
Calendula officinalis, commonly known as marigold, is an exceptional companion plant for various vegetables, including tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peas, French and runner beans. Its bright blooms not only lure aphids away from your crops but also attract beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings, and hoverflies, which actively prey on aphids. Moreover, calendula repels tomato worms, making it an invaluable addition to any tomato garden.
Carrots: Thriving Alongside Complementary Plants
Carrots thrive when planted alongside specific companion plants. They can be paired with tomatoes, which provide shade to help carrots stay cool, and tomatoes also produce solanine, a chemical that repels carrot flies. Onions, leeks, and chives emit scents that deter carrot flies, while enhancing the flavor of carrots. Carrots also enjoy the company of beans, brassicas, lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes, rosemary, and sage. However, avoid planting dill, celery, potatoes, and parsnips in close proximity to carrots. In our first raised planter, we’ve successfully paired carrots with red onions and brassicas.
The Power of Pond Planting: Rhubarb, Lemon Balm, Mint, Strawberry, Sage, Thyme, and Sunflowers
If you have a pond in your garden, take advantage of its natural beauty and utilize it for companion planting. Planting baskets within the pond can accommodate a variety of beneficial plants, including rhubarb, lemon balm, mint, strawberries, sage, thyme, and sunflowers. These plants not only create an aesthetically pleasing environment but also attract beneficial insects and pollinators, contributing to the overall health of your garden.
Incorporating companion planting techniques into your garden can significantly enhance its health and productivity while reducing the need for harmful pesticides. By strategically pairing compatible plants, you can create a harmonious and thriving ecosystem where plants work together for mutual benefit. Implement these companion planting tips, and watch your garden flourish with vitality and abundance.
At the nursery, we introduce the children to companion planting. We teach the children how different plants can work together to help each other grow better, keep pests away, and make the garden healthier overall.
Our teachers are there to guide the children throughout the process, encouraging them to explore different combinations of companion plants. The children also gain an understanding of how companion planting is a sustainable gardening practice.
The National College visited Tops Corfe Mullen and Tops Wimborne to video their fantastic garden and all the vegetables they are growing! All the pictures in this blogpost are some of the lovely photos we captured.
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