Thursday, 2 May 2013

Companion Planting

This is a section that appeared in Ritchie Garden News - April Newsletter 2013 

Companion Planting

With the terms "going green" and "organic" on everyone's mind these days, some might be interested in trying companion planting in the garden. The idea behind companion planting is planting varieties of plants together that would benefit from being positioned within close proximity of each other. A couple of phrases used in regards to companion planting are "nursery plants" and "trap crops". Nursery plants would include herbs, which are attractive to beneficial insects by providing shelter and food. Beneficial insects include pollinating insects and predator insects which are both beneficial to the other surrounding plants. Trap crops refer to plants that deter unwanted insects away from desired plants. Flowers, leaves, and roots of some plant material contain substances that create an odour and/or taste that naturally repels unwanted insects. Another belief about companion planting is the improved flavour and growth that may occur when certain varieties of edible plants are planted adjacent to one another.

Suggestions for compatible companion plantings in the garden are:

Alliums can confuse and deter slugs, aphids, carrot flies, and cabbage worm. They are ideal to plant near carrots and cabbage.

Flax is a multi-tasking plant. It repels potato bugs as well as improving the taste and growth of carrots and potatoes.

Mints enhance the growth and flavouring of cabbage and tomatoes while discouraging white cabbage moths.

Rue is not recommended for planting near cabbage, basil, or sage but it is an excellent beetle repellant for roses and raspberries.

Nasturtium is a great edible annual and it attracts predatory insects while repelling and distracting cabbage lopers, squash bugs, white flies, and cucumber beetles.

Petunia is another pest deterrent annual that repels and distracts leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, aphids, and asparagus beetles.

Marigolds are a tried and true pest deterrent. People have been using this annual for years to repel beetles, nematodes, and other garden pests. 

Ritchie Feed & Seed
1390 Windmill Lane, Ottawa, ON, K1B 4V5