This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Monday, 6 May 2013

Companion Planting

Companion Planting is something I've always been interested in and I hope to improve upon this year (pictured: a start to my companion seed collection). I like to mix veg and flowers together in beds but I've rarely purposely planted things together to keep pests at bay; I usually plant rather randomly.  But this year I'm going to try to plan better for companion planting and I did a bit of research on the internet that I thought I'd share (source links listed below). If only there was a companion plant to keep slugs and snails away!

The companion planting tips have come from Gardener's World and BBC websites:
  •  French marigolds grown with tomatoes; marigolds emit a strong odour that repels greenfly and blackfly. Can also lure aphids away from beans. It also attracts beneficial insects e.g. ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies, which prey on aphids.
  •  Sage, grown with carrots or plants in the cabbage family, ward off pests. Both have strong scents that drive away each other's pests.
  • Nasturtium grown with cabbages are a magnet for caterpillars that will then leave the cabbages alone. Planted with French and runner beans, acts as a sacrificial crop, luring aphids away from the beans. Its attractive flowers help attract beneficial insects, which prey on aphids.
  • Garlic grown with roses wards off aphids.
  • Carrots and leeks grown together protect against a number of pests. Leeks repel carrot fly and carrots repel onion fly and leek moth.
  • Garlic chive, grown with carrots; its strong scent confuses and deters the carrot root fly, which can normally smell carrots from up to a mile away.
  •  Lavender  attracts pollinators including butterflies, bees and hoverflies. Its strong scent deters aphids. Plant with carrots and leeks to confuse pests.
  •  Sage is strongly scented and confuses pests of brassicas if grown alongside them. Its blue flowers attract bees and hoverflies, which also pollinate crops.
  • Borage prevents attack from tomato hornworm and might even improve the flavour of strawberries.
  • Thyme grown with roses; its strong scent deters blackfly. A thyme tea sprayed on cabbages prevents whitefly.
  • Fennel flowers produce attractive yellow blooms that attract hoverflies, which prey on aphids.
  • Chervil keeps aphids off lettuce.
  •  Chives’ onion scent wards off aphids from chrysanthemums, sunflowers and tomatoes.
  •  Coriander helps to repel aphids.
  • Dill attracts aphid eating beneficial insects likes hoverflies and predatory wasps.
Have you had any particular success with companion planting?
Tried and tested tips welcome!


  1. Herbs as companion plant work more effective when they are flowering.

  2. I wouldn't build your hopes up too much! I can't deny that companion planting does REDUCE some of the problems, but it is not effective on its own. The Sacrificial Planting you mention in respect of Nasturtiums is probably a better course of action. Try sowing some Chinese Leaves type cabbages - the slugs love those more than anything else. Flowers interspersed amongst vegetables not only look pretty, but they also attract pollinators and confuse predators.

  3. Good tips above - thanks!

  4. There is one thing for sure and that is once sown you will never be without poached egg plants - limnanthes and you'll have lots of them!

    1. Yes I agree, poached egg plants(limnanthes) is a bit invasive in that it self seeds and comes up again and again. As my soil is clay I imagine it would be difficult to get rid of. However I do like the plant. :)

  5. I've never heard of anyone having great success with companion planting so it'll be interesting to see how you do.

  6. We will be doing the same. For years we have grown marigolds at the ends of each row. We seem to be relatively pest free, except for the white cabbage butterflies. Maybe the pest just haven't found the garden yet. I'll be interested in your results.

  7. I have always planted marigolds between my cabbages and a basil plant nearby. As the basil starts to flower, I pick of the top and pull it apart over the cabbage plant. Most everything hates basil, it seems and I never have cabbage worms! Also nothing bothers my broccoli which is done the same way.
    Lately a raccoon dug up my container gardens so I put a heavy dose of cayenne pepper sprinkled around the containers and around other plants and have had no more trouble. Good luck with your companion planting.