With a little help from my friends.

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    Over the last few weeks I've been deciding on what route I wanted to go on my allotment, I didn't and don't want to use chemicals. Also with the plot being less than the size of a normal allotment growing space is at a premium, so after searching the inter webby and various books, forums etc I came across the square foot method. This method encompasses various ideas but the one that caught my eye mostly was companion growing, companion growing which means in a way one plant being a bodyguard to another. So below and on future posts I'll give you an idea on the plant buddy system, so in no particular order we start with.


    Marigolds :- Helps attract hover flies which in turn can control the aphid population, it is also said to help deter rabbits.


    Helps - Fruit Trees, Beans, Broccoli, Brussels, Cabbages, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Roses, Strawberries and Tomatoes.


    Basil :- Is one of the heavyweights in the buddy system helping to repel flies and mosquitoes, it also helps enhance the flavour of tomatoes, asparagus, peppers and oregano. Although it's advised not to plant near sage and not near rosemary as it can kill the rosemary plant.


    Helps - Apricots, Asparagus, Chives, Cucumber, Fennel and Tomatoes.


    Dislikes - Rosemary and Sage.


    The last of the first three of our bodyguards is.


    Alliums :- Bodyguards come in all shapes and sizes even flowers, alliums are said to repel all kinds from slugs, aphids and cabbage worms to the dreaded carrot fly. Best planted near tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi and carrots helping to keep the nasties from getting to them. I can see it now, Saturday night telling an aphid it's not coming in and giving it a good kicking round the back of the greenhouse.

    In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Clayman ().

  • Yes, some of this companion planting stuff is based on experience and observation, which are always good tutors.
    The Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA) did a lot of practical pioneering work in this, way back in the last century, before it became Garden Organic. Don't know if they carried on with the research, as I haven't been a member for some years now. (Felt it had gotten too commercialised).


    We grow some companion plants, particularly if they are also good for bees and hoverflies, etc. Had a nice show of marigolds amongst the sweet corn this year; if something looks nice and is attractive to the right kind of insects, my missus sees it stays there.
    I read someplace that the carrot fly can only fly up to 18 inches high, so we rigged up a few trip wires one year, but it didn't seem to do a lotta good. Still, you gotta try these things....:beard::)


    I looked into that square foot system, and it looked kinda complex for me, so I'm thinking of rounding up our four main beds in the French intensive bed system, run on a four-year rotation. These beds are only around 6 metres long, and about 2 metres wide, so fine for working at from each side. By rights you have to trench each bed to a spade's depth, add farmyard manure or compost, add blood fish and bone, and add rockdust if you like, fill it in and rake it over, and plant green manure for retaining a hold on the soil overwinter.
    Hard work trenching, so when I completed one bed with the spade I figured I might do the others with the azada we got during the summer, but haven't used much yet. A neighbour of African origin showed us how to use it, and you sure can travel fast compared with a spade.
    So as we'll be planting up these beds, mostly come Spring, I will be taking notes from this thread about companion planting, and try out a few new ones.

  • I've seen a few different things for carrot fly, raised beds, containers etc. I'd have posted more but didn't want to overload the boredom threshold. The square foot method I think becomes complex when it gets to succession planting, I'm also dabbling with moon phase planting but missed the full moon by 2 days when I planted my garlic and onions however although they'll be late I have held back a couple of garlic and some onions for the next full moon to see what they grow like.

  • If you read up on the use of cloches, then you will see that square foot succession is really quite simple!


    The author formalises the principle of only planting 'some' seed now, and more seed later so that your harvest gets staggered instead of a glut that you cannot possibly hope to consume.


    Read up some of the wartime gardening books and they talk about planning your season.


    The principle is that as soon as you harvest something, you clear that piece of ground and plant something else.


    :beard:

  • One method/companion growing I read about that I may try is the three sisters method used by the Iroquois, were it's said they planted corn, beans and squash in the same hole. The corn grew and acted as a cane for the beans and the beans and corn sheltered the squash from the sun, the beans also fix nitrogen to where the seeds have been planted and help stabilise the corn. So may try that in one bed.

  • One method/companion growing I read about that I may try is the three sisters method used by the Iroquois, were it's said they planted corn, beans and squash in the same hole. The corn grew and acted as a cane for the beans and the beans and corn sheltered the squash from the sun, the beans also fix nitrogen to where the seeds have been planted and help stabilise the corn. So may try that in one bed.


    There is a little more to it!
    Timing is not just everything it is EVERYTHING!


    You need to get the corn in and growing,
    then put the beans in,
    then get the squash to cover the ground.


    I found the easiest way to do it was start the squash in pots, pinch out the leading tip to encourage a bushy habit.
    Also start the corn in root trainers (old cardboard tubes)


    After the last frost day plant the corn out with the chitted beans at the same time in a square (ish) pattern leaving the centre point free.


    Once the plants are actually growing then transplant the squash to fill the centre hole.


    Water deeply. A can full every couple of days, rather than a sprinkling every day.


    :beard:

  • Apart from bulbs I never plant seeds outdoors, always start them of undercover. Only time I've ever planted outside is the odd occasion I've forgot to sow them.

  • Dill :- Is a good companion to lettuce, cabbage, onions, sweetcorn and cucumber as it deters pests that are attracted to these plants. However don't plant near carrots, carraway, lavender or tomatoes as it attracts pests to that plant specially the tomatoes. It will attract hover flies, honeybees and wasps so avoid planting near bee hives with the wasps. Also avoid planting near fennel as they can cross pollinate.


    Coriander :- Deters aphids, potato beetles and spider mites, a good bodyguard for anise, caraway and spinach.


    Chamomile :- Helps in the development of essential oils in herbs and aids in the flavour specially basil, also a good companion for onions, cabbage and cucumber.