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Companion plantings

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Companion plantings

Post  sistabelle on 4/7/2011, 8:34 pm

This is my first year doing square foot gardening. I'm well on my way, have several boxes and have some plants in already. I have read and know that certain plants have benefits for another.
I just read in Mother Earth NEws that although this is a great way to garden, most charts come from a scientific experiment done in the 40's where they used the chemical makeup of plants instead of the plants themselves growing in a garden to do the research. It also states that some of the vegetables in most charts aren't actually good together.
THe person writing the article has experience and could give some ideas of plants that are actually good together to keep off bugs or attract them. whichever you want.
My question is.... does anyone have real experience in the companion plantings that actually work well?

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  blue_elle on 4/7/2011, 11:32 pm

It's been my experience that basil planted next to tomato really thrives, though I don't know that it made the tomatoes taste better like the nursary said it would (to be fair though we'd never tried that variety of tomatoes, so we have no basis for comparison).

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  shannon1 on 4/8/2011, 3:18 am

I stick a few onion sets around my pepper and tomato plants they don't take much space at all and seem to do a great job of confusing pests like aphids ect. I am trying it with my eggplants too this year.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  Barkie on 4/8/2011, 5:28 am

I saw an article recently saying that a guy trialled it in his garden and at Ryton in 1998 on 2 4x4 beds and found that

Quote

"
this is not a big problem. However, Dwarf French beans planted next to a square
of onions did not do well, while another square of beans 2ft from the onions
thrived.

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/organicgardening/gh_sqft.php

Personally I trust Geoff Hamilton who recommended mixed planting to confuse pests that find their target by sight or smell. My experience with Nasturtium was a plague of blackfly which attracted ladybirds. Personally I'd rather have ladybirds first then aphids but it doesn't work that way round.

Thanks for starting the topic, I'll keep an eye on this thread cyclops

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/8/2011, 9:04 am

I'm not trying to be ugly here, and not attacking anyones opinion or views, just voicing my 2 cents.

The studies may have been done in the 40's but there are those who have been doing it for centuries like the 3 sisters method.

Man has to have an explination for everything, why do bean and corn play nice in the garden. I'll admit, it's nice to know that beans and peas are nitrogen fixers, and root crops don't do well with too much nitrogen, but there comes a time in my mind when I really don't care about the whys and hows. Just knowing it works is fast becoming good enough for me. If I can save space by planting my climbing peas and beans next to the corn, great, works for me.

I'm currently reading a book on food, "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollen, they are now learning that while fruits contain antioxidents, when we remove the antioxidents from the food and use them as a suppliment they are not as effective, and in most cases don't work at all. I don't care what it is in the fruit that is good for me, I just know it's good for me to eat it. Same with the plants and companion planting, using parts of the plants instead of the actual plants, in my mind defeats the purpose and nulifies any results.

I personally take everything I see, hear, and read with a grain of salt, we have been sold so many bills of goods it's unreal. However, way to many who have been planting and growing successfully for generations have had good results with companion planting, so in my mind that's good enough for me.

However, let me add, last year the squash bugs took over my garden, they even infested my marigolds. Yet I am planting marigolds again as I have heard what discourages them is actually in the roots, and it takes a season or two to establish that deterrent in the soil, where the squash bugs overwinter.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  dizzygardener on 4/8/2011, 9:24 am

Valerie makes a good point.

I'm trying out companion planting for the first time this year. The way I look at it is that humans had to develop ways to cope with what nature threw at them before we had the benefit of scientific studies, disease resistant hybrids, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Since we know they were able to farm effectively some of what they did had to have worked out for them. A lot of those techniques have been passed down through the generations. Further, a lot of it was also trial and error.

I try to do things as organically as I possibly can, so really I rely on things like companion planting and farmscaping to make my job as gardener a lot more manageable. I'm willing to give things a try. What works I will continue to do, What doesn't I won't.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  sistabelle on 4/8/2011, 11:18 am

I agree with the comments and appreciate the tips on what has worked for you. It just makes sense to intermingle plantings! And it would seem onions and chives next to sweeter veggies would repel those insects.

I have put in lettuce and spinach and put onions and chives on lines in between the squares. I'll find out how that works this year!
Thanks to all comments!!

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/8/2011, 3:12 pm

I had way to many onions this year, I stuck 2 in each cabbage square, just to see what happened. The onions are not getting much sun (good thing down here most of the time) and so far no cabbage problems. I figured the onions would come up before or right at same time as cabbage so no big deal. I also (experimenting again) stuck 3 onions in 4 squares that tomatoes will go in. Onions are at the opposite edge of square and will come up way before tomato gets big. They look far away enough that when it is time to pull them, they will not distrub tomato roots. I'll try to remember to share results.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  camprn on 5/30/2011, 8:01 pm

An interesting write up about companion planting, history and science and charts.
http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/complant.html

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  martha on 5/30/2011, 9:11 pm

Camp, you are always at the ready with a great reference!

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/30/2011, 9:22 pm

Great link Camprn, it has a simple chart for common companion planting and a brief description of some of the reasons for the specific companions, like trap crop, deterrent, etc.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/31/2011, 10:40 am

Great reference to pin to my favorites bar. A big thanks to Camprn.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  The Cynergist on 5/31/2011, 2:09 pm

@sistabelle wrote:
My question is.... does anyone have real experience in the companion plantings that actually work well?

I don't have any actual experience, but here's a thought: Is it possible that what we would eat together would grow well together? Like tomato / basil or onion / garlic? etc.

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Re: Companion plantings

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/31/2011, 3:19 pm

Well, the Native Americans have been companion planting corn, squash and beans together, The Three Sisters. Apparently it worked very well for them for over 2,000 years. I've only done it once, and got a good harvest of all but the beans, but that was mostly the result of not doing a good job of harvesting from the bean plants climbing up the corn stalks. Laziness: it was an easier harvest in the beans-only bed.

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