Companion planting

I’m in two minds about this. I do undertake some companion planting: mainly things I remember my granddad doing such as plant French marigolds between tomato plants to deter aphids, growing carrots and leeks together (I think the leeks smell strongly enough to confuse carrot fly, although it could just be that he liked the look of carrots and leeks together, isn’t it odd how we pick up habits without really thinking about them?) and using nasturtiums as a sacrifice crop for cabbages – because the caterpillars eat the nasturtiums and leave the cabbages alone.

But can it really be true that those same marigolds can smother bindweed? I don’t think so. Not on any allotment I’ve come across, anyway. And does celery really deter cabbage white caterpillars from brassicas – I’d love to believe so, but I don’t think I’ve come across anything, except horticultural mesh, that really keeps the caterpillars off. Or rather, keeps the butterfly from laying the eggs that hatch on the plant and become voracious eating machines aka cabbage white caterpillars.

But I’m prepared to be convinced. Especially if it reduces the need to weed between rows and pick or wash off pests. So tell me - do you companion plant, and if so, what works for you?

Marigold by *micky

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, January 24, 2008


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back after the Christmas break ... even though I worked through. I'm really interested in the notion of companion planting, and am going to make it a winter project to research it more. So far I've been very lucky, I've used no chemicals at all, but have very few bugs, indeed, I've still not seen a single snail in my garden, I'm wondering it this is because the garden is virtually right above the sea, on a cliff, thus the saltiness of the air is a type of protection. I've certainly grown some lovely veges. [Um, no snails, but the rats and possums are still plentiful].

Of course all this is by the way of getting to my next, completely unrelated question :) I've just cropped all my garlic, and have enough of it drying on a picnic table to last us through to next season. Note, I know I have to dry it, however, am uncertain on how to store it. I think I'm supposed to hang it, which I can do in the garage, and I even think it can be braided? Is that right, I can't see how to do it (and the lovely wife is no good at all in this department). Any ideas?

(I was thinking of just bunching them with string, then hanging, but then it will be hard to get out individual cloves without pulling a whole bunch apart each time).

Mark Hubbard

January 24, 2008 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Nice to have you back!

I grew up in the UK's garlic capital you know, the Isle of Wight, so this was right down my street. Garlic needs about two weeks to 'cure' for storage. Outside is a bit dodgy, if you get any dew or sudden rain, my preference would be to tie it in bundles of 10-12 or place on mesh racks in an airy, ventilated shed or a porch with good air circulation and out of direct sunlight.

Plaiting - try to do this while the stems are still a little flexible. Take about a metre of string and fold in half, tied the middle around two garlic heads at the neck so they touch snugly. That gives you two garlic stalks and two pieces of string - put one piece of string with one of the stalks so you have three 'bits' to work with. Add one garlic head at a time,tie into the string and then plait together, taking each outside 'bit' across the centre one, then adding another garlic head until you have around a dozen plaited together. Then use the ends of the string to make a loop to hang it up by! Dead easy - and very welcome as gifts ....

January 27, 2008 at 5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmm. I think I have made a major error. I dried the garlic outside, and they were rained on twice over the drying period. I'll hang them this weekend, but might work on eating them a bit quicker than planned (no hardship there), before they what? Start sprouting I suspect.


January 28, 2008 at 12:35 AM  

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