Tuesday, 22 May 2007


Photo: Parsley.

Last week we started to look at plants that were good companion plants for the garden. Here are some more to look into. Of course there are loads more plants that could be on the list. All gardens are different so you might find some plants do better for you than others. The fun is in experimenting to find out what works.

MARIGOLDS: (Calendula): Given a lot of credit as a pest deterrent. Keeps soil free of bad nematodes; supposed to discourage many insects. Plant freely throughout the garden. The marigolds you choose must be a scented variety for them to work. Good slug bait.

MARJORAM: As a companion plant it improves the flavor of vegetables and herbs. Sweet marjoram is the most commonly grown type.

MINT: Deters white cabbage moths, ants, rodents, flea beetles, fleas, aphids and improves the health of cabbage and tomatoes. Use cuttings as a mulch around members of the brassica family. It attracts hoverflies and predatory wasps. Earthworms are quite attracted to mint plantings. Be careful where you plant mint, as it is an incredibly invasive perennial. We have found that placing mint (fresh or dried) where mice are a problem is very effective in driving them off!

PEAS: Peas fix nitrogen in the soil.

NASTURTIUMS: Plant as a barrier around tomatoes, radishes, cabbage, cucumbers, and under fruit trees. Deters wooly aphids, whiteflies, and cucumber beetles. Great trap crop for aphids (in particular the black aphids). Likes poor soil with low moisture and no fertilizer. It has been the practice of some fruit growers to plant nasturtiums every year in the root zone of fruit trees to allow the trees to take up the pungent odor of the plants and repel pests. It has no taste effect on the fruit. The leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible and wonderful in salads!

NETTLES, STINGING: The flowers attract bees. Sprays made from these are rich in silica and calcium. Invigorating for plants and improves their disease resistance. Leaving the mixture to rot, it then makes an excellent liquid feed. Comfrey improves the liquid feed even more.

PARSLEY: Plant among and sprinkle on tomatoes, and asparagus. Use as a tea to ward off asparagus beetles. Attracts hoverflies. Let some go to seed to attract the tiny parasitic wasps. Parsley increases the fragrance of roses when planted around their base

PEPPERMINT: Repels white cabbage moths, aphids and flea beetles. It is the menthol content in mints that acts as an insect repellant. Bees and other good insects love it.

PETUNIAS: They repel the asparagus beetle, leafhoppers, certain aphids and general garden pests. A good companion to tomatoes, but plant everywhere. The leaves can be used in a tea to make a potent insect spray.

POACHED EGG PLANT: Grow poached egg plants with tomatoes, they will attract hover flies and hover flies eat aphids. These plants do very well around Inishowen and if you haven’t got some I’m sure a neighbour will give you a clump. They seed freely when established.

PURSLANE: This edible weed makes good ground cover in the vegetable patch.


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