Most book regarding companion planting has given suggestion to make companion planting work well is not to plant the same kind of plant in a straight row but to plant in blocks and inter-planting with other plants that give good support or compatible to grow with. Moreover, not to just focus on getting them on the same plot but grow them scatter on different place in the garden. In my first year of growing cauliflower , we grew them in 2 straight row with lack of knowledge about companion planting and it was time consuming to get rid of the eggs and caterpillars. Those cauliflower were not a beauty and the leaves were badly munched, sometime we were tempted to just give up on the cauliflowers. On top of that, some of the cauliflower plants were also badly infested with aphids which cause the plants growth to be stunted. We lost many cauliflower plant to these pests. So, on our second year we decided not to repeat the same mistake again and try to follow this simple basic rules:
1)Plant in blocks, not rows.
2)Inter-planting with other plants
3)Plant in different location in the patch. It does not matter even the patch does not look neat and organise as long we can avoid the pest (contain them in one place). Think of it as playing hide and won't be seek.
4)Succession sowing ( one of the last sowing, bye-bye butterfly mom too cold for you now, only worry about snail and slug).
Our second year of growing cauliflowers were a success, save so much time and money (don't even have to make organic spray that often). We harvested more than 50 cauliflowers which is more than double the amount of harvest in the first year from our small garden.
Here are some cauliflower combination inter-planting with other plants that we did last year. I was amazed in 1metre X 1 metre persquare plot there were so many variety of plants that we can inter-plant.
Peas growing vertically behind 3 cauliflower plants. Growing in-front of cauliflowers are leeks, carrots, corianders,lettuces and 2 poppy plants.
Peas growing vertically, 2 cauliflower plants were growing side by side with 3 celery plants, calendulas and phyrethrum plants. There are 3 sad-looking chili plants near the pathway which bravely withstand winter season which we treated as perennial instead of annual. Not a pretty sight in winter but many chilies for us now.
Coriander don't mind shade so a row of corianders at the back, 3 celery plants in the middle and poppy as a border on the front. Coriander grew taller and taller as they bolt, when they are flowering it will be most effective against pests like aphids and sap suckers.
We have fresh seeds of Zinnia (Lilliput Mix), Bitter Gourd, Leaf Amaranth (Chinese Spinach) and Portulaca (Moss Rose) that we will like to share with 3 blogs that has kindly share their experience in companion gardening by linking their post within this"Companion Week" , which will be chosen randomly.
Happy reading and hope you have a relaxing long Easter weekend!