Category Archives: Companion Planting

Companion Planting Simplified (Day 12 of 30 Days to a Better Garden)

companiongardening
Over the past three years we’ve gotten really into companion planting. We first discovered it by accident when we noticed that the peas that we were growing next to the fennel just weren’t growing well at all yet the peas at the other end of the row were doing just fine. We later learned that nothing grows well next to fennel. Soon after we bought the book Carrots Love Tomatoes from Amazon and now we carry that book outside each spring and fall when we are doing our plantings to find out who likes to grow next to whom. The idea behind companion planting is that some plants benefit other plants in all sorts of different ways and yet others inhibit growth so you want to group together the plants that do get along and keep the bad companions away. Since then we’ve been pairing our tomatoes, basil and carrots together and had fantastic results with all:

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Carrots Love Tomatoes is an essential book if you are going to delve into the world of companion planting. Not only does it go through every vegetable and herb’s best and worst companions, but it also adds in tons of folk lore, natural insect repellant, herbal health tips, just all sorts of great wisdom. We highly recommend you read it.

Even though that book thoroughly explains companion planting, it still can be a little difficult to figure out what goes well with what. I’ve tried to simplify it the best that I can using the information in Carrots Love Tomatoes. When I created this chart I chose 10 of the most commonly grown vegetables and kept their ‘loves’ and ‘hates’ simplified to other commonly grown vegetables. In creating this very simplified chart I hope it will help you with your garden planning. I’m working on getting that chart so that you can download it and print it out yourselves…I’ll have it up in a few days!

If you haven’t tried companion planting yet, give it a shot. Go get some carrot and basil seed and plant them around your tomato plants.

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Filed under 30 Days to a Better Garden, Companion Planting

An Overview of our Garden – Let’s Improve Together

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Looking past potatoes to the apple tree.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a State of the Garden update. I’ve been in a bit of a blog/garden/photography slump, mainly due to how busy we’ve been, but I’m hopeful that this summer we’ll be able to slow down a bit. So I’m wondering, would you like to work together to make our gardens better? I’m thinking of hosting something along the lines of “30 Days to a Better Garden” all June that would get us all motivated to get out in the dirt and help our garden grow better. Would you be interested in taking part. Every day I would post a garden tip that would be on the easier/cheaper side to do. If that sounds like fun, leave me a comment!
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We’ll have artichokes for dinner soon.
The weather here has been stellar. It’s the beautiful time of year when we don’t need to use the heater or the air conditioner. We can leave the windows open all day and not be too hot or cold. The cherries are just starting to turn red and we’ve been munching on homegrown strawberries. How’s the weather where you live?
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Looking from strawberries and onions to the asparagus bed on to the onions.
The birds, bees, ladybugs, soldier beetles and other buggies are working full time to keep the garden in it’s proper working order. Life’s pretty good these days.
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The back bed, full of peas, carrots, spinach, lettuce and bolting daikon radishes.
Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Companion Planting, Good Bugs, State of the Garden, the birds & the bees

Beans and Cucumbers like each other

Summer Beans
After reading Carrots Love Tomatoes, the past two growing seasons we’ve been experimenting with companions planting. We already have our carrots planted with our tomatoes and now we are trying beans and cucumbers together. Beans, as with most legumes (like our winter fava cover crop), draw up nitrogen from down deep in the soil, brings it up and fixes it as little white nitrogen nodules to their roots. You don’t have to fertilize beans, in fact they really don’t like being fertilized, because they can do it themselves.

Cucumbers on the other hand are heavy feeders and like a lot of fertilization. But we’ve read if you plant them along with plenty of beans, the beans fertilize the cucumbers without you having to do a thing. We like that ‘not having to do a thing’ part, a lot! And so far, its worked. We have both more beans and cucumbers than we can eat and both plants look happy and healthy.

The only issue we’ve found with planting these two together is that cucumbers like a little more water and beans like a little less water. We’ve done our best to accommodate both by focusing our water on the cucumbers and it seems to be working.

If you haven’t read Carrots Love Tomatoes you should give it a try. It has really helped us.

Also, A Sonoma Garden is featured in this week’s Home Preserving Blog Carnival. Go see what other home preservers are doing.

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Filed under Companion Planting, just picked, what we've learned