Organic Growing By Companion Planting Part 3

Another clever bit of companion planting comes in the fruit orchard, or in my case a few years ago a few fruit trees scattered around my back garden! This one involves one of my favourite fruits, apples.


Apples when not sprayed with anything are often troubled by the ever-popular (and oft caricatured in cartoons) coddling moth and it's destructive grubs, which contrary to popular belief actually bore their way out of the growing apple, not in!

That's because the moths lay their eggs in the newly formed fruits in the centre of the dying flowers. The emerging grubs are already inside as the apples grow and simply eat their way out! That leaves open bore-holes for other insects like wasps to get into the fruit and cause more damage.


TansyA great way to deter the coddling moths is to plant Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) around the base of each tree. Tansy flowers at the same time as the tree in Spring and the plants are a great insect (and moth) repellent.

Incidentally, Tansy has been used through the ages as a medicinal herb to safely expel worms in children and as an anti-inflammatory for gout. It was used as a strewing herb to keep flies away from the kitchen. By keeping a bunch of the flowers in a vase near your kitchen door, you should deter most unwanted flying pests from your home.

Tansy can also be planted around the base of most fruiting trees and inter-planted with berry bushes and vegetables to deter moths. The yellow flowers, on the other hand will attract bees, ladybirds (ladybugs as they're known in the US) and hoverflies which are beneficial to all your plants.