We’ve had a lot of rain this last week, leaving my allotment garden a bit of a quagmire. Whenever I go down there, I’m sure I end up taking half of the earth back to the house on my wellies! Anyway, today I decided to take the hint from the skies above, and settled down in my nice cosy kitchen to a bit of planning for spring.
We were quite virtuous about our seed harvesting last year, so we have lots of well-labelled brown packets filled with dried goodies, just waiting to be thumbed or scattered into the earth. I keep my seeds in a metal tin which is divided into compartments inside, allowing me to organise the packets by sowing month. I find this very helpful for keeping track of what I need to plant out when. If I am planning successional sowing of a particular crop, I simply move the packet along to the next month at the appropriate time. It’s quick and easy, and it means I don’t accidentally forget to sow anything!
There are some really classic companion combinations that I will definitely be using. Here are a few to get you started:
--> Carrots and onions. These are mutually beneficial – the pungent onion deters carrot root fly, while the smell of the carrots simultaneously puts off onion fly!
--> Tomatoes and French marigolds. The smell of marigold foliage is apparently anathema to aphids.
--> Nasturtiums and brassicas (cabbage, kale, etc.). Some butterflies will choose to lay their eggs on the nasturtiums, leaving your brassicas caterpillar-free. As someone who loathes picking through every single twiddly bit of kale to de-caterpillar it before cooking, I think this is well worth a shot!
If you are interested in the idea of companion planting and would like to know more, Thompson & Morgan have a very clear quick reference table online. For an extremely comprehensive list of companion plants, try this guide on Golden Harvest Organics.
Do drop us a comment or an email if you have any companion planting success (or failure!) stories!