Minutes may seem to go by slow or fast, but they are all sweet. Once they are they are gone. Come along with me on my adventure of mom, teacher, and wife.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Companion Gardening

Companion gardening is not gardening with a friend. But rather pairing two or more plants together that will benefit each other.  Mother nature is very wise and has had natural defenses.  Unfortunately it is not an exact science and so some say it is mythical. So I would still keep that insect spray.  Most gardeners agree that diversity helps your garden.  But I'd rather be diverse in ways to keep the insects and disease away then rely on pesticides alone.

Tomatoes are great for your back porch and easy to grow. So here are some plants that are said to help with Tomatoes. I've highlighted some of what I think might be some the top plants to plant with you tomatoes and why. 

Marigolds- I've been told is a wonder plant.  Helps keep out small animals like rabbits and squirrels and helps keep out many other host of bugs.  They will not harm any other plant. They work great as a border plant.  It has also been my experience that they are easy to grow from seed. Let the flower die off and brown on the plant then when it is dried out pick it.  It contains tons of little seeds.  The seed are long sliver in shape. Save for next year or open up and plant for more.

Basil-Is reported to help repel disease and insects, and improves growth and flavor.

Most gardeners agree that flowers that attract pollinating bees and birds are a must. If you don't have those pollinators you will not see fruit.

Here are some other plants that are considered good for tomatoes: oregano, parsley, carrots, Alliums, celery, Geraniums, Petunias, Nasturtium, Borage, any type of onion or chives. But some are only good when the plant is just starting to grow and must removed. Also others are considered "trap crops" which distractes the harmfull bugs to it first.  The trick here is that you will need to destroy these plants with the bugs at the right time if harmful bug are going to it.  Eekk not sure I'm up for that yet. 

Here is the thing. each website has a bit different list and each have a different twist as to what helps what and why.  As I said this is not an exact science.  But I'm going to share with you some of the links I found that might help your research on what your trying to plant.
Personally it looks like I need to move my chili pepper plant with my tomatoes and get a couple of basil plants.  Then get a couple of rosmary plants to plant with my green beans and cucumbers. I've already planted some marigolds and will be transplanting some more once they have sprouted a bit.

Wikipedia, GardenToad, About and Dave's Garden
Here is a paper about orangic growing done by UGA. It doesn't go into companion gardening, but it does go into crop rotation.  And gives you a  list of "families".  From what I can tell ... this is what companion planting is based on.

Based on last year.  Marigolds did help.  I still had to watch my plants and sometimes apply a soap and water mixer to the plants.  This year I did put my old soil in my compost so that next year it might be used again. Also used coffee worked great on my tomatoes as a quick fertilizer. So I'll add some herbs this year.  I've added marigolds to my other planting areas.  I will still look into fencing and other natural ways of getting ride of pesky or bad bugs for my plants.
I do have to put a quick disclaimer here.  I am a novice gardener. As I am researching and having to spend time at the computer, I'm sharing my findings. One thing I've figured out is what works for your garden may or may not work for mine.

Have fun planting!

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