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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Companion Planting and Raised Beds (A Growing Challenge Post)

I've been planning my raised bed garden for a while now and now I've come to another phase. Figuring out how to plant the garden. I'm planning on using a technique called companion planting. Carol at May Dreams Gardens mentioned this a couple weeks ago although she called it Three Sisters gardening. It's concept is pretty simple, plant plants that go well together. By planting these plants you can better manage pests and encourage your plants to thrive with a symbiotic relationship to each other. Some plants can repel or attract pests and some fix nutrients in the soil. It's definitely worth a try! Since I've never used this technique before I thought I'd look up how to do it and find any resources that would help.


What I am going to do is think about companion planting in respect to my raised bed garden. By using their chart I will try to organize what I plan to plant this year in my vegetable garden.

The first vegetable I usually think about in the garden is the tomato. According to the chart onions, marigolds, parsley, and cucumbers will go well together. I was planning on incorporating some marigolds in the garden but if cucumbers go well with the tomatoes I can mix them. That should save some space since the cucumbers will generally be much lower than the tomatoes. The cucumbers should serve as a green mulch and help retain water around the plants.

For the lettuce we can plant it with cucumber or radishes. We'll probably go with the lettuce and radish combination.

Beans have three entries on the chart. One for beans in general, one for bush beans , and one for pole beans. One interesting thing about beans is they fix nitrogen into the soil. This in turn allows other veggies to absorb the nitrogen in the soil and encourages green growth. We may mix a green bean plant into each of the four larger beds.

The peppers are not listed on the chart so I'll just treat them as tomatoes and plant them in similar conditions.

It looks like squash can be planted with the marigolds but has the potato listed as an incompatible plant. I may try to plant the squash in and around the tomatoes like the cucumbers.

The cabbage is good around herbs and onions. That covers most of the list except for the pumpkins and watermelon. I'll probably plant them by themselves in one of the smaller beds where they will cascade out of the beds.

As with many gardening ideas you have to try them to see if they work for you. Companion planting is something I've been interested in for a long time and I'm excited to see how it goes. It should make going organic easier since the plants are working together to prevent pests, prevent disease, and grow strong.


7 comments :

  1. look up French intensive as well. it advocates companion planting as one of its tenets.

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  2. (The other Tina)
    There is a very good list of companion plants here also(scroll down):
    Countrybrook Farms

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm going to be more deliberate with my companion planting this year, too. I've got some research to do!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens
    (Thanks for the link!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dave,

    Does Square Foot gardening have a companion planting component. I always thought it sounded like an efficient way to garden...

    Regardingan earlier post--- the wedding garden preparation. I was at Cheekwood and there is a flagstone patio planted with herbs like thyme and rosemary...Very xeric. I can send a photo your way. Let me know. Also, a photo of their red and green twig dogwood display. It looks spectacular.

    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gail, SFG does advocate Companion Planting!!

    I recently checked out a book from my local library called Carots Love Tomatoes. :) There are so many different combinations of companion planting it's really cool to see how nature works!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. tina,

    I'll take a look! :)

    Tina,

    That site had a pretty thorough list for companion plants, thanks!

    Gail,

    Please do send me a picture! That's a great way to get ideas. And I think Nicole answered your question. ;)

    Nicole,

    That sounds like an interesting book. What's the author's name? I may need to make a trip to the library.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yoshino Cherry is my favorite too. I also want...several Rose of Sharons, Phlox, Oso Easy Roses, and the list goes on...I'll be moving into my house in about two weeks. I'll be where you were last year with new beds.

    ReplyDelete

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