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A quick and easy guide to companion planting
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Post A quick and easy guide to companion planting 
The companion planting groups I use are designed to attract beneficial insects who will help keep our gardens free of the ugly little guys we really don't want to see.

1. Nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) - I interplant these quite freely

Companion plants are basil, cleome, cosmos, parsley and Queen Anne's lace.

Good ground covers include dwarf white clover or straw.

Tuck early season leaf crops like lettuce, spinach and other greens around the edges of the bed.

2. Potatoes (which are a nightshade but don't plant near your tomatoes), bush beans and peas

Grow a row of bush beans (snap beans) on each side of your row of potatoes.

Good companions: Calendula, cosmos, daisies, dill, Sweet Annie, sweet alyssum (around potaotes).

Mulch with straw or black plastic to help keep weeds down.

3. Cabbages, brussells sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kale.

Companion plants: Dill, asters, calendula, chamomile, mums, cosmos, marigolds, rosemary, sage, thyme, "wave" petunias.

Ground cover: Sweet alyssum or dwarf white clover

4. Squash, pole beans (this includes pumpkins as squash family members)

Companion plants: Borage, dill, nasturtiums, sunflowers

Ground cover: straw

5. Root crops: interplant carrots, onions, beets, leeks, turnips. (1 row round root crop, next row long narrow root crop)

Companion plants: Caraway, chamomile, cleome, cosmos, dill, fennel, Queen Anne's lace, iceland poppies and anything from the short aster family.

6. Greens that work well together include kale, parsley and swiss chard. Grow with marigolds.

7. Cukes - when you hill and plant your cuke seeds plant a circle of radishes around the hill to repel flea beetles. Provide a teepee made of 8' bamboo poles lashed together OR a 5" piece of chicken wire made into an arch to grow your cukes on. You can grow leaf crops in the middle of the teepee or under the chicken wire arch.

8. If you want to try something interesting and have room for corn, try something called "the three sisters." It's basically corn, vining beans and vining squash grown together. Corn is a heavy feeder and the beans will fix nitrogen.

Sunflowers are great everywhere as are marigolds.

Add perennials such as coneflowers and black eyed susans in edging beds to bring in your pollinators and more beneficial insects.

You can probably guess that you don't see a whole lot of bare ground in my gardens. Bare ground erodes in heavy storms and bare ground invites weeds.

Green manure crops are wonderful things, too, and I'm being lazy and adding a link here instead of typing it out.

I favor oats (killed by winter), hairy vetch for fixing nitrogen, and buckwheat.

http://www.farm-garden.com/cornucopia/garden_cover_crops

Keep your records of what you plant where so you can rotate your crops annually.

Don't forget the most important part of gardening: have fun and enjoy yourself.


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Post Green Manure 
I've had great success with hairy vetch and buckwheat...

I do have a question about Fish Emulsion...I've heard good and bad. What are your thoughts? Would you use it more in your flower beds or as a general aid everywhere?

A friend of mine, a fisherman/gardener, takes left over fish scraps after cleaning and buries then in the ground. I for one would think it would attract unwanted critters not to mention the smell.


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TheGardenLady and LoftYes

You are both being so very helpful. I'll take some time to read your suggestions and the information in the links you provided, from the Enhancement Request forum. I was concerned about the tire idea, I try to use glass in the kitchen, not plastic, so I figured there might be some sort of leakage. Do either of you have any other suggestion for how to mound potatoes? Should I just leave them free and mound the dirt at the 18" plant growth, twice? Will they become wild and unmanageable?

I can already tell, from a quick read, that I need to move the cabbage away from the tomato and broccoli. I'm a little confused as to moving the peppers with my tomatoes. Thegardenlady you suggest putting them together, bu the Mother Earth News article suggests that these are poor bedfellows because of the Colorado Potato Bettle. I don't know if we even see this bettle here or if they were mainly suggestion not to put these two plants with in with potatoes.

I'm having so much fun, thank you both for continuing to make it this way. I really love learning new things and playing outside in the dirt makes it exciting.

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Tawny911, I read that in Mother Earth News as well, but my preference is to go by Rodale (Organic Gardening). I've planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplant together for many years and never had a problem with the potato beetle and we do have them here in central Ohio. Please note, however, that I also freely plant basil, cosmos and cleome in with these three fruits. NO POTATOES with this group. They make poor bedfellows even though they are technically related. Potatoes go several rows away from these.

For potatoes just make a good bed of straw right on top of the soil. Stick your hand through and plant your potatoes. The day you plant the potatoes make a row of bush beans down one side of your potatoe row. As the potatoes grow, just put more straw or other organic material over the top of them until you've got 8-10 inches of growth covered. When you reach this point, plant your row of bush beans on the other side of you potato row. Now plant some alyssum around your potatoes as well (draws pollinators). Dill, cosmos, annual daisies, marigolds - all these will help combat the bad bugs (potato bugs as well as bean bugs) and planting the two veggies together seems to aid in combating both pests. This combination of veggies seems to confuse the pests. I'm not saying you won't have any pests, just a greatly reduced number of pests.


If you don't want to go through all of that, buy big bags of composted material from your local supplier, lay them down end to end on your potato row, slit them open (from end to end) and plant your potatoes right in the bags. Plant your alyssum right in there, too. At the end of the season the potatoes are right there in the bags and you don't have to dig for them. Then you can till the composted material back into your garden.

Even though we've had a lot of remarks about the number of flowers and herbs in the vegetable garden (from old fashioned have to hoe it everyday gardeners) we also have fantastic vegetable production. Just 1/2 of our garden area enabled us to send over 1,000 pounds of produce to local food pantries and still be able to sell enough to make around $500 to help defray our expenses.

Have fun and feel free to ask any questions you may have.

I've posted some pictures of one of my personal veg/flower/herb gardens at my house. Here's the link to the post: http://www.plangarden.com/forum/posting.php?mode=reply&t=398

Click on the pictures to expand them to get a better idea of what I've done.



Last edited by thegardenlady on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post Tomatoes & Peppers 
I've always planted peppers with my tomatoes...they just go hand in hand along with basil (you can never have enough basil).

I've heard of the "bag" method but have never tried it but I just might have to give that a go with my Yukon Golds this year. The straw method for potatoes works real well. Now I have 2x2 wire cloth cages to help contain the straw around the potatoes (very windy in my area). When I'm ready to harvest, I pull the cages, grab my potatoes and enjoy.

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Loftyes, I like fish emulsion. However, watch the NPK rating. IMO the most effective NPK rating would be 5-2-2 however, many commercial fish emulsions are straight across the board at 3-3-3, 5-5-5, and so on.

It does stink to high heaven but the stink goes away after a couple of days.

As for planting the fish heads, tails, innards in the garden, go right ahead - your plants will love you for it. I used to do this when I had 2 acres out in the country to garden and really don't recall having a problem with critters (coons, cats, dogs, foxes) coming up into the garden and digging them up. But then again, I've aged about 20 years since then so maybe the memories have dimmed. LOL


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Post Re: Tomatoes & Peppers 
loftyes wrote:
I've always planted peppers with my tomatoes...they just go hand in hand along with basil (you can never have enough basil).

I've heard of the "bag" method but have never tried it but I just might have to give that a go with my Yukon Golds this year. The straw method for potatoes works real well. Now I have 2x2 wire cloth cages to help contain the straw around the potatoes (very windy in my area). When I'm ready to harvest, I pull the cages, grab my potatoes and enjoy.


Oh, I certainly agree, you can NEVER have too much basil from sweet basil to hot thai basil, you can never have enough.

I hadn't though about making cages to contain the straw. I have a couple of bails of 2x2 hardware cloth in the shed so we may just do that this year. It gets windy here, too, but we're down in a creek bottom meadow. Thanks a bunch for the tip.


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Post RE: fish emulsion and cages 
See that? You learn something new every day and this is why I love this forum Smile I'm getting more out of this than I do on the NHGC website.

I'll have to try the fish parts then. I live in the country also and thankfully don't have to deal with deer or coons so I'll definitely give this a try. I appreciate the info on the emulsion, I'm always willing to try something new.

My pleasure, about the cages. These also work great at the end of the season when you want to protect newly planted roses, shrubs or young trees during the winter. Just surround the plant with the cage and stuff it with your fall leaves or straw. When spring comes around just mulch your stuffing and you're good to go. Living in MN for 22 years I really had to protect stuff during the winter.


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Post Digging in Fish 
I have been digging in fish into the garden for a long time. Now that I am near the ocean I dig in dungeous crab shells.
There are lots of raccons, possums and skunks in our area. So if I make a mistake, I know about it Embarassed
I dig a hole about 12-18 inches down. Often I take the shovel and crush the shells or fish with blade of the shovel.
THEN I make sure the shovel is clean. Normally this is down by sticking it in clean dirt on the side of the hole.
At this time some dirt may have fallen into the hole and mixed in, but I make sure that I have at least 6 inches of fresh, non-fishy dirt on top.
I remember it being late one night and getting lazy. The next morning there was chunks of crab shell on the top of my garden.

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Post Plangarden and companion plants 
There are a few old threads on this somewhere. But here is my thinking.

I do some companion planting myself where I try combinations.
What I have found in researching in topic is there are many different combinations and thoughts.
Some companion planting combos are focused on pest control.
Other companion planting combos are to get plants together that help each other out.
Some companion planing is to keep plants away from each other.
I have also seen guides that put plants together by water requirements ... etc.

Just as Plangarden doesn't try to tell you that there is only ONE way to garden, but offer the tools to help you plan.
We will offere companion guides, but let you choose and modify them to suit your own gardening styles.
While this won't make the first rev of Plangarden 2.0 it is on the horizon.

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