Companion Planting

Companion Planting

  • producing strong odours that distract pests e.g. thyme, basil
  • “fixing nitrogen” from the air into a more available form in the soil, which can feed plants e.g. peas, beans and other legumes
  • releasing chemicals that prevent weed germination e.g. grain rye
  • protecting shade-loving plants from excess sunlight
  • and creating habitats that encourage the presence of beneficial insects e.g. yarrow
  • Composting


    Composts are one of the most effective ways to build soil, but like all living things, they need proper care. Composts need a balanced carbon : nitrogen ratio (usually 30:1), as well as the right amounts of moisture and air in order to produce high quality organic matter. Locate your pile close to a water source, as a compost pile needs plenty of moisture to create an ideal environment for microbes. Composts also need to be turned once a week to provide oxygen to the hardworking bacteria and fungi. It is best to create a contained pile, such as one using wooden shipping pallets, to make sure you maximize the heat in the center of the pile.

    Sheet Mulching

    Sheet Mulching

    Wherever you want to build a new garden bed, this is the most effective way to do it. Start with a thick layer of cardboard and newspaper over the lawn or weeds. Next, use composted manure, seaweed, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, coffee grinds and layer these alternating between carbon (brown material) and nitrogen (green material). Keep the sheet mulch moist and you can even cover it with a tarp to speed up the decomposition since microbes like darkness. In a matter of a few months you will have rich soil your plants will LOVE!

    Beneficial Insects

    Companion Planting

    Bugs got you down? Try planting varieties that attract beneficial insects to keep pests at bay. The following is a list of insects that will help keep your garden happy and what to plant to make them feel welcome:

    • Insect: Bees – Benefits: pollination – Favours: plants with a strong scent, colourful petals and/or good quality nectar
    • Insect: Ladybugs; Benefits: larvae and adults eat Aphids, Mealy bugs, Mites and eggs of other insects; Favours: plants in the Carrot family (Apiacea) e.g. Carrot, Fennel, Dill, Queen Anne’s Lace; Yarrow; Deergrass and other clumping grasses
    • Insect: Lacewings; Benefits: larvae eat softbodied insects, including Aphids, Mealy bugs and Mites (adults eat pollen and nectar); Favours: plants in the Carrot family (Apiacea) e.g. Carrot, Fennel, Dill, Queen Anne’s Lace; Yarrow; Buckwheat; Corn; Amaranth
    • Insect: Spiders; Benefits: eat Aphids, Flea Beetles, Cucumber Beetles, Leafhoppers and others; Favours: straw mulch, undisturbed habitat strips (e.g. hedgerows)

    Project News

    • Optimized-DSC_0323

      Incubator Seed Farm

      Cowichan Incubator Seed Farm   The Cowichan Valley will soon be home to the first of its kind Seed Incubator Farm. Based on the successful ‘Incubator Farm’ model that has been implemented in numerous places to train new farmers, the Cowichan Incub …

      See Full Project

    Upcoming Events

      • Waterwise Gardening

        Saturday, May 27, 2017
        Date: Saturday, May 27 Time: 9:30 am - 12:30 am Cost: $20, $15 for CGC members - pre-registration is required. Where: 360 Duncan Street, Duncan. Cowichan Green Community Meeting Room Join David Pink of Warmland Irrigation and Nora Arajs of...
        Read Full Event