• Alison Murray

Things to do in the garden during lockdown, day 16: Companion planting

Companion planting is an excellent way to keep pests away from your crops and maximise space in your plot.

Planting fast growing crops in between slower growing ones means you can maximise on the space in between rows. I've planted my shallots and onions a little further apart than normal and popped my winter lettuces an purslane in between. Pulling up the lettuce plants doesn't disturb the onions and I can start to replace them with my summer lettuces in a few weeks. The wide space crops also reduces the build up of pests. Sweet corn is another slow growing number where you can pop in lettuces between the rows early on in the season before the maize gets too leafy.

Planting one crop to attract pests away from another is what most folk might think of when it comes to companion planting. A classic bit of companion planting is to plant French marigolds or nasturtiums in between your beans and peas. It not only looks great (and you can eat the flowers), but the blooms are more attractive to black fly than the pea or bean plants, keeping the majority of them away from the veg crop. I'll be doing this very soon.

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