Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Companion Planting

When a person is organic gardening, bugs and weeds become an issue that needs to be solved.  Since commercial fertilizers, insecticides and weed inhibitors can not be considered then other methods need to be found.  After all if you wanted to eat more of the same save yourself the trouble and buy at the grocery store, they have plenty of artificial products and hormonally changed products and who knows what to ingest all for the ready.

Last year I had lots of bugs on my pumpkins and various squash plants which destroyed the pumpkins, luckily the cucumbers and acorn squash escaped it but the zucchini and pumpkins did not.  I keep researching it and found that picking off the bugs was one solution, not one I like or will do; I will have to find another solution.

COMPANION PLANTING is one solution I knew about but never really tried.  This year is my trial year.  Companion gardening/planting is planting different types of plants inter dispersed with each other to help with bugs and weeds.  Planting onions and lettuce together, using corn for bean poles, marigolds for bug repellent, or sunflowers for bird perches are just some of the suggestions.  The Mother Earth News has one of the best articles on companion planting that I have seen so far.  Unfortunately, if you want to read it you will have to order or find one to buy because they are not publishing it on the web site, publication April/May 2011 on the news stands until May 23, 2011.

If you are planting a garden and have had success with companion planting let us in on your secrets.    

Marigolds: are supposed to do lots for a bug deterrent and the roots are supposed to control the bad nematodes(Nematodes are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth.  A handful or soil  will contain thousands of the microscopic worms, many of them parasites of insects, plants or animals. Free-living species are abundant, including nematodes that feed on bacteria, fungi, and other nematodes, yet the vast majority of species encountered are poorly understood biologically.)  Apparently rabbits don’t like marigolds either and many bugs just stay away from areas with marigolds; who knew.

French Marigolds(T. patula) and the Mexican Marigolds(T.  minuta) are supposed to be the best ones and if you want more information on those go to  Golden Harvest Organic Garden

I don’t know what kind of marigold seeds I have, just cheap seeds but I am going to plant them and then look for the seeds above and see how much they cost.

Golden Harvest Organics  has a great list of plants and their effects on various plants and pests.

Nematodes, destructive to vegetable gardens, a good guide to various vegetables. 

Nematodes associated with corn, potatoes, soybeans, turf, tree orchards and vineyards

Onions need to be planted with leafy greens like lettuce and spinach.  Unfortunately I didn’t know that at the time I planted my spinach and lettuce but as I harvest it or find gaps in the planting I will be adding onion sets.   As I plant the rest of my onion sets I am going to plant the radishes.  Part of this idea is deterring bugs, part is the leafy type plants shade the areas and prevent weeds from growing close.

Nasturtium: are supposed good for deterring aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles, and improving growth and flavor; plus you can eat the flowers, leaves and seeds.  I will definitely be planting these around my pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.  Whether I eat this or not has not been determined.

Lavender:  Are good for controlling white flies and moths, plus great for the potpourri.

The Iroquois Indians (Native Americans) did companion planting that was well developed and wide spread.  The tradition of the three sisters is interesting reading and well worth trying.  Renee's Garden has a great article on this Native  American tradition and a great story to pass along to the youngsters ( a fun history lesson).

Do you have a pest issue?  Have you solved it or need some help?  Let us know what your remedies and problems are, maybe all of us can use it or have a solution for you.  Don’t forget to take picture of your garden as you are planting and harvesting and share, we would love to see them.

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