I would like to share in this blog post an example of that teaching, applied to growing vegetables organically. There are three multi-functional plants to include in every design, from small back gardens to large scale market vegetable gardens. Plant these three and you will be one step closer to companion planting.
Give it a go and see for yourself!
Marigolds (Tagetes species) are said to be a landing pad for predatory insects, which feed on the ones you don’t want around. Marigolds help keep away aphids and their flowers attract pollinating insects to your vegetable beds. It is also said that Marigolds repel white fly and root knot nematodes. Some people turn the plants under to soil at the end of the season to maintain soil health. Their seeds are easy to collect, save and give away.
Nasturtiums are definitely a personal favorite of mine. The leafs (which are high in vitamin C), flowers and seeds are all edible, it will also often self seed for the following year or for transplanting. Nasturtiums attract hover flies which keep aphids in check (Hover fly larvae eat aphids and small caterpillars) and the smell of their flowers repels white flies. They add color to the beds and because they are a trailing vine can act as a living mulch at the base of taller plants. Just make sure you plant them on the edge of the bed and guide them under the main plants you are growing, this way they will not compete for nutrients.
Basil - I love basil, the taste, the smell, the colour, It is a great plant to include, easy to grow and attracts butterflies. It deters white flies, aphids and mosquitoes! And by all accounts it’s a winner with tomatoes, both in the garden and on the table!
I always scatter these three plants throughout the beds here and there. They also provide additional colour and beauty while reducing maintenance, especially when coupled with a nice thick bed of mulch and a drip line.
Matt Prosser 26.05.2016