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Friday, April 22, 2011

Such a Cute Couple, Like Peas & Carrots: Great Garden Mates

Vegetable Companion Planting
Did you know that different species of garden plants can help (or hurt) each other when planted near each other? 

I've been enjoying
The New York Times1000 Gardening Questions & Answers: Based on the New York Times Column "Garden Q&A".

Arranging crops so that they complement each other is called Companion Planting. 
Some plants provide support or shade that help others thrive. Plants that need lots of nutrients are often paired with those that "feed" lightly. 

Perhaps the most common reason for companion planting is natural pest prevention. This is important as we seek ways to use less pesticides on our produce. Specific crops (typically flowers and herbs) are believed to repel certain pests, lure them elsewhere, or confuse them. Others draw beneficial insects, birds, and spiders that consider garden pests "lunch". 

You may have heard of planting marigolds with tomatoes to keep bugs away. Here is a longer list of tried and true combinations that many gardeners swear by:

  • Plant parsley near asparagus to improve vigor.  
  • Radishes grown near lettuce are more tender.
  • Petunias help repel bean beetles
  • Beets interplanted with onions will help stifle weeds.
  • Carrots will grow larger if interplanted with chives.
  • Dill or caraway will help repel cabbage moths.
  • Tomatoes hate fennel; keep them apart.
  • Beans don't do well near alliums (garlic, onions, chives).
  • Nasturtiums attract aphids and deter cucumber and bean beetles.
Also, be sure to feed your roses .... bananas! Banana mash, pureed, or baked banana peels, roses love the yellow buggers any way they can get them. The potassium helps the roses thrive.

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