Red Campions as Companions – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

One of the things I have really enjoyed learning about with my Rocket Gardens plants is companion planting. I have, for several seasons now, been planting marigolds and nasturtiums in amongst my veggies and it’s been great. I think a lot of people scoff at it, but for me I have noticed some big differences in my veg patch since using it, not least the increased number of bees and other pollinators, which can only be a good thing!

A couple of weeks ago I picked some red campions that insist on growing in the borders with the intention of popping them in a vase, and I noticed that they were crawling in blackfly. This was a brilliant revelation to me – I normally keep the campions down as they do take over somewhat, but they are really pretty so this year I decided to just let them grow. I’m glad that I did. With their blackfly infestations, my globe artichokes and broad beans should be left untouched this year…great news!

I really recommend giving companion planting a go – there are some very simple things you can do, and even if they don’t have the desired effect you will be providing lots of food for bees and pollinators, as well as making your veg patch look really pretty.

These are my 3 favourite things to do:

  1. Plant chives/garlic/onions next to carrots to deter carrot fly by masking the scent of the carrot foliage. Chive flowers are so pretty and good for the bees too.
  2. Plant nasturtiums near brassicas to attract cabbage white butterflies away from your broccoli and kale.
  3. Plant marigolds/calendula all over the place to attract bees and other pollinators into the veg patch.

I’m now going to let the red campions flourish every season, and I might see if I have any other useful wildflowers popping up in the borders too!