Episode 167 - Show Notes & Advice

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episode 167 | show notes & advice

episode description

For any organic gardener, companion planting is one of the most essential, rewarding and productive ways to ward off bugs and fungal infections.


As the seasons are beginning to turn, it’s a wonderful time to recap the importance and joy of companion planting - Sarah is joined once again by Arthur Parkinson, where we revisit classic combinations, and share some unconventional pairings that you might not have considered.


In this episode, discover

  • The many reasons that companion planting is a fantastic alternative to chemical treatments in the garden
  • Where and how to plant out tagetes for a reliable, much-loved source of protection against green and whitefly
  • Which of the salvias are among our favourites to pair with roses, and when to plant them out




  • The often-underestimated use of basil as a companion plant, making it a perfect partner to tomatoes in the kitchen and garden alike


links and references

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Order Sarah’s book - A Year Full of Flowers

Order Sarah’s book - A Year Full of Veg

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Get in touch: info@sarahraven.com

Episode 167 advice sheet

What makes companion planting perfect for organic gardening (2:20)

Using chemical solutions to kill the bad bugs in the garden comes with the issue of killing the good bugs too, which is a fantastic reason to put your focus onto companion planting. Among the first plants worth a mention is the Tagetes family, perfect for growing around tomatoes and a rich, bold cut flower in its own right.


The perfect balance of tagetes to tomatoes (5:45)

For the average crop of tomatoes you’ll want to plant tagetes between each row, which means that somewhere between 6 and 9 flowers is ample protection for most.


If you have a huge packet of seeds and have some left over, remember that they can be stored in a dry, cold and dark place - that one packet could stand you in good stead for years to come.



Pairing salvias with roses (7:00)

The combination of roses with salvias is well documented, particularly for long time podcast listeners, and the standout variety that Arthur spotlights is the dainty, delicate but gorgeous ‘Nachtvlinder’.


Salvias aren’t hardy, so you’ll have to wait until May to put them out in the garden, but thankfully that’s the period that they’ll be called upon the most to protect from fungal diseases.


Basil as an edible and a companion plant (9:35)

Rather than simply warding off diseases and pests, Basil can be planted to attract pollinators too, making it a companion in the garden and the kitchen alike.


Along the lines of herbs, Sarah also shares the story behind a bed that’s been dedicated to Yellow Mustard - it’s said to be a wonderful soil fumigant, so we’ll keep an eye on its impact here at Perch Hill, which promises to be great for a bed that recently saw aubergine plants succumb to verticillium wilt.

Episode 164 advice sheet

Easy edibles and a classy, colourful Zinnia (3:10)

Top of Jemima’s list is the Calendula Touch of Red Mix, which is such a simple way to bring a fiery flair to any mixed jug of simple flowers, and they’re so productive as cut and come again flowers.


Following those up with a flower that’s beautiful at every stage of its cycle as a half-hardy annual, Zinnia elegans ‘Queeny Red Lime’ is a classy blend of green and red worthy of any beginner’s garden.

A Linaria perfect for instant impact (10:45)

The Linaria maroccana ‘Sweeties’ earns its spot on this list for being such a quick plant to grow - you’ll have amazing flowers in 10-12 weeks, and with seared stem ends they’ll give you nearly two weeks of dazzling vase life.

A bold, brilliant cut-and-come-again Cosmos (16:50)

Cut and come again flowers are some of the most rewarding for new gardeners for just how much they give you, and Cosmos Double Click Cranberries tops out as one of the best. It’s like a handful of ruffled silk with striking colour, and they’re a hit with pollinators too.

How to make Icelandic Poppies thrive (24:50)

Perhaps the most challenging of the beginner plants on this list, the Champagne Bubbles Mix of Icelandic Poppies is a wash of watercolour that’s well worth the extra effort.


Jemima and Sarah share why Icelandic Poppies can be tricky, and how to treat them for best results - it’s a flower that doesn’t like root disturbance, so taking care when transplanting seedlings will help them shine as they flower all summer long.

A stunning selection of Sweet Peas that couldn’t be missed (30:10)

For their universal charm, Sweet Peas couldn’t be missed on this list, and among Jemima’s favourites are the Spanish bullfighter red of ‘Prince of Orange’, more saturated pink-red of ‘Scarlett’, and fragrant violet presence of ‘Cupani’.

Shop the look

Tagetes tenuifoila 'Red Gem'
Tagetes tenuifoila 'Red Gem'
Tagetes tenuifolia 'Tangerine Gem'
Tagetes tenuifolia 'Tangerine Gem'
Tagetes patula 'Linnaeus Burning Embers'
Tagetes patula 'Linnaeus Burning Embers'
Salvia x jamensis 'Nachtvlinder'
Salvia x jamensis 'Nachtvlinder'
Sweet Basil
Sweet Basil
Tagetes minuta
Tagetes minuta