9.5.11

Companion Planting


One of the many tips when working on organic gardening, is companion planting.  This can range from the types of crops that you plant in the same row, to different flowers that you can inter plant with your food crops.  There are many good reasons for companion planting ranging from the types of nutrients that different crops add to the soil which can benefit one another to natural forms pest control.  

We add no chemicals in any way to our garden and are religious about tracking what crops we grow in what row, so that we can rotate rows from year to year.  But, in the past have made only basic attempts at companion planting.  We have done some easy stuff.  Onions tend to be a good plant to have around lots of other plants, and we are careful not to plant crops in the same row that negatively impact one another.  We have been so overwhelmed by all of the structural work in the garden over the last couple of years, that we just did not have the energy to do more.

This year it feels like we have made it over the proverbial hump.  Even though we are still expanding, it feels like we have as much or more completed than we have left to do.  There are enough beds and areas that are permanent that we can add some bling.  We may also be spurred on a little by the fact that our garden will be on a community tour this August.
So today,  I planted the mother of all blingy companion plants.  Marigolds.  We have three good walkways that run through the garden between rows of beds.  At the end of each bed I planted three marigold plants for a grand total today of 72 plants.  By mid-summer they will be large pretty bits of reddish-orange to line the walkways of the garden as we meander through picking loads of veggies for farm boxes.   If you are interested in some good information on companion planting check out the Seeds of Change website.

7 comments:

Jude Doyland said...

Oh it must feel so good to be over that hump! Well done!

julochka said...

oh, i wish you'd write a bit more about what grows well with what..we've been making notes about that and have devised a system for marking certain types of plants with certain sticks, which i've painted in different colors, so we can draw a map in our gardening book and using color coding, remember what was where. there's more science in this gardening than you at first might think.

and about the onions, my sources say they're no good together with leeks or beans/peas.

we're building a long raised bed today, but it's so inspiring seeing all of yours! and the straw walkways in between - cool!

Anneli/Bockfilz said...

Oh, how lucky you are to have such a big and well organized garden! And to be at least two for the job ...!

I have a small glass house (10 sqm) with different sorts of tomatoe plants, aubergines, tomatillos, physalis and peppers - usually, I plant some marigolds there too, to keep nematodes and tomatoe pest away, and it works quite good.

I've seen that my neighbour plants a lot of garlic between her strawberry plants as well ...

but my biggest problem are the snails - lots and lots of them - so frustrating! Do you happen to know if there are any plants to keep them away?

Anyway: gardening sure is exciting!

rayfamily said...

Anneli, We don't have snails here, but from what I've read, garlic is a good companion plant. We use a shallow bowl with beer, and that attracts slugs. From what I have been able to find out, that should be effective on snails too! :)

Julie, true, onions aren't good for everything but they do seem to be good for lots of things. It is like a maze to get thorugh the companion planting stuff. I recommend if you map out your garden and then go row by row and look at campanion plant recommendations and try to organize from there. I just read that basil is a natural mosquito repellant...may have to move that into the big garden from our smaller herb garden, that could make weeding much more plesant this summer!

Anneli/Bockfilz said...

Yes, of course I ment slugs (naked black and also red snails) - my English was incorrect there.

I will try garlic - thanks for the tip! - but I'm reluctant to using beer or anything that would attract even more of them - there are too many of them already around!

julochka said...

anneli -

i've tried the beer trick - on a little saucer like the kind you put underneath a plant - it does attract them and it does seems to help. i've also heard of cutting a milk carton in each end, so they can crawl in, then put beer inside, then they crawl into it and you can just throw the whole thing away (because getting rid of the dead ones is really yucky).

they say that if you can attract a hedgehog to your yard, that helps, as they are one of the few animals that eats them.

otherwise, i once bought a natural poison - i think it's somehow made of iron - and it's small green pellets - you can sprinkle it around at the base of the plants. it seemed to help inside of our greenhouse. you can also put wood chips around the base of the plants, as the slugs don't seem to like to crawl over it so much.

but slugs are a real plague, that's for sure.

/julie

Anneli/Bockfilz said...

Thanks again, Julie!

Yes, I have one or two hedgehogs around and I guess they're doing what they can - but as far as I know, the red slugs are avoided by other animals except for Indian running ducks who take it all ...

Neighbours, who have tried the ducks, say they're eating the snails alright - but in the end they're causing other problems.

I'm buying those green iron pellets sometimes too - they are just quite expensive to use for big areas.

The beer trap in the milk carton sounds good - maybe I'll try putting it outside the kitchen garden rather than inside ... Any special cutting advise for best trapping?