Exploring which plants are beneficial to each other when planted together and which plants are best kept apart.
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  • Just watched this great little youtube video with a wealth of companion planting advice very well done.


  • Thank you Janet and Earl for your advice. I will plant a few of the Bocking 14 Russian Comfrey in light of that. 


  • Josh the Russian comfrey which is really what we have access to, does increase by root division as Earl says, but you can help it along.  When you take the leaves, pull them out, and this stimulates the plant to produce more, and quickly. If you wait until the flower stem is developed, and it takes some effort to get it out, you often get some root with it; cut the stem leaving 10-15cm above the root, plant it, and use the top part in your mulch. When your plants are well established - give them a year or so, take your spade and chop through the plants about 10cm below the ground, and plant the roots you have dug out. This will stimulate the roots which you have left damaged, and they will send up shoots from all around the edges of those roots, making the whole plant bigger and much more vigorous. This will increase your stock and you can do this every year. I suggest that you plant small areas of your fence lines thickly, and keep doing this. This is much more effective than planting sparsely and waiting for the plants to expand by themselves. If I haven't been clear, please ask more questions. 

  • Josh, you really don't want a comfrey plant with viable seeds, the it WILL take over. The great plus of Russian comfrey is that it increases only by root division which is slow and CAN be sheet mulched to death if needed.

    I have it all over the place (intentionally) but I still keep an eye on its creep anywhere near gardens.

    Also, keep an eye on it where there are small seedlings you want to keep. It grows so vigorously and shades so deeply that I have had it kill a couple of small trees (under 40cm at planting) because it just overwhelmed them. But cut and drop or compost the leaves at will, about 3 times a season and the bees LOVE the flowers.

  • Hi everyone,

    I am currently rescuing/re-establishing the gardens along the fence lines of my property. I am working towards having fruit trees in the ground by next winter and part of that process is weed suppression and soil nourishment. So far I have been mulching over the gardens with old lawn clippings and general garden waste. To help suppress unwanted plants from establishing I have planted several squash and pumpkins, the theory being I get cover crop and an edible yield. I am interested in planting comfrey but as I have never grown it before i would like to hear any input people have in regards to experiences in maintaining it and preventing it from taking over. I understand the russian variety has sterile seeds but I would prefer the original variety.

  • Cheers for that Lynn :) i think i'll slip a few bean seeds in now then. iv already under planted corn with heritage pumpkins and nasturiums, so wont take much to pop a few in ..

  • Hi Cyndi - personally, I'm a  'space saver' gardener. I'll cram what I can into a small space and to heck with it! LOL  So my corn was planted in a block of about 4 rows by 8, and only about 8 inches apart, both ways. I think it helped, actually, because the bean runner would climb one stalk and latch onto others as well, making the whole block quite strong. I did only plant the beans on the outside corns though, not the ones in the middle of the block - and the outer ones seemed to help protect the inner ones from winds. But me...I just experiment, use some crazy intuition/ideas, and biff out what doesn't work for me. I'm not much of a 'logical' gardener LOL

  • Hi guys, just wondering on using the 'Three sisters' method, how far apart do you plant the corn so as to regularly pick the beans?

  • hi kiwi...I've used the Three Sisters method before (corn, beans, squash) and found it to be quite successful. Yes I planted them all at the same time, the beans and squash from seed with the corn as seedlings. Not sure if this is the true Indian method - I think they do them all from seed. The corn stalks were strong enough to hold the beans and the beans didn't seem to inhibit the cobs from forming. The squash/pumpkin leaves helped keep the soil protected from direct sun/drying out. It was an OK method, which I don't have the garden space for this year, sadly.

  • When planting beans, corn, squash together do you plant all of the seeds at the same time?  I am having a hard time seeing how this could work well as all my beans have a good,"strangle-hold," the whatever they are climbing....do the bean vines inhibit the corn from forming on the stalks?  Also, my pumpkins and squash climb right up onto anything near them, not sure the corn would be save from them!

    Sounds good though, and I have grown cukes with corn before but the corn was already quite high when I put the cuke in.

    If anyone has grown this way will you be so kind as to tell me how your planting turned out?

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Companion plant to crop ratios / equations? Do they exist?

Hi foks, An odd question has been nagging me for years but ive never got around to asking advice: Is there a standard way of calculating how many companion plants (per square metre) are required for effective protection against pests? For example, for every eggplant, how many marigolds / calendula would i need to plant to increase their yield? To keep whitefly away from my cabbages, how many marigolds / calendula should I plant? I know it sounds odd, but there must be an answer..i can safely…

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Companion Planting in practice

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…

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