Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 274 of our Green Year: Companion Planting

We can be excused for thinking spring is almost here due to the nice weather we have been having. However, it is January and the cold weather is going to be coming soon. That being said, today's blog is about gardening, which will be here before we know it.

Layla and I do not use pesticides, herbicides or any type of chemicals in our garden. As a result, our plants are at risk for pests destroying them. To combat this, we are going to be using companion planting.

Companion planting has been around for longer than fertilizers and pesticides and has been used for hundreds of years to help plants get protection from pests, provide shelter from wind, sun and frost, and to improve the soil with minerals and nutrients.

When you plant a variety of different plants together, it creates a variety of smells that confuse the insects and prevent them from laying eggs in the area. There are also a variety of insects repelling plants that will help the garden keep away the pests. Peppermint keeps ants away, you can use white cabbage to keep away aphids, as does garlic. Garlic also keeps out spider mites. Perennial chives keep away aphids and spider mites too. Basil deters flies and mosquitoes, while sage keeps bean beetles and carrot flies away.

In our planting, we will use these tips from Sheridan Nurseries:

  • Beans-like celery and cucumbers but dislike onions and
  • Beets are compatible with bush beans, lettuce, onions, kohlrabi, and most members of the cabbage family. Keep pole beans and mustard away from them.
  • Cabbage, celery, dill, onions, and potatoes are good companion plants. Dislikes include strawberries, tomatoes, and pole beans.
  • Carrots, lettuce, radish, onions, and tomatoes are friends. Dill isn't, so plant it at the other end of the garden.
  • Corn prefers to be near pumpkins, peas, beans, cucumbers, and potatoes. Keep tomatoes away.
  • Cucumbers like sweet corn, peas, radishes, beans, and sunflowers. Dislikes include aromatic herbs and potatoes.
  • Lettuce grows especially well with onions. They are also compatible with strawberries, carrots, radishes, and cucumbers.
  • Onions can be planted near lettuce, beetroot, strawberries, and tomatoes but keep well away from peas and beans.
  • Peas, carrots, cucumbers, sweet corn, turnips, radishes, beans, potatoes, and aromatic herbs are good companions. Keep peas away from onions, garlic, leek, and shallots.
  • Radish grows well with beetroot, carrots, spinach, parsnip, cucumbers, and beans. Avoid planting near cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or turnips.
  • Squash can be planted with cucumbers and corn.
  • Tomatoes, carrots, onions, and parsley are good companion plants. Basil improves growth and flavour. Keep cabbage and cauliflower away from them.
There are also good insects that you want to attract to your garden. These insects will take care of the other insects you don't want. Ladybugs eat aphids, so get some Perennial Yarrow. Wasps and bees can help the garden, so have some pollinating flowers in it.

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