Thursday, 1 May 2014

Companion Planting.

Asparagus: Friends: Aster family flowers, dill ,coriander, carrots, tomatoes, parsley, basil, comfrey and marigolds. Avoid: Onions, garlic and potatoes.
Basil:Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavour. Basil also does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. It is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. Do not plant near rue or sage.
Beet: Good for adding minerals to the soil. The leaves are composed of 25% magnesium making them a valuable addition to the compost pile if you don't care to eat them. Beets are also beneficial to beans with the exception of runner beans. Runner or pole beans and beets stunt each other's growth. Companions for beets are lettuce, onions and brassicas. Beets and kohlrabi grow perfectly together. Beets are helped by garlic and mints. Garlic improves growth and flavour. Rather than planting invasive mints around beets use your mint clippings as a mulch. 
Borage: Companion plant for tomatoes, squash, strawberries and most plants. Deters tomato hornworms and cabbage worms. One of the best bee and wasp attracting plants. Adds trace minerals to the soil and a good addition the compost pile. The leaves contain vitamin C and are rich in calcium, potassium and mineral salts. Borage may benefit any plant it is growing next to via increasing resistance to pests and disease. It also makes a nice mulch for most plants. Borage and strawberries help each other and strawberry farmers always set a few plants in their beds to enhance the fruits flavour and yield. Plant near tomatoes to improve growth and disease resistance. After you have planned this annual once it will self seed. Borage flowers are edible.
Comfrey: This is one amazing plant. Accumulates calcium, phosphorous and potassium. Likes wet spots to grow in. Comfrey is beneficial to avocado and most other fruit trees. Traditional medicinal plant. Good trap crop for slugs. Excellent compost activator, foliage spray, nutrient miner. Comfrey is truly essential to all gardens. More on comfrey.
Caraway: Good for loosening compacted soil with it's deep roots so it's also compatible next to shallow rooted crops. Plant it with strawberries. Caraway can be tricky to establish. The flowers attract a number of beneficial insects especially the tiny parasitic wasps. Keep it away from dill and fennel.
Celery: Companions: Bean, cabbage family, leek, onion, spinach and tomato. Flowers for celery: cosmos, daisies and snapdragons. Foes: Corn, Irish potato and aster flowers. Carrots can be infected with aster yellow disease from asters.
Chamomile, german: Annual. Improves flavour of cabbages, cucumbers and onions. Host to hover flies and wasps. Accumulates calcium, potassium and sulphur, later returning them to the soil. Increases oil production from herbs. Leave some flowers unpicked and   German chamomile will reseed itself. Roman chamomile is a low growing perennial that will tolerate almost any soil conditions. Both like full sun. Growing chamomile of any type is considered a tonic for anything you grow in the garden.
Chards: Companions: Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses. Don't overlook chard's value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it. Don't grow chard near cucurbits, melons, corn or herbs.
Chervil: Companion to radishes, lettuce and broccoli for improved growth and flavour. Keeps aphids off lettuce. Said to deter slugs. Likes shade.
Chives: Improves growth and flavour of carrots and tomatoes. A friend to apples, carrots, tomatoes, brassica (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, etc) and many others. Help to keep aphids away from tomatoes, mums and sunflowers. Chives may drive away Japanese beetles and carrot rust fly. Planted among apple trees it helps prevent scab and among roses it prevents black spot. You will need patience as it takes about 3 years for plantings of chives to prevent the 2 diseases. A tea of chives may be used on cucumbers and gooseberries to prevent downy  and powdery mildews. Avoid planting near beans and peas. See chive tea on disease page.
Coriander (Cilantro, Chinese Parsley etc.): The leaves of this plant are Cilantro. When left to flower and go to seed the dried tan seeds are Coriander, a familiar spice. It is a member of the carrot family. Repels harmful insects such as aphids, spider mites and potato beetle. A tea from this can be used as a spray for spider mites. Partners coriander are for anise, caraway, potatoes and dill.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers are great to plant with corn and beans. The three plants like the same conditions: warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture. Let the cucumbers grow up and over your corn plants. Cucumbers also do well with peas, beets, radishes and carrots. Radishes are a good deterrent against cucumber beetles. Dill planted with cucumbers helps by attracting beneficial predators. Nasturtium improves growth and flavour. Keep sage, potatoes and rue away from cucumbers. It is said that cucumbers don't do well planted next to tomatoes. We have never had a problem with planting them next to each other.
Dill: Improves growth and health of cabbage. Do not plant near carrots, caraway, lavender or tomatoes. Best friend for lettuce. The flower heads of dill are one of the best nectar sources for beneficial insects in the garden attracting hover flies, predatory wasps and many more. Repels aphids and spider mites to some degree. Also may repel the dreaded squash bug! (scatter some good size dill leaves on plants that are subject to squash bugs, like squash plants.) Dill goes well with lettuce, onions, cabbage, sweet corn and cucumbers. Dill does attract the tomato horn worm so it would be wise to plant it somewhere away from your tomato plants. Do plant dill in an appropriate spot for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars to feed on. Even their caterpillars are beautiful.
Squash: Companions: Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavour. Marigolds deters beetle. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may repel the squash bug that will kill your squash vines. Generously scatter the dill leaves on your squash plants. Keep squash away from potatoes.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are not the same as regular potatoes. They are a member of the morning glory family. "Regular" potatoes are a member of the Solanaceae family which is the same as tomatoes, peppers etc. Aromatic herbs such as dill, thyme, oregano etc. are some of the plants that work well with them. Summer savoury helps to confuse and perhaps repel the  Sweet potato weevil. They do well with root crops: beets, parsnips and salsify. Bush beans and regular potatoes are companions to them also. Alyssum makes a perfect living mulch for them. A few, only a few, pole beans may be planted with them and left to grow on the ground with the potato vines. Keep them away from squash. The problem with sweet potatoes and squash is they will compete with each other as they both like to spread out. In fact that is the general problem with sweet potatoes- they take up so much room and need full sun. Another idea is to grow them in a container. For your reference: you could grow a single sweet potato plant in a box or tub that is at least 12" high and 15" wide. Use a light, porous soil mix. Place a stake or trellis in the centre to support the vine which grow up and outwards.
Strawberry: Friends are beans, borage, lettuce, onions, spinach and thyme. Foes: Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kohlrabi. Allies: Borage strengthens resistance to insects and disease. Thyme, as a border, deters worms.

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