In good company …

It was rather a wet start to the day this morning. Luckily it was just more of a drizzle … and it stopped before turning into full rain… phewww! It is already cold as it is without heavy rainfalls and strong winds to add to the chill!

How cold? The temperature reads 4.7°C when I checked at 9.50am. I could not believe my eyes when I saw how low the temperature was! Brrrrrr … it is even colder than on Monday morning! The maximum temperature forecast for today in Lausanne is only 12°C! Argghhh  … so these saints de glace  (literally, ice saints because the dates of 11, 12 and 13 May are associated to particular saints according to the Catholic calendar) are really working their magic on the weather!… oooh my poor plants on the balcony! I just hope the less sturdy and not-so-tough ones will survive this plunge in temperature until the thermometer goes back up! 😦

In addition to the chilly May weather, there are still the unwanted visitors … a.k.a. naughty bugs and insects … that they have to deal with in order to survive. Ahhhh …. poor them! I have seen some aphids making their unwanted presence among my plants — the broad beans and the salad leaves. Which was why I was happy to find my little friend on Monday to bring it home for adoption!

But since a lone (but cute) little bug cannot do wonders … or even if there are a few of them … so I have also taken the extra step of re-arranging and re-planting some of the plants (which was what I had been busy doing on Sunday) … so that they could help and protect each other. In gardening jargon, it is called companion planting.

So here are some of the things that I did last Sunday to my edible garden …

I re-arranged my pots of plants so that those that repel unwanted insects are placed closed to those that attract them. Since I know potatoes are a paradise for aphids (from my experience last year), I placed two pots of garlic plants and a blooming pot of chives very close to my growing potato plants. As you can see, the bags of potato plants are growing well in their straw-filled bags. And as enforcement, I have placed pots of mints and French marigold behind them.

Will they work to deter the nasty aphids? Errr … only time will tell lah! At least, I will have tried! 🙂

Tomato and pepper plants (which are good buddies to each other) planted with basil and chives. Basil is supposed to enhance the flavour of tomatoes, and a bit of chives to help repel the aphids … hopefully. But I think more enforcement from insect-repelling plants is needed here.

My self-watering container now re-planted with cucumbers and pepper plants … as well as nasturtium in the middle. Some claim cucumbers should not be planted with tomatoes (which was their company in the other planter) … so I decided to let them join the peppers. Better to be safe than sorry!

Nasturtium is not only good as salads and produce beautiful flowers, it also enhances the flavour of cucumbers … and, most importantly, it is also supposed to help repel cucumber beetles and aphids. In one article I have read, it is claimed that nasturtium attract aphids, with the end effect being that the aphids do not go to the fruit plants. This claim seems to contradict the other articles I have read …. so this will be another thing that I will find out about … soon enough! 😉

Another planter … planted with more tomato plants, coloured chard, French marigold as well as basil to enhance the flavour of tomatoes. I had to re-plant all the coloured chards to join the tomatoes and pepper plants as they were initially planted with the wrong company!!

More tomatoes and coloured chards … and more chives and French marigold for protection!!

Salads and parsley … another favourite haunts of the pesky aphids! So … more French marigolds here to offer a bit of protection!

French marigold as well as geraniums inter-planted with strawberries on the railings.

Although marigold can be planted nearly everywhere to help repel unwanted insects, especially whitefly … however, I had made the mistake of planting one with one of the broad bean plants earlier on. A big mistake it seemed … as I learnt that these two are not buddies! Ooops …  so I am now trying to grow nasturtium with my bean plants.

Hmmm … who knew that companion planting can be so complicated, huh?! I suppose it will get easier with time and experience … and I look forward to gaining that experience!! 😉

Other entries on my balcony garden (2012):

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