Gar­den Com­pan­ions

Your guide to grow­ing a har­mo­nious veg­etable gar­den free from pests.

Good - - CONTENTS - Words Kahu de Beer. Art­work Lisa Lodge

How to pair plants ef­fec­tively

You know how there are cer­tain peo­ple who seem to bring out all your good qual­i­ties? Who en­cour­age you to be the best ver­sion of you? And then there are the oth­ers ... the ones you pre­tend you don’t see when you find your­self in the same aisle in the su­per­mar­ket. Well, this is sim­i­lar to our plant friends – some thrive be­ing around each other and oth­ers would pre­fer a lit­tle more space.

Com­pan­ion plant­ing is a con­cept that in­volves group­ing cer­tain plants to­gether for mu­tual ben­e­fit. Us­ing com­pan­ion plant­ing meth­ods en­ables you to get the best out of your gar­den by help­ing to dis­cour­age bad bugs, at­tract good ones, in­crease pol­li­na­tion, max­imise use of space and im­prove crop pro­duc­tiv­ity. With a lit­tle bit of un­der­stand­ing, com­pan­ion plant­ing can also re­duce our need for chem­i­cals in the gar­den.

I love the unique­ness of plants and the way that each has its own likes and dis­likes and par­tic­u­lar strengths, just as we do. You’ll of­ten find that foods that pair so well on our plates are ones that were des­tined to be to­gether from the be­gin­ning. Take toma­toes and basil – there is some­thing mag­i­cal that hap­pens when we put them to­gether. When planted side-by-side the flavour of both plants be­come en­hanced; the aroma from the basil also helps to con­fuse in­sects seek­ing to eat toma­toes. Th­ese two even go so far as shar­ing their nu­tri­ents un­der the soil sur­face. Over and over again we see this kind of mu­tual love and nur­tur­ing in the plant world. And all of this to cre­ate beau­ti­ful food to nour­ish who­ever is for­tu­nate enough to eat it.

As well as plant­ing veg­eta­bles that are com­pan­ions along­side each other, dot­ting the right flow­ers and herbs through your gar­den will en­cour­age a di­ver­sity of in­sects and health­ier plants.

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