Instead of leaving your veggies all alone to fend for themselves!
Why not take advantage of that extra space and find the perfect match for your favourite vegetable crop.
No matter what size your vegetable plot the chances are, like most other gardeners, at some stage you will be short of room for an extra row of onions, some extra salad leaves or a few extra squash plants.
Whilst giving away surplus vegetable plants may seem the charitable thing to do, what if I told you that by squeezing in a few extra rows of dwarf beans or some celery! Not only are you increasing productivity but your actual marrying two plants that work well together.
Called companion planting because believe it or not these two or often three plants can help support, feed and generally thrive in a form of symbiotic harmony.
The following plants all have a relationship with each other that works to a mutual benefit, but beware follow my suggestions to the letter or you may end up with a combination that does the exact opposite of what you’re hoping for! Yes get this wrong at your peril as combining the wrong plants will actually inhibit growth band encourage pests to feed on your precious crops.
The most widely known companion planting is lovingly referred to as the “Three Sisters method” and famously combines planting of sweetcorn, climbing beans and squash in the same vegetable bed. Ideally planting the corn in a grid system in the centre, following about week later with a sowing of dwarf climbing beans around the base of the corn. This type lapse will give the corn enough time to get established before the tendrils of the climbing bean will be looking to the sweetcorn for support.
Two week later plant out you squash plant around the outside of your vegetable patch leaving just enough room not to disturb the roots of the developing beans. Planting these three sisters together has a three-fold advantage, firstly the sweetcorn provides support for the climbing beans, secondly the beans release nitrogen from their root fixing nodules, providing welcomed nutrients to both the developing sweetcorn and the newly planted squash. Finally the shade created from the corn, provides shelter for the beans and protection for the squash creating a mini ecosystem.
To perfect this technique timing is important, rushing to plant you vegetables can cause havoc with the harmony you are looking to create. Planting to late will mess up the harvesting times, so with a little thought and some planning you can maximise even a small space to get high yields from your crops.
Companion planting vegetables that work together:
Asparagus, Tomatoes, Parsley and Basil – help keep pest at bay and encourage beneficial insects.
Carrots, Onions, Shallots and leeks – the Allium deter the carrot fly and other pests.
Sweetcorn, Climbing beans and Squash – Corn provides support, beans provide nutrients, squash enjoys the shade.
Lettuce enjoy the company of Radish, Beans and Carrots – helping keep slugs and snails at bay.
Potatoes and Horseradish – Horseradish helps with disease resistance in Potatoes.
Beetroot and Carrots – Do not compete for nutrients.
Aubergine likes beans and Spinach
Leeks planted with Beets, Carrots, Celeriac, Celery and Onions
Peas can be associated with Carrots, Cucumbers, Corn, Turnips, Radishes, Beans, Potatoes and Aromatic Herbs
Radish like Beans, Beets, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Squash and Spinach
There are of course a few plants to avoid adding as companions to vegetables for example Fennel is best alone, Garlic inhibits the growth of legumes.
Liquid feeds and sprays made from nettles and comfrey acts as a natural pesticide and is a quick fix of nitrogen and trace minerals for most plants.
Borage is a Companion plant for lot’s of plants especially tomatoes, squash and strawberries. Borage is of the best insect attracting plants available. It also adds trace nutrients to the soil and makes a good leafy addition the compost heap.
The leaves are also high in calcium, potassium and mineral salts and contain Vitamin C. Borage can help fight away pests and disease by making them more resistant. Borage and strawberries help each other and strawberry farms often plant it near by to increase yield and improve the flavours of the fruits.
Stephen raised on a farm in Mid Wales, trained in horticulture under apprenticeship with the National Trust and has worked in several prestigious locations around the world. Today as Head gardener for a large private estate on the outskirts of London, a keen plants-man, horticulturist and nature lover.
Managing large formal gardens, growing a huge range of fruit, vegetables and homemade produce for the estate residents. Stephen with assistance from a team of professional garden and farm staff, cares for livestock, including cattle, sheep, poultry and horses, completes property maintenance and grounds management.
Stephen believes knowledge is to be shared and thanks to some amazing mentors in his career path hopes to be able to share this knowledge with others like you and your friends all he asks in return is that you find the time to leave a brief comment and share socially with your friends.