Saturday, September 21, 2013

Companion planting on a spring afternoon

I've long been interested in companion planting: the theory that certain plants are beneficial for each other in attracting the right and repelling the wrong sorts of bugs. My herb garden is a wonderful ramble of plants which Howard, who grew up with the British concept of soldierly rows, calls a mess. It is full of four types of mint including common, chocolate, Vietnamese and lemon balm, oregano, chives, and rosemary.  It has a thriving bay tree, a male and female combo of kiwi vines which are yet to fruit and a small passionfruit. Sorrel, lettuce, parsley and rocket reside in pots here.

Since I have put in raised beds in my vegie garden it has been a little too orderly for my liking. Corralling the potatoes has been a dismal failure. The books demand that they be regularly rotated to avoid blight and other spud nasties. What a stupid idea! Now I have potatoes growing in every single corner of the garden. You can never find every single tiny seed potato and they are incredibly resilient. I have planted potatoes in four beds along the back fence. Howard looks around the garden and says whats that over there: potato, and there: potato and here: potato. They are impossible to contain. I can recognise the obvious breed differences: kiplers are long and skinny, King Edwards are creamy with pink blotches (the best!), red potatoes come in a few varieties and I don't remember what I put in. The rest of the ordinary looking potatoes could be one of many varieties.  They all taste good and are quite prolific.

So potato dominance aside I am improving the rest of the vegie garden with some companion ideas. The following photos and descriptions show what I have planted together, taking a lead from Sustainable Gardening Australia. Two caveats are important here: I have not done any scientific studies and ALL commentators seem to agree that companion planting rules from the north and south hemispheres differ greatly.
I bought plants, potting mix and plants at two different garden centres and three different market stalls this morning to butymost of the plants on my list.

I love my little thrift store trolley that helps me trundle plants around the garden. 
 Much to my surprise I found all these volunteer silverbeet seedlings between the cracks in my garden path.
Most of these plants have re-seeded from last year. I added some extra spinach and lettuce seedlings today. If anyone can tell me the name of the purple leaved plants I'd be grateful: I planted them last year and have forgotten their name which is a deep shame they are fabulous.
 My onion patch has been expanded with new seedlings of onion, cauliflower, lettuce and French marigold.
I thought companion planting was all about growing well but today discovered the idea that some plants improve taste. I have added parsley to my permanent asparagus patch.

 A layered patch with snow peas, leeks, celery and spinach. A few dill and sage seedlings have been added to keep the variety going. Oh and a couple of radishes.
Harvest time.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...