Like Fred and Wilma, Homer and Marge and Bert and Ernie, some plants just want to be together. This weekend we’ve been having a go at ‘Companion Planting’. Companion Planting is planting different crops in close proximity to each other and using their natural assets to aid pest control, pollination and increase nutrient uptake. We’re trying to be as organic as possible on our allotment, so any way of controlling pests naturally and without chemicals is a bonus. Companion Planting can involve herbs, flowers or vegetables, but as we’re keen to grow some flowers on our plot we’ve decided to test the water with those.
So far we’ve planted Nasturtiums – which apparently divert the attention of Caterpillars and the like away from munching the main vegetable crops, and Marigolds – the scent of which deters aphids and attracts predators of aphids such as Hoverflies. Marigolds also act as a ‘sacrificial’ plant by luring slugs away from the good stuff (now there’s a couple of real team players !) We’ve also got tiny Geraniums and Tagetes growing on the windowsill, and will be putting in some Sunflowers soon too.
Aside from the flowers, we’ve also been cracking on at putting a few more veggies into the ground, and have planted Gherkin and Pea seedlings and Kohl Rabi and Kale seeds. We’ve got all our seedlings covered with empty re-cycled bottle cloches, but the words ‘risk of overnight frosts’ on the weather forecast this week have made us very nervous. We even got a burst of hail today ! Have we made a rookie mistake and put our seedlings out too early ? Is it really almost May ?