culture of bali

19 Feb Companion Plants

Everyone needs a friend, someone to look out for us, keep us safe. We’re stronger together, right? Plants need best-buddies, too, a pal to protect them from harmful insects. Some plants make great companions, but some are mighty Super Heroes that not only protect their friends, but also make them stronger and better (more flavorful). Plants are designed to live and work together. When you know which plants live and work well together.

Blog 5 photo 2Top 6 Companion Plants to Defend Your Precious Veggies From Harmful Insects:

1- Borage

Borage is a friend to MANY plants, especially tomatoes and squash. But, Borage and strawberries are absolute Besties! Savvy strawberry farmers always set a few plants in their beds to enhance the fruits flavor and yield. Borage’s Super Powers are its knack for repelling tomato hornworms and cabbage worms, attracting bees and wasps, as well as adding trace minerals to the soil. Borage leaves contain vitamin C and are rich in calcium, potassium and mineral salts. It also makes a nice mulch for most plants. Borage is self-sowing, so after planting this annual once, it will reseed itself. Borage flowers are beautifully vibrant and edible. The plant itself is furry and gangly, and not edible.

2- Chives

Chives buddy-up well with carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kohlrabi, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, mustard–and apples! Chives’ super power is defending tomatoes from aphids and repelling Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies from your garden. Planting chives consistently for three years amongst apple trees prevents scab disease. Apple scab can ruin a season’s crop. Pair Chives with carrots and tomatoes to enhance their flavor. Word of warning: It’s not recommended to plant Chive with asparagus, beans, peas and spinach.

3- Radish

Radishes are trustworthy companions to many plants–and they’re easy to grow. Plant radishes along side beets, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melons, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach to protect them from cucumber beetles and rust flies. Radishes draw strength and flavor from Chervil and nasturtium. To defend your corn crop against borers, plant radish with your corn, but let it go to seed for its protective power to work.

If you don’t mind planting a few sacrificial radish, plant a few with your spinach to lure leafminers from your spinach plants. The leafminers will damage the radish leaves, but not the edible root.

Radish’s super power lies in its uncanny ability to tell you something about your soil, like if the calcium levels are off. If your radish grows to produce a stringy root, your soil needs calcium.

Word of warning: Keep radishes away from hyssop plants, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and turnips.

4- Onion

Blog 5 photo 3If you’re looking forward to growing any of these vegetables this season–Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Collards, Chard, dill, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Radishes, Rutabaga, tomato, Turnip–send in the onions! The onion’s super power is its strong smell which confuses carrot and onion flies and repels maggots away from carrots, lettuce, chamomile, beets, cabbage, and parsnips.

Word of warning: Keep onions away from peas and asparagus.

5- Marigold (Calendula)

Even though this number 2 Guardian Plant, marigold (Pot Marigold) isn’t a vegetable, it is edible…and beautiful…and easy to grow. It is a might adversary of any insect that dares to enter the garden. French marigolds repel whiteflies and kill bad nematodes. Mexican marigolds are said to “bug” many destructive insects. Scented varieties of marigold flowers are the best pest deterrents. One of Calendula’s super powers is its ability to be self-reliant.

6- Garlic

Yes, garlic! It ranks Number #1 Super Hero Defender of Good because its powerful ability to defend fruit trees! Garlic is the perfect partner for apple, peach and pear orchards, or wherever borers are a problem. Garlic’s super power is its ability to accumulate sulfur, which acts as a naturally occurring fungicide. Garlic’s companion plants take-up take up the sulfur through their roots and pores. Garlic’s status as Super Guardian Defender stem from its ability to ward-off codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails, and carrot root fly. Garlic is one plant you should plant throughout your garden beds. Plant garlic along side your tomatoes to prevent red spider mites. Diamond back moths won’t bother your cabbage when garlic is standing guard.

Gardening is so much simpler–and rewarding, when you let the plants do the work for you. Now you know which plants which protect your crops from invaders is half the battle. It’s time to dig in and starting growing a strong, healthy crop of produce for your family.