Tag Archives: companion plants

Planning Your Garden For the New Season

I love the beginning of January because the garden doesn’t require too much work, the days are colder (typically) which makes it easier for me to stay inside and work on planning my garden for the year.  I love picking out the seeds  I am going to grow for the entire year.  Usually I choose to many for my space as does most avid gardeners.  We will probably never learn!  There are always several new varieties I just can’t resist or wait to put into the soil and try.  As always, some will become favorites and some will probably be put on the “notty” list. 

I always start out with a diagram of my garden including measurements.  I use grid paper and a pencil.  I then look at last years garden design and see what I grow where and make sure I don’t grow the same crop in the same place as I did the year before.  If you are just starting a new garden, you won’t have to worry about this, this year!  Then I take inventory of my seeds & plants I will be growing for the entire year, Spring, Summer & Fall.  If I like a design that I used last year then I will use it, If not, time for a new adventure. Just so you know, I have never used the exact same plan.  Being a seasoned gardener I know which are companion plants (plants that grow well together) and I try to group these together while keeping the enemies away.  If you are new to gardening, I suggest you look up companion plants.   Know the planting times of each crop you grow.  Most of these are easily found on the back of the seed packet.  Plant wisely!  Always try something new!  If you are planting lettuce in the Spring, once it’s gone you can plant a late crop of corn, bush beans or a fall crop like garlic in its place.  I never have an empty space in my garden for very long.  I have raised beds that are three-foot wide.   One of my beds for example has a sturdy trellis on the back side which I will be growing vine peas up it and in front I will be growing shorter crops that won’t shade out the peas like lettuce, spinach, baby bok choy, radishes.  These crops will be gone in my area around the first of June.  At this time I will pop in some late tomatoes along the trellis and carrots and beets in the front.  Another example is where I grow my garlic.   It stays in the ground from October till mid to late June and I amend the soil with compost and nitrogen and plant corn in its place.  In years past I have done large areas of certain crops in my long raised beds, but this year I will be growing in smaller 3-4 foot sections so I can have a bigger variety of veggies, just not as many of each type.  I like to keep taller plants in the back and shorter ones in the front.  experiment!  Have fun and record you work!

Don’t forget to add some flowers to your garden.  A few popped in here and there will add color, attract beneficials, and add interest.  Herbs are another item you will want to add to your garden.  You will always see basil growing near the tomatoes because they do so well together.  At some ends of my beds I have small perennial herbs.  It’s nice to have your own “fresh” herbs whenever you need them.

Another thing to think about is your soil.  If you have heavy compacted soil in one area and loamy soil in another, you may want to plant your root crops in the loamy soil so the root crop won’t have to struggle as much.  With time your heavy clay soil, with some amending will become nice and loamy as well.

I have several perennials in my garden like artichoke, horseradish and rhubarb.  It’s a good idea to place them on the end or corners of your beds or rows so when you till the earth you don’t disturb them.  Remember to plant things further away from these larger crops so they don’t shade out your annual veggies and flowers.

When you have an abundance of veggies and you don’t have the room to plant them, Think about adding some to your flower beds or in pots near the patio or porch.  I love to add pepper and eggplants to my flower beds.  Tuscan Kale is absolutely beautiful in the back of flower beds.  This is called “edible gardening”.  Be adventurous and inventive.  Try something new and unheard of.  That is what a true gardener does!

Organic Seeds

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Planting Companions

In nature, where plants grow without the ground being worked, there is always a mixture of plant types growing in an area that are happy in there habitat.  The type of plants living in an area depends on the soil type and climatic conditions .  Most plants that grow together in the wild are mutually beneficial in that they allow for maximum light utilization, moisture and soil conditions.  This is what we call companion planting.  Plants have a beneficial effect on different garden plants because of some peculiar characteristic of their growth, scent, or root formation and soil demands.  Some plants that have strong orders, including those with aromatic oils, play a role in determining just which insects visit the garden.  While some plants repel, they can also hinder the growth rate of other plants or otherwise adversely affect them.  I have seen good results and not so good.  Yes, tomatoes like carrots, but you do sacrifice a little bit in the size of your carrots due to the shading that tomatoes cause.  I don’t mind because I like tomatoes more and I like baby carrots better!  I have listed some things that grow well together. 

  • Basil: Tomatoes (improves growth and flavor)
  • Bean: Potatoes, carrots, cucumber, summer savory
  • Beets: Onions, kohlrabi
  • Borage: Tomatoes (improves flavor & growth, deters tomato worm, attracts bees) squash, strawberries
  • Carrots: Peas, lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary, sage, tomatoes
  • Chive: Radishes
  • Chervil:  Radishes (improves growth & flavor)
  • Dill: Cabbage (improves growth & health), carrots
  • Flax: Carrots & potatoes
  • Fennel: Most plants seem to dislike it. 
  • Garlic: Roses & raspberries (deters Japanese beetle), plant liberally throughout garden to deter pests
  • Horseradish:  Potatoes (deters potato beetle)
  • Hyssop: Cabbage (deters cabbage moths) grapes
  • Lemon Balm: Here and there in the garden
  • Marigold:  Keeps soil free of nematodes, discourages many insects. Plant freely in the garden.
  • Pea: Squash
  • Petunia: Protects beans, beneficial throughout the garden
  • Nasturtium: Deters aphids
  • Rosemary: Carrots, beans, cabbage, sage
  • Summer Savory: Beans, onions, deters bean beetles
  • Tansy: Plant under fruit trees, deters ants squash bugs
  • Thyme: Plant throughout the garden
  • Wormwood: As a border, keeps animals out of the garden
  • Yarrow: Plant along borders, near paths, enhances essential oils in production of herbs.

Not only do these plants improve the growing, flavor and overall health, they also give your garden interest and character.  Don’t forget to add to your garden journal which plants thrived and which, not so much.

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