Intrigued by the idea of companion planting, I went in search of more information on it. I wanted to find information specific to Australia (so much seems to be geared to a Northern hemisphere climate), and I found two books that I thought looked quite interesting: Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little and Jackie French’s Guide to Companion Planting in Australia. (Both of these books have recently been updated and re-printed, but I don’t seem to be able to track down the new copies yet).
Being both fiscally responsible and somewhat impatient, I scoured nearby libraries for a copy of either of these books and struck gold at my University library who had an older copy of Brenda Little’s book:
I must say that I found this book incredibly helpful! While it didn’t contain much in the way of general information, it did exactly what it said it would (contain information about companion planting) and in an easy-to-find reference system.
Divided alphabetically, it listed pretty much anything you could possibly need to look up, from apples to yarrow. And, as I read it (and frantically jotted down notes) I was surprised to discover that the companions weren’t just other fruits or vegetables. Herbs and ornamental flowers were mentioned, too. And this made me think of the French potager garden.
A few years ago I went to an old estate (I can’t recall where) and instead of a kitchen garden, they had a potager garden where flowers, vegetables and herbs were interplanted. Back then I only had a courtyard, so it wasn’t really practical, but I had been so impressed that it made me wish I had a house.
The idea has festered in the back of my mind since, though I haven’t really given it much active thought. Just every so often I’d think “a potager garden, maybe one day that’d be a nice idea”. Well, I’ve decided that this is the year I make it happen!
While some of the information about the companions surprises me (apparently none of the vegetables and established fruit trees like the tomatoes I’ve been planting alongside them, though I’ve certainly seen no indication of it), I find enough of it intriguing that the books have gone on my Christmas wish-list (along with a few others) and I intend to give it a go. Especially as I’ve just spotted aphids on my roses again.
Of course, this may mean that I need another trip to Diggers…