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Comfrey is also very good for early nectar. Even the allegedly less invasive types have good early flowers. Another hardy annual I let seed everywhere is love in a mist which comes back year after year. Ground lilac also is good source of nectar for butterflies and bees.
I am a absolute beginner at growing any kind of anything, my mum recently gave me some iceberg lettace to plant up, they were doing really well but now I notice the bottom leaves are going really soft and when I lifted them found little worms I have removed the leaves with the little blighters but is there anything else I should be doing.
The poached egg plant also keeps down the weeds. I have great swathes of it in my garden and even bindweed can be defeated if you cover the ground with this very beautiful and very prolific annual.
I keep meaning to sow this and haven't done so yet, but have lots of other flowers on the allotment: foxgloves, comfrey, wallflowers, alliums. One thing I find very helpful is keeping a gardening diary. Although, as you say, each year is different, it can be useful to look back and see what did well (or not so well).
I have always grown French Marigolds and Poached Egg Plants as companions but 3years ago I bought a new favourite at a car boot sale. It is Nicandra, also called "Shoo Fly" and it really works! Planted in the greenhouse with my tomato plants it can grow very tall if I let it or keep it in a pot. Either way I have had no white fly etc on tomatoes or peppers and bonus is a pretty violet blue flower.

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Adam, stick to editing. What is a tagetes? All these latin names! It took me a google to discover you mean MARIGOLDS.
Reply to Lindyloo: The reason I used the name tagetes is that several plants can be called 'marigold'. Which one do you mean? I make no excuse for using the name Tagetes, which is the French Marigold, with pungent foliage. Calendula is the Pot Marigold. Then there are African Marigolds. By using the name Tagetes there really is no confusion. By using the name Marigold there is. Sorry if this appears unhelpful, and that using Latin names can appear very formal, but plants only have one Latin name but can share many common ones.
Denise Hard to tell without seeing the little worms but they could be nematodes or caterpillars. I'd suggest you keep checking and remove any little critters you find. Look out especially for slugs - they love lettuce. But most of all, please don't get discouraged and don't give up. Welcome to the world of gardeners
Hi I pinched a dead flower head off a poached egg plant the other day (naughty I know) I have put it in a jar on the window sill to dry. Will I get seeds from this to sow? There are what I believe to be little seeds showing, will I be able to get my own little poached egg plant as I love them so very much? K
Dear Adam, I am a beginner and just started to plant in my new raised bed, which made this year for planting vegetables. I enjoyed reading your advise on companion plants. I will definitely try the Poached egg plant. That would be great if I could grow without using chemicals. Thank you very much.

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