So far, in the gardening arena, we have discussed rich soil without tilling and setting up, or building square foot gardens. I want to discuss companion planting next. I want to discuss what it is, why it is beneficial, and generally how to do it.
I haven’t companion planted before. Up to this point, all of my beds were organic, but I sprayed a lot of organic pest deterrents that I have mixed up myself on them to keep the bugs at bay. This will be new territory for me as well. If you have done companion planting, and anything I say is wrong, PLEASE call me out on this. I don’t blog so everyone thinks that I am an expert, I blog so I can share what I learn and do.
Companion planting is a term used to describe a systematic planting method, where plants give and take nutrients from each other, repel natural pests, and attract beneficial creatures.
A good example of this would be tomatoes and bush beans. Tomatoes love nitrogen rich soil and bush beans pull nitrogen out of the air and place it into the ground via little growths, or nodules, on its roots. This makes it a good companion plant.
If ever possible, plants should be planted like this. This will allow us to use less pesticides (organic or toxic) and will result in a healthier plant. It also works really well in a square foot garden bed.
There are a lot of plants to remember, so many that I know that I don’t know 1% of. Fortunately, I am a huge believer in mixing new world technology with old world methods and knowledge. A good way to get started on companion planting is this worksheet. It works best if you right-click the worksheet and select save instead of open. I got this worksheet from mysquarefootgarden.net, so I want you to hop on over there and help those folks out since they were nice enough to give us a worksheet like this.
Really cool thing about the worksheet is that it has a spot for a single plant companion, and another column for multi plant companions. This will help as you expand your garden’s grid.
Another thing that you should do instead of blindly following the chart, would be to know why those plants were placed on the chart in the first place. Go ahead and use that search tool that we “kids” call the “Google Machine.”
Once we decide on our “base plants”, we will grow our grid. This will be the integration of what we have learned so far. Look for a post very soon integrating all of these concepts into a garden.
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