Vegetable plants need friends too
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Issue 44, Volume 17.
By learning about these relationships (positive and negative), it is possible to make the most of gardening experiences in terms of increasing productivity and plant vigor and reducing the amount of time needed to maintain the garden.
The practice of planting certain varieties together that will provide a benefit or benefits to each other is called "companion planting" and has been practiced by Native Americans for as long as they have farmed the land.
The most famous example of this is called the "Three Sisters," which emerged from an Iroquois creation myth. In companion planting, "Three Sisters" means planting corn, beans and squash in close proximity to each other.
These plants have a symbiotic relationship in that the corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, the beans (which are one of the few plants that are able to receive nitrogen from the air) provide the soil with nutrients, and the large leaves of the squash shade the soil and helps conserve water and control the germination of weeds.
Companion planting can help plants thrive in many ways including insect and weed control, space optimization and providing nutrients to the soil. It fits perfectly with organic gardening practices because, if done correctly, it canreduce or eliminate the need for pesticides and herbicides.
Listed below are plants for a cool season garden that provide benefits to each other by being grown together:
• Broccoli grows much more vigorously when planted with dill or mint (be careful of mint - it tends to take over)
• Cabbage is much less likely to get cabbage worms if planted with rosemary, sage, chamomile, thyme, lavender, celery, dill, or onions. The aroma of these plants repels the pests.
• Peas help almost any plant - they add nitrogen to the soil, which all plants need.
• Borage improves the soil nutrition for strawberries.
• Rosemary grows well with sage and improves the growth of carrots and cabbage.
• Plant chives or garlic near roses to protect them from black spot and aphids. Parsley protects roses from beetles.
• Planting garlic around peach trees reduces the likelihood of Peach Leaf Curl occurring. It also repels borers when planted near susceptible varieties of fruit trees.
• Radishes, when planted with lettuce will taste better.
• Potatoes will be more disease resistant if planted with horseradish.
• Oregano planted with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower will repel cabbage butterfly.
• Leeks grow better if planted with carrots, celery, or onions.
Now come the items that should not be planted together. In most cases, the vigor of one or both plants will be compromised when planted in close proximity.
• Dill and carrots
• Onion and peas
• Mint and parsley
• Chard and potatoes
• Fennel and almost everything (plant near a dog run - it repels fleas)
Try the planting combinations listed above and be rewarded with a more carefree garden this year - it really works!
Courtesy of Grangetto’s Farm & Garden Supply; call the Fallbrook store at (760) 728-6127 for more information.
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