STUN large plant pot experiment with companion planting

S.T.U.N.  – courtesy of Mark Shepard – Sheer, Total, and Utter Neglect. A method of growing that saves work, and time.

A couple of years back I grew tomatoes in pots, which I put directly onto grass, and left them to their vices. The only variable that I controlled was the location – sunny, by a brick wall that accummulated the heat of the sun. The tomatoes did OK, and I was left to pick them, whenever they came. Apart from that I did no work.

This experiment is the culmination of too much thinking and rush action to catch up with the warming weather. The thesis is that I can sow plant assemblies, selected based on this wikipedia article, and leave them be. I will try to avoid watering, and to help with that I’m using the largest pots I could afford, and filled them with compost.

My permie friends will be happy to note that one of the assemblies is a straight “Three Sisters” with open-pollinated corn, giant runner beans, and butternut squash. Will it work? Time will tell.

Here’s the setup:


Two 125 litre compost bags (no peat, and no additives)

Four 55cm diameter plastic pots – I had to make holes in the bottom, as I didn’t notice they had none.


A bag of grit to put at bottom of pots for good drainage.

Seeds selection, and markers.

First I added the grit:


Then the compost:


And then sowed in the selection:

plant markers

Here’s what I chose / had lying about already:

Tomato with

  • Carrots – help tomatoes grow, but might be sacrificial
  • Basil – increases tomato yield
  • Parsley – seems to grow well with tomato. Might have to ensure it doesn’t go to seed if I want to save the seeds of the carrot

Three sisters:

  • Corn – main starch, and a stalk to climb onto
  • Greek Gigantes runner bean – to add nitrogen to corn and climb onto it
  • butternut squash to cover the ground around the other two

Sweet peas as the main crop:

  • Spinach – provides shade for the peas
  • Turnip – planted with peas stun each others growth, but per area output is greater than for either one alone
  • Mint – supposedly it enhances peas

Cucumber as main crop (these are to eat fresh or to pickle):

  • Kohlrabi – had some seeds, and was on the list, love this veg
  • Sunflower – three seeds only of this huge variety “Sunzilla” that I just needed to try and grow,
  • Lettuce – one needs lettuce in the garden, and it’s on the list

There you have it, the experiment is on. I spent £50.34 on the pots, soil and gravel. Add some seed cost to that, and about one and a half hour work including the visit at the garden centre.


If you happen to live near me, and would like to learn how to do that, give me a shout using the contact form below. This will get updated later in the year.

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