I have done some research in the last week regarding the old wives tale quote in last week’s post;
Always grow some herbs outside the herb garden.
Having no idea why, I did some reading and discovered the reason: many herbs attract beneficial insects or repel harmful insects to the vegetable garden.
Additionally, some plants get along well together whilst other plants don’t. So to encourage the best growth etc, it is advisable to plant crops that like each other, near each other.
This I find wonderfully exciting. It opens up the idea that the vegetable garden can be an ornamental as well as functional place. For example, the planting of rosemary, pot marigolds, thyme or oregano around certain vegetables, not only benefits their growth, but will look absolutely lovely as well. Bonus!
After reading through tables and tables and many different lists of the different herbs that plant well with vegetables, I put together the following list. This is based on what I will have in my vegetable garden, (more on my 2012 planting scheme next week) what I would be able to use in the kitchen, and what I think will look nice.
My Herbal Companion Planting List for 2012
- Pot Marigolds. These seem to benefit many vegetables by naturally secreting an insect repellant. They also produce a root secretion that destroys root-eating nematodes and attract Hoverflies whose larvae feed on Aphids. Definitely my number 1 companion plant.
- Sage. Grow with carrots or plants in the cabbage family to deter pests. Both have strong scents that drive away each other’s pests.
- Parsley. Attracts bees and protects beans and carrots.
- Mint. The strong smell confuse pests of carrots, tomatoes, alliums and brassicas, and deter flea beetles. But it is recommended you grow it in a pot, or it could smother your crop.
- And finally, Yarrow – encourages growth in plants and stores phosphorous, calcium and silica, which can benefit homemade compost when plants are added to the heap. It attracts many beneficial insects such as hoverflies and ladybirds.
So it is off to the garden centre to buy some herb seeds or seedlings. Also, I already have rosemary and thyme in my borders. I will try taking some cuttings and seeing if I can get them to ‘take’ as the experts say. I will let you know how I get on!
Link to some great books on companion planting.