Hi everyone! I'm a newbie gardener in the process of planning a vege garden and am very keen to use companion planting as I really don't want to use chemicals on our food. I saw one design that had comfrey planted in a raised bed under a blackberry - any chance someone could confirm whether this would be a happy relationship or would the comfrey compete with the blackberry? 

I've done a fair amount of reading up on what works with what in preparation for my own garden but I can't quite get my head around how companion planting works in practice so I'm hoping someone can explain it to me (please excuse my ignorance!). Could someone please let me know how it works having perennials in with veges? My limited experience means that I can only envisage poor perennials being massacred as I remove all the spent vege plants and beef up the soil again and I'm unsure how to work the companion plants in with crop rotation. As an example, marigolds are beneficial planted with brassicas (I hope I got that right). So when I move my brassica bed from bed A to bed B, am I meant to move my marigolds with them or do I need to have marigolds in every bed? Or does companion planting not work with crop rotation? 

I'm assuming a separate permanent bed of marigolds wouldn't work as they need to be planted in the same soil? And I guess the same goes for helpful herbs - I'm thinking of having a permanent central bed of herbs but wasn't sure if they would still benefit the surrounding garden if they were planted separately ... I had hoped to have a garden where all the plants are intermingled but I was going cross-eyed trying to work out how to manage that, probably over-complicating it!

Any help would be really appreciated!

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Hi Vicki,
I find using plants like marigolds, it's just as easy to add a few to each raised bed, just as with herbs - I put them in along the edges or in the centre. For instance, over this summer I had calendulas, flat leaf parsley, borage and the like in all my beds - and just pulled out the plants that either tried to overwhelm my seasonal plantings or when they started to look knackered. I also have a permanent herb bed for easy access(why is it you always need some kitchen herbs when it's pouring down and is completely dark?) but when I'm planning ahead I use some from the vege beds.
Hope this helps.
hi Vicki, I had nearly finished a lengthy reply to you a couple of months back when my battery failed with out warning, so I'll try replying in installments. I cant find any specific info that comfrey and blackberry make good or bad companions for each other. However comfrey is recommended as a companion under fruit trees. It has deep roots and does not compete for nutrients but rather draws nutrients up and it is recommended to cut it every couple of months over the growing season and use it as mulch which would be handy for the blackberry, that is if you are not making liquid fertiliser with it. Tansy and grape are recommended as companions for blackberry.
I am new to all this too and getting the hang of it slowly ..
I just found this on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants

I'm new to this site. Is there somewhere on here that shows a list of companion plants and what to plant them with? I'm also interested in being part of garden produce exchange. I have set up a group on my local Neighbourly site, but people aren't really getting into swopping as yet. Is there a place to go on this site, where there is produce exchange? I would like to do it locally to limit my carbon footprint, re traveling between places. Any help will be gratefully accepted! 

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