What is the reality around companion planting? Myth, rumour and ‘old wives’ tales’ abound. But a clue can be discovered in India and adjacent lands exactly where Ayurvedic gardening goes back several thousands of years – and it is based on companion planting.
The excellent news for these of us in the west who are devoted to all-natural gardening is that it shows us a time-tested way to Develop Much more food in our gardens, organically, without having chemical substances. In truth, we could call it eco-intensive gardening.
The notion is to Develop a vast diversity of plants in the similar spot. Every single plant assists the other and Each and every repels insects and other pests that may well household in on one plant species. For instance, beans and peas attract aphids so legumes are planted alongside red or purple kale, cabbage, rhubarb, broccoli or chard.
Why companion planting performs
Why? Mainly because leguminous leaves are green and the other crops have leaves of a unique colour – and texture. Some insects like soft leaves, some are content to chew on fibrous foliage. So if you plant beans, peas, tomatoes and squash about brassica like cabbages and kale you are going to frustrate caterpillars that have soft mouths. And you will deter these beetles with tougher mouths that browse on Additional fibrous plants.
A different trick of Ayurvedic gardening – the ultimate companion planting model – is to set out tall plants that reach for the sun alongside low-developing plants. So you’d Develop peppers, sweet corn (maize), aubergines and indeterminate tomatoes subsequent to lettuce, leeks, onions and root crops.
What is A lot more, these plants would Each and every make use of the soil at distinct levels.
Aromatic herbsGinseng. Read more ... » would go everywhere – to warn off insect pests with keen noses – and in particular about the side of the beds.
Plant diversity offers all-natural pest handle
You would not count on any single plant to have a lot influence on insect predators but if you sow numerous plants – and a multiplicity of varieties – the outcome is formidable.
Nor do you want to rotate crops in the usual way, to stay away from a develop-up of pests and illness in the soil. Each and every time you take out 1 plant, you place back a plant of a distinct species. So you sustain the diversity. The merely plants that keep in the identical location for Much more than a couple of months are perennial aromatic herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano. When you have a long season, as they do in Asia, you can safely raise two or 3 successive crops in one particular year in the identical space.
It is also a no dig gardening technique as, supplied you start off with friable soil, the land does not have to be intensively tilled or double dug. Manure or compost is laid on the soil to be pulled down by the worms. Plants are just tugged out and replaced. As Each and every plant species has a distinct root depth, the soil is mixed and ventilated when the plant is replaced.
A straightforward plan for the organic garden
The Ayurvedic model for intensive organic gardening is a single we can simply copy in our own eco-gardens. The secret is to plan ahead and have many transplants of diverse species prepared to drop into any space as soon as we pull a plant out of it. What we would in no way do is to set out many plants of the identical species with each other. Neat rows of plants of a single species may well be less difficult to weed but they are fated to attract pests.
Of course, there is nothing at all to cease us setting out annual flowers amongst our organic vegetables. A strongly aromatic flower will deter pests all by itself. The ideal candidate is French marigolds (Tagetes patula). Not basically does its strong musky smell repel flying insects, its roots also deter nematodes and other root-crawlers. And its red-orange blossoms make a colourful contrast in a vegetable bed.
Fill your Ayurvedic organic garden with a wide wide variety of odour-wealthy flowers and edible plants and it will each feed your household and beautify your residence!