Tag Archives: companion planting

Companion Planting: Dandelions

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other is called companion planting and can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.
Chromatography has been used to explain why some plants like or dislike being planted with other plants. It is possible to make a specific chromatographic test to find out why, or if at all, a plant is helping or hindering its neighbors. Chromatography has also been used to prove that plants do significantly better with compost than without.

bee on dandelionThis “weed” is not the spurge of lawn owners like most of us think. Dandelions do not actually compete with grasses because their roots go much deeper than any grass, and because of this, their roots bring up nutrients from the deeper soils that grasses can benefit from. Also, the dandelion is the honeybee’s favorite flower.

However, dandelions do excrete an ethylene gas that stunts the growth of neighboring plants, but this very gas also causes nearby flowers and fruits to mature early. So, keep dandelions away from plants you don’t want stunted and keep them around other flowers and fruits.

See our main gardening page, Garden Circkles, for much more information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on greenhouse growing, sustainable and organic tips, beneficial bugs, the latest techniques such as aquaponics and vertical growing and much more.

Companion Planting: Chervil

chervilPlants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other is called companion planting and can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

Chervil is one of the few herbs that grows better in shade, so planting it among taller plants is beneficial. It does not take well to being transplanted, so pick your spot and direct seed it in the spring. It is a good companion plant to radishes and will improve their growth and flavor.

The leaves resemble parsley in appearance and taste, with delicate overtones of anise.  Sow seeds directly into the gardenabout three to four weeks before the last spring frost and again in late summer; thin seedlings to 6 to 9 inches apart.

Companion Planting: Castor Bean

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

Castor BeanCastor Bean.

Experiments show that castor beans will repel moles if planted around a garden. They are also a good mosquito repellent. Be careful when using this plant however as all parts of it are extremely poisonous to livestock and humans. Just 2-3 seeds ingested by a child can cause death.

Castor bean plants can get quite tall, up to 8 feet, and there are many varieties. Some have a beautiful fall foliage.

If using it to repel moles, plant them every 5-6 feet around the perimeter of the garden.

See our main gardening page, Garden Circkles, for much more information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on greenhouse growing, sustainable and organic tips, beneficial bugs, the latest techniques such as aquaponics and vertical growing and much more.

Companion Planting: Calendula or Marigolds.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other is called companion planting and can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comCalendula or Marigolds:

Very beneficial when planted with potatoes, strawberries, roses and many bulbs to discourage nematodes. Marigolds produce a chemical that they release into the soil which kills nematodes. In order to be effective, marigolds should be planted for a long enough period of time in one spot since it takes a while for them to produce this chemical. Grow them all season in an area where you intend to plant one of the plants listed above. You may not notice immediate results after the first year, but you should notice a dramatic reduction in nematodes in subsequent years. The effects of marigold planting will last 2-3 years after they are no longer growing in that spot.

Marigolds planted with beans will protect the beans against Mexican bean beetles.

See our main gardening page, Garden Circkles, for much more information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on greenhouse growing, sustainable and organic tips, beneficial bugs, the latest techniques such as aquaponics and vertical growing and much more.

Companion Planting with Broccoli.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.<

Broccoli close-upBroccoli.

All members of the cabbage family do well planted with aromatic herbs such as celery, dill, camomile, sage, mints and rosemary.

Do not plant broccoli with tomatoes, pole beans or strawberries. It will do well with potatoes, beets and onions.

If you use pyrethrum spray on broccoli, do so before the flower heads open.

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Companion Planting: Borage.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

borageBorage (Boraginaceae).

Also known as starflower, this flowering herb can grow the size of a small bush with some compost mixed into the soil and regular watering, and if it does, it will be covered with blossoms and honeybees. A perfect example is the photo to the right.

The flowers are edible and have a slightly cucumber flavor that can be added to salads or squash dishes. Borage is high in potassium, calcium and other minerals. It’s also fairly high in vitamin C.

The seeds are used to make borage oil, one of the highest sources of Gamma-linolenic acid or omega 6 oils, however, you would need a great many plants to get enough seeds to make your own oil.

If you want to keep honeybees around, this annual herb is one of their favorites.

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Companion Planting: Black Nightshade.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

black-nightshadeBlack Nightshade (Solanaceae).

Members of the nightshade family draw the Colorado potato beetle away from potatoes because they prefer the weed, even though it is poisonous. The beetles eat it and die. It’s also said that nightshade will grow when the soil is too exhausted or malnourished to grow root crops.

Members of the nightshade family include: eggplant, belladonna, bittersweet, capiscum, jimson weed, petunia, potato, snakeberry, tobacco and tomato.

 

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Companion Planting with Birch Betula. (Gray Birch)

Betula_gray-birch

Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, one of the early advocates of the Bio-Dynamic Method of farming and gardening observed that compost piles benefitted from birch roots which excrete a substance that encourages fermentation. Even if the roots of the birch tree penetrate the compost pile, the compost suffers no loss of nutrients due to the added benefit of the gray birch.

It is recommended that you keep your compost pile at least six feet away from the trunk of the tree however, so as not to cause the the tree trunk or roots to rot.

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Companion Planting: Beans (Phaseolus and Vicia).

bean plants-corn

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

There are many different types of beans, but basically all will thrive when interplanted with carrots, beets and cauliflower and aid cucumbers and cabbages to grow.

Marigolds in bean rows will help to repel the Mexican bean beetle. Summer savory will improve the growth of beans and also deter bean beetles. Savory is also tasty to cook with beans.

Beans are inhibited in their growth by any member of the onion family, including garlic, shallots and chives. They also do not like being planted near gladiolus.

Broad beans are excellent companions to corn, vining up the stalks for support. The heavy vine growth may inhibit raccoons, or at least slow them up a bit when they get tangled in the vines trying to get at the corn. In turn, the beans add nitrogen to the soil for the corn which is a heavy feeder and requires a lot of nitrogen.

Bush Beans planted with potatoes will protect them against the Colorado potato beetle. In return the potatoes protect the beans from the Mexican bean beetle. This seems to work best when the beans and potatoes are planted in alternate rows. Bush beans do well planted with cucumbers which they are mutually beneficial with, as well as strawberries, with both growing more rapidly than when planted alone.

Pole Beans also do well with corn, but dislike kohlrabi and sunflower. Radishes and pole beans seem to derive a mutual benefit from each other.

Since beans and corn have the same growing season, sun and temperature requirements, they can be planted together at the same time of year.

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Companion Planting: Basil.

basil_plantCompanion Planting: Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum). Not only is this a prized plant for any cook’s kitchen, this culinary herb makes for a very good garden companion plant as well because it’s very aromatic and will drive many types of bugs away. It benefits tomatoes against insects and disease, and some people claim it improves their flavor. You would have to be the judge of that.

Basil also repels flies and mosquitos, so its a human companion plant as well. Plant it in several pots on your patio where you usually sit.

Growing: There are numerous varieties of basil and they all will do the trick. Basil does better in pots rather than planted in the garden as it will usually get chewed up by slugs if planted in the dirt. In a pot, it has very few pests. Keep the soil semi moist and place the pots among select plants to act as a companion plant.