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Permaculture Techniques - Companion Planting
Uses knowledge about specific plants and their characteristics in a deliberate manner to aid the growth of other plants, by placing plants with mutually beneficial associations near each other.
- Plants can assist each other to grow.
- Plants can repel insects or other pests (animals - grazing, etc).
- Plants can repel other plants (eg. used as borders against invasive plants).
- Some specific plants can accumulate trace minerals from soil, which when composted can release these minerals for use.
- Plants can attract pollinating agents (bees, insects, some birds).
- Plan companion planting. The Organic Gardener's Companion (Anne Hazelwood, 1982) recommends organising companion planting and crop rotations on paper first to avoid unhappy combinations and results.
- Determine needs and characteristics of individual plants either by direct observation or by research. Understand action of symbiotic relationship in companion planting between plants - nitrogen fixing, odour, root secretions, supply of nutrients to soil, shelter, shading, discouraging pests through appearance or excretions, physical shape, insect attractant or repellent, sacrificial element.
- Understand it may take a while for benefit to show (eg. marigolds need to be grown over at least one full season to be effective in nematode control).
- Keep records of companion planting and its effects over time.
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