Companion Planting

Native American companion planting strategyI’ve been doing some revision for my first exam (which is in three weeks) – the RBGE booklet I’m working through asked for examples of companion planting. I’ve jotted some notes about planting onions with carrots because the smell repels carrot fly (classic field system in Brittany), also about planting Calendula or Tagetes to attract pests away from the vegetables, or Borago officionalis to attract pollinators. But the best example of companion planting I’ve ever seen is the Three Sisters – the native Americans knew how to make best use of their soil and limited growing season. Beans fix nitrogen so nutrify soil for the others. Water dripping off the maize irrigates the squash (and the leaves provide shade from scorching). I don’t think this is necessarily the right answer for the RHS (they would probably describe this as intercropping – planting two or more crops in the same bed) but it’ll do for me.

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