Interplanting

Beetroot interplanting
I’m now on week 25 of my pregnancy and boy, have I grown. I have been more determined to keep on growing despite having to take pretty much everything so much more slowly! So I’m quite pleased that despite all this, so far I’ve managed to plant in the onions, shallots, sow carrots, get the potatoes in (albeit it a little late), plant gooseberry bushes, and with my mum’s help last month we got the early peas in, and planted the parnsips and calabrese too.

Whilst this is most definitely progress, with everything yet to mature there’s still a lot of spare space in between the main crops in the big veg plot. So I’ve decided to have a go at interplanting – using smaller, quick-to-mature plants that utilise the spaces between the slower growers like the calabrese and parsnips.

Space between parsnips for interplanting

The beetroot went in about three weeks ago and is doing well. I’m not hugely keen on boiled beetroot so I’m think I might have a go at pickling it myself! And this recent bout of hot, sunny days followed by damp and muggy days has seen an explosion in growing speed. Everything is taking off at great speed so there’s definitely time to get some more lettuces and radishes in as well.

Interplanting can also include thrifty companion plants – complementary flowers or plants that help to create a plant community that can improve pollination or deter pests and diseases. For instance, marigolds are often planted around tomatoes to deter aphids, and nasturtiums are used to attract blackfly away from beans. Calendula are said to help improve the pollination of courgette flowers and mint (keep it planted in the ground in a pot or it’ll grow rampantly) or alliums help keep carrotfly at bay.

I love the idea of planting sweet peas around my legumes to encourage bean flower pollination – I picked up a couple of cheap plants at my local nursery and will plant them close to my early peas. Hopefully they’ll also add some colour and scent to the veg patch too. I might be a practical soul, but I can’t deny I like to see a little bit of pretty in the vegetable garden too…

Munchkin pumpkins

Munchkin pumpkins growing up the arch

 

Comments

  1. Great site! Go for the pickled beetroot – we tend to use a 50/50 mix of spiced malt vinegar and balsamic vinegar, to give a richer flavour, to anything we pickle (Red Sun shallots are our favourites!). With beetroot we grow Boltardy, which has never bolted for us, and pick it into the winter as we need it. We have a bowl in the fridge with the vinegar in, and just keep adding sliced boiled beetroot to it as it pickles so quickly, and eat it from the fridge rather than bottling it. Leaving it in the ground means more space in our tiny kitchen 😉

    • Thanks for the heads up! I am looking forward to giving my own pickling a go so your tip is helpful 🙂 Do you add any spices or just use the spiced vinegar, and how long do you leave the beetroot in the vinegar for before eating?

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