Nasturtium are my favourite companion plants. Not only do they add a super peppery beauty to salads but they are irresistible to aphids, black fly and other baddies attracting them away from your beans be they French, runner or broad. They grow big and are best planted on the edges of the plot or in movable pots. They also attract cabbage white butterfly’s away from brassica for a place to lay their eggs so caterpillars don’t make a light meal of your veggies. And if you’re quick their seedpods make excellent homemade capers, in fact they are almost a veg plant in their own right!
In the past I’ve always avoided growing the old traditional puffy marigold. More fool me! These rather old-fashioned pompoms are great as companion plants to tomatoes and other veg as they are incredibly attractive to black fly. Pop them in in-between plants and they will ‘take one for the team’ and attract the fly away from the crop. They also attract beneficial insects like ladybirds and hoverflies who will help with pollination and make a meal of those pesky black fly bugs.
Another beautiful edible, calendula is a summer essential in our garden and great companion to squash and courgettes which need to be cross pollinated. The sunny orange/yellow daisy like flowers are attractors to bees and other pollinating critters. Pick petals to decorate cakes, tarts or biscuits.
There isn’t a year Mrs Malley doesn’t grow masses of sweet peas. Apparently, the scent cannot be commercially reproduced! Not only do these stunners make great cut flowers making any home smell amazing but if you grow a few in with your runner beans they help attract those pollinators we are so fond about!
Andy LOVES borage, its large and can take over but its blue/pink/white star shaped flowers are beautiful, attract bees and other pollinating insects as well as predatory bugs who will eat those pesky aphids. the flowers are wonderful frozen in ice, floating on a cocktail or sprinkled on a salad. Plant on corners of your plot or in pots and your garden will be a hive of activity. Pun very much intended!
Great as cut and dried flowers. Yarrow is a staple in my flower beds. Pop it in the veg patch and it will attract ladybirds amongst other beneficial bugs. Ladybirds are my current go to on the war against black fly/aphids – you can buy them and pop them on your damaged plants so planting flowers like yarrow will be an incentive for your new tenants to stick around longer. Yarrow is also said to have gastrointestinal benefits, helping to elevate diarrhoea and lower blood pressure. You can make a bitter tea from the young leaves and also use the leaves as a substitute for tarragon.