I’ll be the first to admit, I am no gardener but it does make sense that some vegetables and herbs grow better together than others. Some help bug control, others benefit the garden in general, while others absolutely should not be planted together.The most basic truths in companion planting lie squarely in common sense. Growing a mid to late summer run of lettuce behind sweet corn, for instance, fulfills two conditions of good neighborly-ness. Both crops are nitrogen hungry, so a bed rich in composted horse or poultry manure would serve them both well. And because it would be shaded by the tall corn, the otherwise heat-hating lettuce could be started much earlier than usual—in mid-summer, as opposed to very late summer. Pull out the corn stalks after the weather cools down, and your lettuce now has the full sun it craves in late summer and fall. Good companions, indeed!

And one huge and well-proven aspect of companion planting is using plants to attract beneficial insects to the garden.

Garlic,, in reality, would make a pretty lousy companion for roses. It would disrupt the rose roots when you planted the cloves in the fall. It would disrupt those roots mightily when you harvested the full-sized garlic bulbs in June. The tall garlic plants would greatly reduce the air circulation those disease-prone posies crave. Etc., etc…. And it doesn’t attract any beneficials.

Ah, but the herb tansy would make an excellent rose companion! Aphids are a notorious pest of roses, and tansy attracted more aphid-eating ladybugs and lacewings to its pretty yellow flowers than any other plant in a large-scale study. Tansy may even be the best all-around companion; in a study performed at the Rodale Institute Research Center in Pennsylvania back in the 90s, inter planting tansy with potatoes reduced the numbers of those nasty Colorado potato beetles by 60 to an astonishing 100%!

Other excellent beneficial insect-attracting companions in the Rodale study included the “White Sensation” variety of cosmos, and many herbs. Caraway, dill and fennel were the biggest herbal attractors; let some of those go to flower in the middle of your garden and lots of helpful bugs will arrive to imperil your pests.

SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.

ONE MORE SHOPPING DAY UNTIL MOTHER’S DAY: Come in for great sales and great ideas.

HAPPY MAY 11 BIRTHDAY TO: Corey Monteith 31, Phil Silvers (1911-1985), Foster Brooks (1912-2001), Natasha Richardson (1963-2009), Eric Burdon 72, David Gest 60, and Francis Fisher 61.

 

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