These days more and more Kiwis are growing their own herbs and vegetables. And more and more gardeners are taking a natural and organic approach to gardening. This means less chemicals and more thought about what plants might be beneficial to grow next to each other.
This approach of growing certain plants for the benefit of other plants is called companion planting and the idea has been around for centuries.
And marigolds are probably the most famous companion plant around. This brightly coloured flower just happens to produce a strong smell which repels many insects and their roots also contain a pesticidal chemical which kills nematodes (microscopic parasites living in the soil).
Marigolds are said to deter aphids from tomatoes and roses, and nematodes from potatoes and other root crops. They’re also said to keep white cabbage moths away from brassicas and will deter flies and mosquitoes.
Plus, they look pretty! Marigolds are probably most well-known as an orange flower but they also come in red, cream, lemon and apricot colours. Mass-planted, they will create a stunning visual effect in your flower bed or vegetable garden.
So, next time you’re at your local supermarket or Bunnings pick up some Awapuni Nurseries marigold plants. Or head to our online store at www.awapuni.co.nz and get some delivered direct to your door.
Once you’ve got your plants you need to decide in which part of the garden they will be most beneficial. Some gardeners like to grow marigolds in the corner of their vege plot or others take it to the next level and create a ‘barrier’ of marigolds around their garden – in particular around plants like lettuces and those mentioned above.
Each plant will grow to around 20cm high and should be planted approximately 15cm apart from the next.
In around six to eight weeks your marigolds should start to flower and you can judge for yourself their effectiveness as a companion plant.