Welcome to The Herb Cottage

Purple Basil The Herb Cottage Website is your source for information about herb growing and gardening, with an emphasis on growing and gardening in the humid south where winters are mild and summers are very hot and humid with the occasional hurricane or drenching rain. As with many parts of the country, the weather seems to have become more extreme, and as gardeners, we have to learn to do our best to cope with the weather. We sure can't change it!!

Companion Planting

Many people believe that certain plants do better planted along side other particular plants. This is known as Companion Planting. Sometimes the idea is one plant actually helps the other plant grow better. Another idea is that one plant will bring beneficial insects to bear upon its companion. And, yet another idea is that one plant will help repel insects from its companion.

What ever the reasons, Companion Planting is a tried and true method of planting a garden. Below are some ideas for you to try in your gardens. If you are a container gardener, you can plant companions together in the same container or simply place companionable containers near each other.

Roses and chives: Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons, because garlic is said to repel rose pests. Garlic chives probably are just as repellent, and their small purple or white flowers in late spring looks great with rose flowers and foliage.

Tomatoes and cabbage: Tomatoes are repellent to diamondback moth larvae, which are caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Cucumbers and nasturtiums: The nasturtium's vining stems make them a great companion rambling among the cucumbers and squash, suggests Sally Jean Cunningham, master gardener and author of Great Garden Companions. Nasturtiums "are reputed to repel cucumber beetles, but I depend on them more as habitat for predatory insects," such as spiders and ground beetles.

Peppers and pigweed or ragweed: Leafminers preferred the weeds to pepper plants in a study at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia. Just be careful to remove the weeds' flowers before they set seed or you'll have trouble controlling the weeds.

Cabbage and dill: "Dill is a great companion for cabbage family plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts," Cunningham says. "The cabbages support the floppy dill," while the dill attracts the tiny beneficial wasps that control imported cabbageworms and other cabbage pests.

Corn and beans: The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armyworms and leaf beetles. And bean vinesclimb up the corn stalks.

Radishes and spinach: Radishes attract leafminers away from the spinach. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves doesn't prevent the radishes from growing nicely underground.

Potatoes and sweet alyssum: The sweet alyssum has tiny flowers that attract delicate beneficial insects, such as predatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssum alongside bushy crops like potatoes, or let it spread to form a living ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Bonus: The alyssum's sweet fragrance will scent your garden all summer.

Cauliflower and dwarf zinnias: The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and otherpredators that help protect cauliflower.

Collards and catnip: Studies have found that planting catnip alongside collards reduces flea-beetle damage on the collards.