Sunday, 25 March 2007

Food Gardening For Beginners - Part 8

Companion Planting for Fruit Trees

I have decided to replant some of my Companion Plants around the Fruit Trees. The chooks have all but destroyed the earlier plantings and that, along with the very dry conditions we have been experiencing lately, has meant very few have survived. Now I mainly plant the Companions on the Edge Bed on the other side of their fence line.

The chooks are doing an excellent job of keeping pests at bay but they don't have access to all of the fruit trees.

I have a Plum, 2 Apples, a Cherry and a Pear tree out of the chooks main enclosure. I have put Chippee the Bantam in a smaller enclosure under the William Pear and Cox's Orange Pippin Apple but I am still having problems with Codling Moth and as the mad Bantam insists upon escaping everyday, she isn't patrolling the bases of the fruit trees as well as she should.

I had to bury poor old Tippee yesterday so that leaves just 2 old girl chooks in the Fruit Tree area with about 9 trees. I think Chippee can return to that area with the big chooks, I might even bring the other three into this enclosure too. Of course the mad Bantam will have to have her own house put in the other run but that won't be too hard to manage.

I intend to band the Apple and Pear trees this year and replace the pheromone lures (see here or here) next season to combat the Codling Moth but I'd like to get some helpful plants growing there too.
From some books and charts I have found the following plants that grow well here. I leave it up to you to decide whether or not they make a difference to your fruit crops.

Companions to Fruit Trees:

Apple trees - Wallflowers, Yarrow, Calendulas, Roman Wormwood and Chives and Nasturtiums in summer.

Pear Trees - Southernwood, Yarrow, Mustard, garlic and Chives, Tansy and Nasturtiums in summer.

Plum trees - Southernwood, Yarrow, and Tansy and Chives in summer.

Cherry trees - Like Yarrow, Garlic, Onion, Tansy and Nasturtium.

Southernwood: Artemesia abrotanum

Tansy: Tanacetum vulgare

Calendula: Calendula officinalis

Wallflower: Erysimum cheiri

It should also be noted that Pear and Plum trees don't like grass growing around their roots. Also that Apples don't like Potatoes nor do Apricots who also don't do well with Tomatoes nearby.

My other fruit trees are Peach and Nectarines who like the same things, as well as each other, namely Southernwood, Yarrow, Mustard, Spinach with Tansy, Garlic and Chives, Nasturtiums, Lemon Balm and Marigolds in summer.

Apricot trees like Southernwood with Basil and Tansy in summer.

Chives: Allium schoenoprasum

Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium

Grapevine companions are Lucerne, (great cut for mulch too), Geraniums, Oregano, Hyssop and Mustard (which I need to try again) and in summer Tansy and Basil.

Scented Geranium:Pelargonium graveolens

Lucerne: Medicago sativa

Oregano: Origanum vulgare

Strawberry Plants like Borage, Pyrethrum (I use Feverfew that grows better here) Spinach, Lettuce But not the cabbage family.

Feverfew: Tanacetum parthenium

Raspberry Canes like Tansy, Marigolds and Rue (but I don't like Rue so I don't grow it near them) but not Potatoes.

Rue: Ruta graveolens

My new Citrus Trees this year have Guava (Strawberry) and Lavender planted nearby but I also have planted other fast growing plants nearby for frost protection.

Lavender: Lavendula officinalis

Books helpful on this subject include:
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little
Jackie French's Guide to Companion Planting in Australia and New Zealand
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Companion Planting Chart by Southern Holdings, Tasmania.

Go here for Food Gardening For Beginners Part 9 - Compost Making


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