Using Companion Planting to Improve Your Garden


Hi I’m Tricia an organic gardener I grow
organically, for a healthy and safe food supply, for
a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding
experience. Did you know that some plants help each
other and some plants hurt each other. This is historically been called
companion planting but a better term is called plant
associations. Plants can’t get up and walk away if
they don’t like their environment so many plants do the next best thing
and alter their environment chemically physically and biologically. When a plant
does this their are other species that benefit from the
environmental alterations or are discouraged by it. Probably the most famous beneficial
plant association is the Three Sisters. Agriculturally inclined Native American
tribes often planted corn, beans and squash
together. The beans add nitrogen to the soil which
the corn feeds off of. The beans used the corn to climb on and
the squashes large leaves act like a natural mulch conserving moisture and
shading out weeds. Some example of plants that chemically alter their environment
are legumes such as lupines, peas, beans, clover and alfalfa. They take nitrogen from the air and
they put it into the soil. Marigolds are another chemical adjuster, they produce thiophene which deters
some harmful nematodes Plants can play off of one another just
based on their structure a great example of this is carrots
lettuce and onions because the roots and leaves of these
plants grow at different levels they grow very well together instead of
competing. Probably the biggest benefit of plant associations is from the biological angle there are a whole host of plant
associations that are based on how they affect the insect
world. Some plants are favorites of nasty bags and if you have problems you may wanna
plant a trap crop. I’m going to plant some nasturtiums
here next to the kale because the garden baddies will focus on
them and they’ll leave my kale alone. Many
aromatic herbs and Alliums such as chives and
garlic will repel pests and make it difficult for them to sniff
out their favorite plant, and you can leverage this by
intercropping. So instead of planting all the same variety in one place for
example all your lettuce here and all your garlic here and all your tomatoes here plant in companion groups. You can also
plant to lure the good guys to your garden. Parsley and other umbels are
favorites of beneficial insects. Not all plants get along don’t plant in
the same location crops that are susceptible or have trouble
with the same diseases or pests. For example potatoes and tomatoes are
cousins and they’re susceptible to the same kind
of blight. Other plants either compete or add something to the soil that will
stunt the growth of other crops. For example don’t plant onions next to your
peas and beans or the peas and beans growth will be
stunted. For more information on companion planting read this book “Carrots Love Tomatoes;
Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardens” Find the best friends in your garden and grow organic for life!

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