A Change in the weather
Well the weather this week has been a complete change, with us having the warmest valentine’s day in 21 years. I have seen out in the garden a butterfly, a very large bumble bee, other solitary bees and numerous other bugs and flies, the weather is really teasing us. With this much warmth, the greenhouse has really heated up and seeds and plants are growing vigorously which I don’t really want them to do because you can guarantee the weather will change soon and it will be too cold for any planting outside. Though I must not grumble, it is nice not to have to do gardening in half a dozen layers of clothing and cold feet.
This year I have decided to try companion planting in the kitchen garden. At first look it seems quite simple but as I have done more research you realise a lot of vegetables don’t like sharing their space with certain vegetables, plants or herbs. So, I have sat down and with print offs, high lighter pens and note pad I have made a list of herbs and other vegetables that are happy to grow and be beneficial together. A lot of herbs can be used, mint, rosemary, sage etc, though I will be growing the mint in pots so it doesn’t go wild in the plot.The herbs work as a repellent against various bugs, e.g. rosemary repels cabbage fly and they mask the odour of the growing vegetable.
Mint is also meant to repel slugs so this good grown around lettuces. Radish is often used as a trap crop so if you are not a great lover of this vegetable you can grow these near cabbages, carrots, cucumber’s and any of the allium family. Spring onions are good near carrots as they repel carrot fly.
You can also use a variety of flowers, for example, nasturtiums and marigolds. Not only do they provide a splash of colour but they repel insects or the insect is drawn to the flower and eats this instead of the vegetable. But you also need to be careful of what doesn’t like sharing space. Beets and beans complete for growth so if grown near each other you may end up with a poor harvest. Young dill improves the growth and health of tomatoes but once the dill matures, if not moved away from the tomato, it will encourage tomato horn worms. But growing basil about 10 inches from tomatoes increases the yield of the plant. I shall enjoy companion gardening this year and it will be interesting to see the results as the months progress.
With the lovely weather this week I have been able to continue with the weeding and clearing of the flower borders around the garden. The kitchen garden is quiet at the moment with the plots still covered in a layer of manure, I was going to cheat and use the rotavator to dig it in but this has decided to die so if it's still good weather next week it will be out with my trusty spade and fork for a weekly work out.
In the greenhouse the various seeds I have sown have either started or are growing in the heated propagators. Though in my ‘nursery propagator’ I did have an unwanted visitor during one night. The lid has got a small hole in it but this was big enough for a mouse to get in and have a great time. It had a dig in the tray where the parsley is growing, luckily not too much damage was done but then it decided to have a wander through my young carrots and nibble the tops of the leaves, I was not a happy gardener when I saw this. Also, all but one of the sweet peas I was growing, it decided to dig a hole at the base and then bite through the stem but not eat it. I’m glad I was on my own when I found these. Time for mouse prevention.