Companion planting attracts pollinators and repels pests

Companion Planting

Planting plants that have a beneficial impact on each other, either because they contribute something to the soil, attract beneficial insects, mask the scent of a delicious neighbour, or visually camouflage a tasty crop, is commonly referred to as "Companion Planting".

Companion planting can be as simple or complex as you choose, but to be highly effective, you may need to let go of your perfect rows and monoculture plantings. What? That sounds crazy, but it’s true. Of course, you can still plant that row of kale in your vegie garden, but be aware that this is like putting up a neon sign to passing pests, and they may just take up your unintended invite, whether you like it or not.

For those of us with a touch of OCD, haphazard planting gets your heart pumping and anxiety levels rise through the roof. An alternative is to plant in patterns, rather than obvious blocks ... hopefully this helps to still your racing heart!

Of course, as with anything, it is your choice how far you take it. If you would like to plant comfrey with fruit trees because it acts as a humble ground cover, suppressing weeds while bringing valuable nutrients up into the shallower soil profile for your fruit trees to use, then that’s ok. If you would rather just sow a decoy crop away from your main crop to attract pests to a different part of the garden, that’s fine too. You must find the balance that works for you.

There are loads of proven planting combinations that have a beneficial impact in your garden, and while some are more complex, some are simple; like planting tomatoes with basil, and potatoes with peas. There are also a few plants that should never be planted together too, like tomatoes and potatoes, and peas with any onions.

Some plants repel pests, like tansy and mint, while others attract beneficial insects and pollinators like flowering cosmos and dill.

Anything that lowers the need for pesticides in the garden is better for you and the environment, and understanding which plants help and/or hinder each other is yet another interesting layer to growing your own garden knowledge.

Fact sheet - Three Sisters

Practised by Native Americans thousands of years ago, the Three Sisters is an ancient form of Companion Planting and is still widely planted in vegie gardens across the world today.  Click MORE to read all about it.

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Flowers make great companions

Flowers attract pollinators and predators to the garden with coneflowers (Echinacea sp). Speedings available now! Click MORE.

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Companion Planting Chart

New Australian companion planting chart, exclusive to Diggers!

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