Companion planting

nasturtiums-orange-jan

Here are some tried and tested companions that help a variety of edible plants:

  • Marigold with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and most plants – repels white fly and root nematodes
  • Corn with spinach, swiss chard and leafy greens – protects and shades delicate leaves from the harsh sun
  • Borage with strawberries, cucumber and most edible plants – increases yield by adding nitrogen to the soil and attracting bees
  • Onions and garlic with fruit trees, tomatoes and eggplant – help deter aphids, slugs and other insects and weeds
  • Geranium with grapes, tomatoes and eggplant – attract insect pests so they stay away from other plants
  • Comfrey with tomatoes, berries and fruit trees – the leaves are full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium
  • Nasturtiums with cabbage, radishes and apple trees – attract aphids so the aphids avoid other plants
  • Sage with cabbage, carrots and strawberries – repels the cabbage white butterfly.

Can you think of any others?

Edible Garden Design by Jamie Durie

Photo by Jan.

Plants for honey bees

northey-honey

It is important to encourage bees to our gardens, so that they can help pollinate our fruit and vegetables. The best plants to grow are nectar-producing natives and flowering plants such as basil, borage, catmint, coriander, cornflowers, fennel, garlic chives, heather, hyssop, lavender (heirloom varieties), lemon balm, marigolds, mint, rosemary, scabious and sea holly, thyme.

Jerry Coleby-Williams recommends growing begonias, blue ginger, pigeon peas and salvias to encourage the native Blue Banded bees. He also says:

There’s a lot more I’d recommend, but one crop that is often overlooked is corn – for its pollen.

I’ve planted Eucalyptus tereticornis and Melaleuca leucadendron in my street for honeybees.

I use ‘Honey Flora of Qld’, by S.T. Blake & C. Roff, published by DPI Qld, ISBN 0-7242-2371-1″>0-7242-2371-1 as a standard reference book.

If you aim for a variety of different plants which flower at different times of the year, you’ll have more success with encouraging bees.

Northey Street City Farm honey