Companion planting for beautiful weed free borders
July 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Companion planting means planting compatible species in close proximity. This can give even better yields overall due to the many symbiotic relationships in the plant kingdom.
Interplanting means putting plants in the spaces between your main crops. Interplanting may play a companion role but the method is more focused on maximising yields via best use of space.
A major benefit of interplanting is that your main crops get the spacing they need. Other benefits of intercropping and companion planting include: suppression of weeds/provision of shelter for biological controls, nitrogen fixation from a green manure and the potential to control shade and wind protection.
Here are examples of interplanted beds.
Cauliflowers at the back, cabbages and calabrese at the front, interplanted with bulbing fennel, dill.
Note the drying flower heads of the lovely endive ‘Bianca Riccia da Taglio‘ (centre right in pic above, close up below). These were planted out as plug plants in March 2010 and were harvested bar one (the biggest one), which was left for seed. The flowers were very pretty- a bright mauve purple- and attracted pollinators/beneficial insects.
Similarly the last few fennel bulbs were left to seed, the big umbelliferous flowers attracting lots of beneficials.
Nasturtiums loop the front of the bed (below) to catch aphids.
In this bed nasturtiums (this cultivar is the variegated African Queen) divide the bush tomatoes (Royal Chico and Patio Orange) from soft herbs like alliums and basils.