Having spent a lot of yesterday afternoon pottering about on the balcony as well as doing a little online research into growing my own veggies, I’ve decided to do something a little different for
today’s yesterday’s topic- Best Friends.
I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of companion planting ever since I first came across Mum planting marigolds and nasturtiums alongside her vegetables. I asked about it and liked the idea, but filed it at the back of my mind in the ‘retain for use when I have a garden‘ folder, along with how to take cuttings and use a propagator. I’ve recently started to plant up our balcony, and having had a good old browse through a borrowed book from Mum, I’ve been getting ideas for growing our own within our tiny patch of outside space. Limited though we are on space, we (and particularly I) wanted to grow what we can and have our first go at home grown eats.
Yesterday, I potted up a few tomato plants that I was lucky enough to get for free from a colleague whose greenhouse was becoming over-run. I already had a big tub planted up with two Tumbler plants as well as one which the label says is Coraco de Boi but I think it may be Cuor di bue, which one of my Mum’s friend grew from seed, but given the opportunity to try out a few other varieties, I jumped at the chance and filled a plastic bag with three plants. Andrew brought in quite a selection- about 6 varieties– and I made my way home with 3 plants of different varieties to try- Sungold, Marmande and Incas. Yesterday I tootled about planting up my new additons, and having read up on companion plants for tomatoes- and decided that fresh basil would also be rather nice to eat with the tomatoes– I sprinkled basil seeds into the soil around the plants in the hope that it might have sprung up by the time my plants produce fruit.
Why do Tomato and Basil go together so well? It’s thought that the basis deter whitefly and can even be though to intensify the flavours of tomatoes when the two are grown together. Interesting stuff. So, providing my growing goes to plan, here’s what I should expect from my tomato varieties:
Tumbler- ideal for pots, this should be a heavy cropping red cherry tomato;
Cuor di bue– this is a very curiously shaped Italian variety. The name means ‘Ox heart’;
Sungold- yellowey red cherry tomatoes;
Marmande- big, red, beefsteak tomatoes (hopefully mine will be without the blight);
Incas– lovely, red, plum tomatoes.
Now all I need to do is get hold of a buffalo to milk, and I’ve got a full on home-made salad at my fingertips. Hopefully my tomatoes work out as planned! I can barely wait to try them. Expect progress reports and tomato recipes a plenty in the coming months.
Some other companion planting combinations I would love to try if I had more space:
Tomatoes and French marigolds– I love the idea of this combo, but I think this is better suited to large pots or tomatoes grown in a plot, and I just don’t have the space. The marigolds keep away the aphids apparently, but I’ll stick with my basil for now.
Dwarf runner beans and sweetcorn- the beans grow up the sweetcorn, what a lovely thought! According to my book, this combination originally came from American Indian companion planting.
Beans and sunflowers- a colourful variation of the above.
Sage and carrots- not only a good addition for a kitchen garden, the sage and carrots both repel each other’s pests.
Nasturtiums and cabbages– the nasturtiums become a magnet for caterpillars, leaving the cabbages unscathed.
Garlic and roses- the odour from the garlic repels aphids, leaving your roses, well, rosy.
As usual, image credits by clicking each image to it’s source.
This post represents day eighteen of Blog Every Day in May #BEDM with Rosalilium