In the second of our mini series on organic food growing at home we have provided a table of favourite varieties and their good and bad companion plants!
It is generally thought that all plants will grow happily alongside each other, but this is not the case. There is a lot of competition between individual plants for light, space, water and nutrients.
Some plants will excrete toxins via their roots into the soil to act as a growth inhibitor. These we think of as bad companions and in food plant gardens we make sure to keep them apart.
Others plants such as legumes (peas and beans) will release nitrogen via their roots to encourage plant growth – good companions. It is this ‘plant science’ that we turn to our advantage to make the maximum use of space available in containers and veg patches.
Marigold plants will excrete a substance through their roots that kills harmful soil nematodes and there are plants that contain strong smelling volatile oils that deter or confuse harmful pests.
Good and bad companion plants
The table below highlights the principals above for a select group of edible plants:
This mini series is brought to you from the Seed Pantry team members Mike and Neil.
Mike says: ‘Good and bad companion planting can really help you make the best of growing your own food, it’s always good to use nature in your favour rather than pesticides’
Neil says: ‘I am sowing seeds right now ready to go in next month, so I will be carefully considering what to plant where, to make the most of my crops, I have beans and peas shooting up and beetroot so I’ll be careful not to plant them next to each other!’
Look out for the next post in the mini series, we’ll put a table of companion plants to attract beneficial insects…