It has long been accepted that Companion Planting can have several benefits, both for yourself and your garden vegetables. Properly executed, companion planting can help keep away predatory insects from your plants and also add as a fertilizer for the soil if the right companions are chosen. Even in a vegetable garden however, there is no need just to grow other vegetables. Indeed gardeners for centuries have been growing flowers alongside their precious vegetables to help distract different insects.
Companion planting using flowers such as Marigolds is the subject in question with this excellent piece in www.ourherbgarden.com In particular I like this valuable comment about the kind of Marigolds to plant. As is the case with a lot of the modern hybrids, they have no scent. This is mega-important as it is the strong scent of the marigold that distracts the carrot fly for instance, away from the carrot foliage. A plant with no scent, is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard!
Companion Planting with Marigolds
We found out the hard way that the newer hybrid marigolds have not retained this natural pest controlling scent. We purchased some light yellow plants and the ravenous aphids promptly destroyed them. Of course, I suppose, you could argue that the nasty little things were so busy eating our marigolds that they left our vegetable garden unmolested.
This is a good point also though, if the aphids were not munching on the marigolds, would they be attacking the vegetables instead? Interesting. Another flowering plant that I use often is the Nasturtium to help distract aphids. It is also an edible flower and can be used in salads for instance. Mint can also be a good distraction for aphids and white-fly. Planted in pots it can be placed around the garden where most needed, for instance near your tomato plants.
Companion planting is an essential ingredient in any type of raised bed gardening enterprise, more especially if you want to practice natural pest control and fertilization methods.
In fact many of the scented herds such as Rosemary, Sage and Thyme can also be used very effective in this way as an organic and Eco friendly alternative to insecticides.