Just like people, plants thrive when in the right company.
Camaraderie in the garden is something one might not necessarily think of, however the benefits of putting plants together in the right relationship is quite notable and interesting.
In companion gardening, varieties of herbs, vegetables and flowers work together in partnership to nurture and protect one another. In companion planting, relationships thrive and flavours flourish and overall plant health improves.
But does this really work and, if so, how?
Some combinations work because their natural scents repel insects while other plants attract the good bugs to plants.
Companion planting is an ideal way to naturally deter pests and disease.
Take a look at the well-loved herb basil. When planted among tomato plants, it reduces the attack of flies, aphids, mites and mosquitoes.
Likewise, celery planted amongst cauliflower, tomato, leek and cabbage plants repels white flies. Coriander works quickly to chase away aphids from vegetables. Cabbage plants love being planted near sage. This herb naturally repels moths and flies.
If your rose bushes are prone to black spot, try planting tomatoes close by.
Yarrow, a well-known hardy northern perennial, has a multitude of good qualities. Besides having a natural insect-repelling ability, yarrow is also an excellent source of fertilizer. Adding yarrow to compost will speed up decomposition. It is also known to increase the essential oil content of herbs.
Certain plant alliances work harmoniously to produce better yields. Dill strengthens its stamina when planted around cabbage while also supporting the kinship of lettuce, onions and cucumbers.
Leek thrives when planted near carrots, celery and onions while getting rid of common carrot flies.
Mint, when planted in the garden, will deter white moths, rodents and aphids while naturally improving the vigour of vegetable plants. It thrives when planted near cabbage and tomato plants.
Chives chase away insects from fruit and tomato plants while also increasing the gusto of carrots. Chervil will keep aphids from lettuce and loves being planted beside the radish.
Summer savory guilds the girth of green beans and onions while improving their flavour and dispelling creepy crawlers.
If neighbouring cats are a problem in your garden, try planting common rue (ruta). Rose and raspberry plants also benefit from their companionship.
Garlic is a bonus wherever it is planted. It naturally dispels most insects including aphids and spider mites.
Flowers also work to naturally repel certain pests and disease from entering into the garden. Scented marigolds add natural growth inhibitors to tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, beans and roses, while also repelling many common insects.
Nasturtium flowers help cucumber and squash fight away harmful aphids.
This summer, look at ways to combine natural companion plantings in your garden. Creating a garden that uses natural plant kinship can have an interesting and profound effect upon your garden.
By working with the right combination of herbs, vegetables and flowers you can offer natural cures for common garden ailments and reduce the need for harmful chemicals.