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Companion planting: plants that help each other in the garden

Despite being an age-old tradition, you may not be familiar with the concept of companion planting.

Companion planting is a technique which involves planting two or more plants close to each other so they can provide mutual benefits. Some of these include:

• It saves space which is perfect for those with a small garden
• It promotes vigorous growth
• It keeps the soil moist and helps prevent erosion
• You can enjoy a higher yield
• It keeps weeds at bay
• It can decrease pest issues. When planted among cabbage for example, wormwood can deter cabbage moths. Some plants also attract predators of common pests which again, will help to keep them away
• Adding different species of plants can help break up your garden which will slow down the spread of disease if this were to occur
• It can attract pollinators and other beneficial insects

Plants that grow well together

If you’ve decided to give companion planting a go, it’s important to know which plants work well together depending on the benefits you’re looking for.

Attracting beneficial insects

Insects can be beneficial to your garden in a number of ways. They can help keep pests away without the need for chemicals, they pollinate plants and they maintain the health of your garden. Follow this link for more information: https://www.organiclesson.com/beneficial-insects-garden-pest-control/

Companion plants which attract beneficial insects include:

• Low-growing plants which provide cover for plant beetles such as thyme, rosemary and mint
• It promotes vigorous growth
• Composite flowers such as daisy and chamomile and mint will attract wasps, hoverflies and robber flies
• When planted together, nasturtium and cucumber bring pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden to improve biodiversity
• Melons and squash need pollinators to produce so plant them next to flowering herbs such as dill, fennel and parsley bay

Keeping pests away

Pests can easily ruin any gardener’s hard work so it’s natural that you’re going to want to keep them away. If you don’t want to use any nasty chemicals to do so, use plants that attract their predators.

Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common garden pests and the plants which can help keep them away.

• Aphids – chives and coriander. When planted next to Swiss chard, sweet alyssum can help to control aphids because they attract flies. Calendula can also help to keep aphids off your broccoli
• Ants – Tansy
• Carrot fly – Rosemary and sage
• Flies – Basil and rue
• Fruit tree moths – Southernwood
• Japanese beetles – Garlic and rue (when used near roses and raspberries)
• Mosquitos – Basil and rosemary
• Moths – Santolina
• Ticks – Lavendar
• Many of these herbs, including mint, chive, sage, rosemary, coriander and basil all grow very well in containers which means that you can still protect your crops even if you only have window boxes. As well as providing you with your very own selection of fresh herbs, when teamed up with some beautiful window shutters, these plants can really help to brighten up any home

Producing more vegetables

If you’re looking for a higher yield, think about which vegetables you’re putting next to each other.

Radishes and carrots make a great team for example because they take nutrients from different places in the soil and therefore aren’t competing with each other for resources.

Tomato and basil go very well together in a salad but some gardeners also believe that when planted next to each other, basil helps to improve the taste of tomatoes.

You can find out more about companion planting and which vegetables grow really well together by visiting this website: https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/page/Companion-Planting-Guide

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