Choosing the Right Plants
When planning a garden, selecting the right plants for your patio garden depends on several factors. The amount of sunlight or shade your patio gets, may also limit your selections.
Most people choose plants based on their visual appeal, as with flowers i.e. color, bloom size or shape, or on their usefulness as with vegetables and herbs. But consider this: choose plants that will help each other grow and you will create a healthier, more abundant garden.
The theory is that certain plants can benefit others when planted in close proximity. Plants offering some mutual benefit are called companion plants and their interactions contribute to the creation of a balanced eco-system in your garden.
Certain herbs both attract beneficial insects and repel insect pests, making them ideal companions for both flowers and vegetables. Sage, thyme, oregano, tansy, rosemary and mint protect neighboring plants with their strong scents while their flower nectar encourages pollinators to visit the garden. Dill attracts the tomato hornworm, so plant it away from your tomato plants to keep them free of this hungry pest. Dill is also a food plant for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar.
In addition to attracting good insects and repelling bad ones, some herbs actually improve the yield and flavor of other plants. Bee balm with its showy flowers and aromatic leaves attracts bees and beneficial insects as well as improves the flavor of tomatoes. Basil, a garden favorite, improves the flavor of tomatoes and lettuce and repels flies and mosquitos. Another common herb, marjoram, can be liberally planted in the garden to enhance the flavor of vegetables and other herbs.
Harnessing the powerful benefits of companion plants will give you
a more diverse garden, which in turn means a stronger, more disease-free
garden. Why not let your plants get by with a little help from their