Companion Planting for your Winter Vegetables
If you are serious about growing your own produce, you are already planting winter vegetables. But don't forget to add a few companion plants to keep pests away.
If you are busy planting your winter vegetable crops, you will also be thinking about organic fertilizer and methods to keep away pests. The most organic method for pest control is to use companion planting to keep insects at bay. And companion planting has proven itself to be very beneficial for both summer and winter vegetable crops.
What is Companion Planting?
The practise of companion planting is one that has been in use for a long time and has proven its worth again and again, both in residential gardens and agricultural organisations. Companion planting is the planting of certain herbs and plants, usually ones that have a strong odour, to repel insects and pests away. When companion plants are planted alongside vegetables, they protect the surrounding area from pests by attracting beneficial insects.
What are the Best Companion Plants?
Two of my favourite companion plants are marigolds and rosemary. The former provides a colourful burst of orange and yellow when in bloom while the latter has wonderful grey-green foliage with small lilac flowers. Both of these are extremely easy to cultivate and can be planted alongside winter vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower, kale and spinach.
Other popular companion plants include:
Basil and Tomato
Not only are tomato and basil wonderful when paired in sauces and salads, but they should also be grown side by side. Basil protects young tomato seedlings from insects.
Basil and Bell Peppers
Bet you didn't know that growing these two close together not only helps to repel attack by aphids and flies but also improves the flavour of peppers.
Marigolds and Cucumbers or Squash
Marigolds add a splash of colour to beds and borders, but they also help to repel beetles and aphids from cucumber crops. You could also plant nasturtiums, but beware of these spreading out of control.
Carrots and Onions
It is always a good idea to plant these two crops together since onions will help to prevent insect attack. Onions also repel aphids so keep this in mind when planting other crops such as lettuce, cabbage and root vegetables like parsnips.
Mint and Lettuce
While I'm not a huge fan of letting mint loose in the garden, especially since it likes to take over very quickly, it does benefit lettuce and prevents attacks by slugs. You could also plant chives or garlic to repel aphids.
Do Your Research
Before planting out your beds or containers or winter crops, do some research on the best companion plants for your vegetables and also to find out which vegetables work well when planted close together.
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