The Art of Companion Planting
2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited
Companion planting is a traditional technique used by organic growers to create a better growing environment. Examples of good companion plants are basil, tomatoes, French marigolds, thyme and pansies.
French marigolds are a classic companion plant, as they are attractive to hoverflies, which feast on aphids. They also emit a pungent odor, which helps to repel pests. Scent is an important element of companion planting, and using strong-smelling culinary herbs, such as thyme, can confuse pests as to the location of their prey.
- Size: Containers of any size
- Suits: A patio
- Soil: Organic multipurpose compost
- Site: Sunny and fairly sheltered
- 1 x basil
- 2 x Tagetes French group
- 1 x cherry tomato such as “Gardener’s Delight”
- 2 x variegated thyme
Planting and Aftercare
Make sure the base of the container has adequate drainage holes and then cover these with broken pots to ensure the holes do not get blocked with compost. Fill the container about two-thirds full, and then plant. Place the tomato toward the back of the container, the medium-sized basil in the center and the two thymes next to the edge, where they will trail, softening the effect. As this is quite a densely planted pot, it needs watering to make sure it doesn’t dry out. It will also need a weekly feed with a high-potassium tomato fertilizer as soon as the first truss of flowers have started to turn into fruits. Tie the tomato onto a stake for support.