Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Organic Gardening

I'm HUGE into gardening. Number one reason is because its so completely rewarding to be able to grow your own fruits & veggies. Reason number two is it is soooooooooooooo much cheaper than buying veggies, even from a cheap roadside stand. For the $5 I spent on 4 packets of tomato seeds I was able to use less than half the seeds, and got 97 plants to I'll never use that many, so have shared a great deal of them with family & friends...I have also killed 30 plants due to being overly anxious to get to planting, so I killed maybe 50 cents worth of crop...and still have many more to replace them with. Last year I spent $10 on three tomato plants and had MORE than enough tomatoes for my family & friends...this year with 10 plants I'm hoping to be able to do a lot of canning & freezing to last me until the next year's crop. I did not spend a dime on fertilizer this year...last year I bought one bag of Mircle Grow Garden Soil & just mixed it in with the ground dirt available in my yard. This year I have two large raised beds...getting dirt & horse manure from a friend's field, at no cost to me. Even the timbers I used to make my raised beds were free as I got them from a friend of mine moving out of her place, with no room for them at her new place.... I'll do further posts about my garden in the coming days, weeks, & months...

This post is about some companion gardening hints that I have been given from another friend of mine, as well as tidbits given to me by experienced persons....

Now, most veggies will do just fine, regardless of where they're placed in the garden, this is merely a list of different companion plants that seem to do best close to each other, as well as a list of other plants that will help repel insects & rodents. I got most of these things from a small book that was published in the late 70s ('78 I think) and it's titled The Best Gardening Ideas I Know written by the Editor of Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine, Robert Rodale.

Some is also from the word of my grandfather who has been gardening since the late 30s and my uncle who has not only been gardening for the last 50 years, but is also the supervisor of the city parks in Tulsa, OK, and has been with the parks department there for at least 20 years.

I'll list the plant & beside it I'll list the companion plants, avoidance plants, if there are any, and the effects of the companionship, if the book lists any, and any deterrent properties of the plants.

Asparagus - good with Tomatoes, Parsley, & Basil
Basil - Good with Tomatoes (improves growth & flavor); said to dislike Rue; repels flies and mosquitoes
Beans - Good with Potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, cabbage, summer savory, most other veggies and herbs; also great to start in house plant pots, then transplant later...improves the nitrogen in the soil
Bush Beans - Sunflowers (beans like partial shade, sunflowers also attract birds & bees which helps with pollenation), good also with Cucumbers (combination of light & heavy feeders) Potatoes, Corn, Celery & Summer Savory
Beets - Good with Onions and Kohlrabi
Borage - Good with Tomatoes (attracts bees, deters tomato worm, improves growth & flavor)also good with Squash & strawberries
Cabbage Family - Good with Potatoes, celery, dill, chamomile, sage, thyme, mint, pennyroyal, rosemary, lavender, beets, onions...aromatic plants deter cabbage worms
Carrots - Good with Peas, lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary, sage, & tomatoes
Catnip - plant in borders, protects against flea bettles
Celery - Good with Leeks, Tomatoes, Bush Beans, Cauliflower, Cabbage
Chamomile - good with cabbage & onions
Chervil - good with radishes (improves growth & flavor)
Chives - good with Carrots; plant around the base of fruit trees to discourage insects from climbing trunk
Corn - Potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash
Cucumbers - good with Beans, corn, peas, radishes, sunflowers
Dill - good with Cabbage (improves growth & health), carrots
Eggplants - Beans
Fennel - most plants are said to dislike it, so plant alone & away from other plants
Flax - good with carrots & potatoes
Garlic - Good with Roses & Raspberries (deters Japanese beetles); plant with herbs to enhance their production of essential oils; plant liberally throughout garden to deter pests....although where I planted my garlic bulbs is exactly where my neighbor's cats like to dig for their own personal "litter box"...grrr
Horseradish - Good with potatoes (deters potato beetles); plant around plum trees to discourage curculios
Lamb-quarters - Nutritious edible weed; allow to grow in modest amounts in the corn
Leeks - good with onions, celery, carrots
Lettuce - makes a STRONG companion team with both carrots & radishes; also great with strawberries & cucumbers
Lovage - plant here and there in garden, not bad with anything
Marigolds - keeps soil free of memotodes to discourage many insects, plant freely throughout garden, one of the best pest deterrents.
Marjoram - good throughout the garden
Mint - good with Cabbage family, tomatoes...deters cabbage moths
Mole Plants - deters moles and mice if planted throughout the garden, as well as around property
Nasturtiums - good with Tomatoes, radishes, cabbage, cucumbers, plant under fruit trees; deters aphids & pests of cucurbits
Onions - good with beets, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce (protects against slugs) beans (protect against ants) summer savory; not good to plant with peppers, known to stunt growth & prevent fruitage of plant.
Parsley - good with Tomatoes & asparagus
Peas - Squash (when squash follow peas up trellis), plus grow well with almost any vegetable, add extra nitrogen to the soil
Petunias - attracts ants away from veggies, plant close to garden, you want some of the root/bulb area to be exposed to attract ants best
Pigweed - Brings nutrients to topsoil; beneficial growing with potatoes, onions & corn; keep well thinned
Potatoes - good wtih Horseradish, beans, corn, cabbage, marigolds, limas, eggplants (as trap crop for potato beetles)
Pot Marigolds - help tomatoes, but plant throughout garden as a deterrent to asparagus beetles, tomato worms, and many other garden pests
Pumpkins - Good with Corn
Radishes - good with peas, nasturtiums, lettuce, cucumbers; a general aid in repelling insects
Rosemary - Good with Carrots, beans, cabbage, sage; deters cabbage moths, bean beetles, and carrot flies
Rue - Good with Roses & Raspberries; deters Japanese beetles, do not plant near Basil
Sage - Good with Rosemary, carrots, cabbage, peas, beans; deters some insects
Southernwood - Good with cabbage; can plant here and there in garden
Soybeans - Good with everything, helps everything
Spinach - Good with Strawberries
Squash - good with Nasturtiums, corn
Strawberries - good with Bush beans, spinach, borage, lettuce (as a border)
Summer Savory - Good with Beans, onions; deters bean beetles
Sunflowers - good with cucumbers
Tansy - Plant under fruit trees; deters pests of roses and raspberries, flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, & ants
Tarragon - good throughout garden
Thyme - throughout garden, deters cabbage worms
Tomatoes - Good with chives, onions, prsley, asparagus, marigolds, nasturtiums, carrots, limas...also as they're growing if you pinch off the "suckers" you'll get better growth & production, the suckers are the parts of the plant that grow between a branch & the stalk, where they "Y" together, pick the middle "new branch"; also every once in a while purposely break a few leaves on the plant, tomatoes produce a hormone when they're bruised that causes fatal indigestion in some beetles & their hatchlings
Turnips - good with peas
Valerian - good anywhere in garden
Wormwood - As a border, keeps animals from the garden
Yarrow - Plant along borders, near paths, near aromatic herbs (enhances essential oil production of herbs)

If you set out a shallow dish, or even an old jar lid, & fill it with stale beer it will attract slugs away from your plants & they'll either drown in the beer, or become too drunk to escape the dish & end up drowning.

Aluminum "mulch" in strips placed along plant rows confuses aphids, they see the sky reflected & fly out of the garden.

Good bugs to have around, as they will both pollinate & eat bad bugs are : Lady bugs, praying mantis, lacewing larva, and Trichogramma wasps, but for a small home garden bringing in these bugs isn't necessary with some of the companion growing.

I'll be adding more tidbits as I come across them & have time to type them up. And don't hesitate to add your own findings, tips, etc.

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