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Did companion planting work for you???

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Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Lemonie on 1/13/2014, 5:46 pm

I'm working on garden layout planning and realized I focused a lot the last 2 seasons on companion planting for pest prevention since I have attempted to be as organic as possible. While everything took off and grew beautifully, almost all was lost around harvest time to pests. I am re-arming myself with lots more natural tricks to prevent the buggers, but gave up a lot of space for marigolds, nasturtiums and such to no avail (that I could see). Maybe I'll attempt to plant those types in containers on the outside instead so I can at least use my limited squares for more veggies this year?

Anyone had similar thoughts/ideas? I just don't want to "waste" the little bit of space I have....though I do love the visual appeal of the flowers.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  camprn on 1/13/2014, 7:45 pm

Hasn't ever really worked for me regarding pest management.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  brainchasm on 1/13/2014, 7:51 pm

I think it worked?

Didn't have much for pests except hornworms, and nothing I planted was supposed to keep them away.

My tomato plants did well with basil planted next to them, but I have nothing to compare them to.  I guess I'll find out this year (not planting any basil).

I'm still doing a bit of companion planting, like NOT planting garlic or onions near my peas and beans, things like that.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  llama momma on 1/13/2014, 8:53 pm

2013 I grew 17 heirloom indeterminate tomatoes.  All but 4 had one to two marigolds in front of them.   Other years I battled hornworms.  This time I pulled off a grand total of 3 or 4 hornworms among all those plants.  Was it the marigolds, luck,  or did the bluebirds hanging around eat the rest?  Not sure.  Marigolds grow so easily for me, so I'm going to add them again this year.  The French shorter variety, not the African ones that grow three feet tall.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  brainchasm on 1/13/2014, 8:55 pm

@llama momma wrote:2013 I grew 17 heirloom indeterminate tomatoes.  All but 4 had one to two marigolds in front of them.   Other years I battled hornworms.  This time I pulled off a grand total of 3 or 4 hornworms among all those plants.  Was it the marigolds, luck,  or did the bluebirds hanging around eat the rest?  Not sure.  Marigolds grow so easily for me, so I'm going to add them again this year.  The French shorter variety, not the African ones that grow three feet tall.
I had dwarf marigolds in each bed, near my tomatoes.  I didn't get lambasted by hornworms or anything, but there were plenty, especially once I stopped patrolling on a daily/nightly basis.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 1/13/2014, 10:03 pm

Hi,
I too have had mixed success with companion planting. I really like the basil tomato and marigold combination. I stumbled on the beans and egg plant combination, it worked really well. I planted 4 eggplants in the middle of my 4x4 of beans, that was way too many eggplants because they did really well! Turns out we do not really like eggplant. Otherwise I have not noticed much of a difference.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/13/2014, 10:15 pm

I planted dozens or marigolds around my tomatoes. They were the very first thing eaten by pests. So I replanted. And replanted. The cycle continues, but I'll cut it short there ...

Lost ALL my early tomatoes that were bigger than cherry-size to hornworms. Lost a few mid-season, and the assault continued late-season. Planted lots of nasturtiums too; near as I can tell, neither flower kept anything away. But at least nothing ate the nasturtiums, so they hung around full-season. I kept lots of the dried seed-heads of both flower types, so will plant more this year. The ones up by the house survived very nicely and really made the retaining wall outside look much prettier.

Basil and thyme as repellents? Basil was the second thing eaten after marigolds. Replanted a number of times. Some plants made it through the season, but I couldn't say I had an abundant harvest. Oregano was untouched by anything, but flavorless. I left it in the ground and will plant around it next year; I like the looks and the hope it might actually do something. Thyme was untouched and wonderfully hardy in pots.

Problem is, this was my first year gardening in that new space, and using companion plants, so I have no basis for comparison.

Next year: borage and lots of it. Supposedly all sorts of bad bugs hate it. We'll see. I grew lots of mint, and that didn't seem to chase away anything. Again, a problem is that I have little or no baseline to compare with.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  sanderson on 1/14/2014, 1:21 am

Companion planting for pest control:  My 2 cents.  I didn't see any pest control from marigolds.  If you love marigolds, plant them.  I don't appreciate yellow or orange flowers (except daffodils) so I won't do it again.

Companion planting veggies:  Opps, I have onions and garlics next to my snow peas!  All are doing good so I'm lucky.  I read to not plant tomatoes after peas or beans.  Has anyone violated this rule and had success??  I've penciled in the spring planting and I don't want to make bad errors.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Goosegirl on 1/14/2014, 5:59 am

For companion planting, I always put my onions with my carrots and never have a problem with root worms, carrot, or onion flies. But then again it may just be my area. I have never seen a horn worm here (saw enough of them in CA to last a lifetime!) and the only real insect pest I have had damage from is the SVB, and toward the end of the season when the grasshoppers come to mow down the last of my bean leaves. My main pest type is the local rabbit population.

That being said, I did find out accidentally that beans DO NOT LIKE GLADS!!! I interspersed my gladiolus with my beans once and the beans never grew past 6" tall. It wasn't until the following season that I read my first chart on companion planting and had one of those  silly me moments.

This year I plan on planting lots of herbs and flowers for pollinators.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  jmsieglaff on 1/14/2014, 8:58 am

It really hasn't made any difference in my experience. It seems natural variation in pest populations seems to play the biggest role whether I see none, a little or a lot of a given pest. I will also pay attention to the farmer's field 1500 feet away and whether he has corn or soybeans and if that has any impact, especially with Japanese beetles.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  camprn on 1/14/2014, 9:44 am

Regarding pest management with planting, last year I did notice that I had no trouble with potato beetles and less flea beetle damage by planting my potatoes later rather than earlier. Also later planting of and change of location for squash reduced problems with SVB.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  martha on 1/14/2014, 11:34 am

2012 was my first year with flea beetles, and I had a massive infestation. I, too, planted my tomatoes later in 2013, and avoided the flea beetles.  I have had some success with attracting beneficials with companion plants, but I haven't yet gotten my planning as detailed as I would like. I was very excited when  I saw lacewing larvae on some of my tomato plants the last two years!

Maybe it's just the little girl in me, but even though I have very little real life experience, I believe it has to work, at least in some situations, because, well, because it should!

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/14/2014, 6:28 pm

@sanderson wrote:Companion planting for pest control:  My 2 cents.  I didn't see any pest control from marigolds.  If you love marigolds, plant them.

I feel the same. Planting them wasn't a total loss. Actually someone in my master gardener's class says she's thrilled when all her marigolds get eaten, because that means the bugs are busy eating them and not her vegetables. She just keeps planting and replanting and expects the loss.

I don't appreciate yellow or orange flowers (except daffodils) so I won't do it again.

I'm usually not a huge fan of yellow ones and generally don't care for the color orange (except on some redheads!), but there are two types of marigolds that are still pretty fetching, IMO. I think one is called "Bronson" maybe? It has chocolate and yellow alternating from the center as if radiating out, and a bunch of them together can give a dizzying effect like seeing a herd of zebras, they say. Pretty cool. And there's another one I planted that has a very deep rich red, with thin yellow outlines setting off the red. Gorgeous.

Companion planting veggies:  Opps, I have onions and garlics next to my snow peas!  All are doing good so I'm lucky. 

The peas will probably be dead long before it's time to harvest onions, right? So that might be fine?

I read to not plant tomatoes after peas or beans.  Has anyone violated this rule and had success??  I've penciled in the spring planting and I don't want to make bad errors.

I'll be violating it this year and will let you know the results. One of the only places to plant tomatoes this year (since almost my whole garden was tomatoes last year) is right where the beans were. Never heard that was verboten, by the way.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  camprn on 1/14/2014, 6:44 pm

There are a variety of reasons to change up planting arrangements: this is a good read.
http://lubbocktx.tamu.edu/horticulture/docs/vegrote.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Companion_planting

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Companion Planting

Post  Windmere on 1/15/2014, 7:51 am

I concentrated on trying to work with companion plants where space would allow.  I planted chives next to carrots.  I had no flies, but I'm not even sure if my area is prone to them.  Basil was planted next to most of my black krims.  Seems like it helped, but this was my very first season.  I felt that the plants without basil seemed to have more pests.

I also planted marigolds next to several things and, again, things next to marigolds seemed to fare better.  I too am not wild about orange, but the dwarf variety with the red centers and orange fringe were quite stunning this last season.

Bottom line, I really have nothing to compare because I'm a newbie.  However, I probably will plant all my companion plants again this year.  I like them and it can't hurt.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  camprn on 1/15/2014, 8:20 am

I do like the idea of trap plants. This has worked well for me, to some degree, in the past.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Pollinator on 1/16/2014, 12:48 am

The first year I planted marigolds in one bed of squash, while not doing this in another bed on the other side of the house, I had squash bugs in the bed without marigolds and none in the bed with marigolds. Since then (completed the 7th year) I have not planted any squash without dwarf French marigolds. And that's six years of total freedom from squash bugs - I have not seen a single one - in my garden.

Wish it worked for squash borers and pickleworms.

Seems to help a lot with cucumber beetles - I've only seen a few. And hornworms are quite uncommon, although I've tried to encourages paper wasps as much as possible, and they help get the hornworms. They also get the swallowtail larvae, so my wife will usually pick a few parsley stalks with caterpillars on them, and bring them inside to feed to pupation where the wasps can't get at them.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/16/2014, 2:02 am

I read that potatoes and corn like to grow together.....has anyone tried this?

we found out the hard way to plant nasturtiums as a trap plant to aphids in the garden area but not in the garden bed....once the aphids are done with the nasturtiums they invade the rest of the veggies in full force....the aphids flocked to the garden bed by being invited by the nasturtiums, that might other wise not found the bed....

borage is our favorite for attracting the bee's and other beneficial helpers...they go nuts for it! not sure how it does for pest control ....but....where it was planted we didn't have any pest bothering the plants.....maybe by attracting the beneficial helpers they took care of any pests.... Very Happy 

happy gardening
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Borage

Post  Windmere on 1/16/2014, 8:23 am

Hi Rose, 
Thanks so much for your comments about borage.  I bought some borage seeds for this season and now, having read what you've written, I'm excited about planting them!

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/16/2014, 9:19 pm

I grow in two areas -- a couple of dozen pots at my place and about a dozen 8x3 beds at a neighbors. Both places were absolutely crawling with planted and replanted marigolds. My neighbor's place seemed to have every bug in the world except cucumber beetles, which I saw only two of all seasons. BUT ... up at my place, I was absolutely inundated with cucumber beetles. I actually had far more marigolds there, both well spread around and right up tight against my cucumbers ... of which I lost more than two dozen to the beetles.

So for me, marigolds were useless against cucumber beetles.

There are, however, plenty of types of beetles. Marigolds might work well against some of them. But they didn't do a darn thing against the cucumber beetles I had.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  sanderson on 1/17/2014, 1:07 am

Good grief! I've lost my Borage seeds, again!!

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/17/2014, 3:23 pm

Uh oh. They are hard to find (at least for me, locally). Maybe you need a central seed repository.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  sanderson on 1/17/2014, 3:52 pm

Found them late last night!! I bought them from Baker.

I'm working on an Excel good/bad companion planting chart, storing some seeds in 2 x 2" ziplocks that arrived yesterday (eBay $2, 100 bags, shipping included!!) and penciling in my planting diagram.

I need an Excel for a list of seeds I have and year purchased!!

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Borage seeds

Post  Windmere on 1/17/2014, 4:01 pm

@sanderson wrote:Good grief!  I've lost my Borage seeds, again!!
Hi Sanderson,

I have lost at least two premium seed packets that I planned to use this season.  I turned the house upside down looking for them!  So, my wife has been scolding me if I don't immediately put them in the tin I've been using to store all my seeds.  (By the way, I don't know if a tin is the best place to keep seeds, so if anyone has thoughts about this, let me know.)

The last batch of seeds I got were some seeds for cool looking "Garland Crown Daisy."  We all love daisies in our household.  I think they are members of the chrysanthemum family, so I'm hoping they will help ward off pests.  This is what they look like:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YQZQQO/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I buy a lot of my seeds from Amazon because I frequently have credits with them from gift cards.  If you can't find borage seeds, this is what I got for this season:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G68FAK/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i05?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I personally had some good experiences with Botanical Interests seeds.  I would not buy them from Amazon if shipping is not free (usually need to buy three packets of seeds at once).  One of the nurseries in our area exclusively sells Botanical Interests.

For me, I think I like Seed Savers Exchange the best.  They are awesome!

Sanderson, I know you a pretty experienced, so REALLY REALLY don't need help with any of this stuff.  I just wanted to share my newbie experiences. Very Happy

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/17/2014, 4:05 pm

Daisies are asters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteraceae

Seed Savers is really cool. They send good seed freebie gifts, too. I think I ordered two seed packets and got a full seed packet of tomatoes as a freebie. I just like the whole idea of the organization.

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Re: Did companion planting work for you???

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