Companion Gardening revisited

From time to time I will revisit pictures, blog posts and articles I have saved on my computer.  Usually this is a good time to clean up the computer and remove those pictures, etc. that are duplicates or that I just don’t need anymore.  I came across a blog post I had written on Companion Gardening and I decided it was time to refresh my memory and browse through the “Great Garden Companions” book written by Sally Jean Cunningham once again, especially since I am planning the garden for next season and should incorporate many of the plants that are beneficial into the scheme of things.

Random notes on Companion Gardening (from previous post)

Four o’clocks  – this flower is considered a trap crop for Japanese beetles.  This means that the beetle will flock to the four o’clock flower instead of its regular target, in my case, I hope to keep them off my rose bushes and hibiscus plants.  Both of these had Japanese beetles dining on them last year.  Each day as the four o’clocks become full I intend to have a bucket of soapy water on hand and flick the beetles in the bucket .. this I am thinking will immobilize them … permanently.

Nasturtiums  – this is a picture of how I plant most of my seeds in trays and since the nasturtium seeds are quite big, you can see them clearly.  I scatter the seed in the tray and then cover with the soil, water, place under grow lights and wait for action.  This flower I will plant all over since it is said to attract loads of beneficial insects which are the good bugs that eat the bad bugs who do the damage to your plants.  They also are said to repel aphids, potato beetle, Mexican bean beetles, cucumber beetle and squash bugs.  I will be planting more nasturtiums near my cucumber, zucchini and beans.  Another note states to plant with vine crops to protect ground beetles and spiders (beneficial insects).

 Buckwheat is used as a cover crop because it adds good nutrients to your soil.  If there is an empty garden place make sure to grow some buckwheat there.  I have an area which one day will be planted with flowers.  I tossed some buckwheat seeds in this area and will let them do their magic.  I will also plant buckwheat in borders around the gardens since it attracts parasitic wasps, hoverflies and honeybees … the good bugs

Also between the corn rows to attract wasps that parasitize the corn earworm!

Basil –  I will plant around my tomato plants along with Borage which will repel the tomato hornworm.  Basil also repels aphids, asparagus beetles, mites and mosquitoes.  Borage will attract bees and other beneficial insects.  My pepper plants will be nearby along with marigolds that will be planted throughout the gardens.

I found this very interesting regarding the dandelion – they have taproots which reach down below the topsoil to absorb important nutrients from the subsoil, which become part of the dandelion plant.  Make sure to add the dandelion (before it flowers) to your compost or back into the topsoil for those important nutrients.

 “Great Garden Companions” written by Sally Jean Cunningham is the source of my research and a book I highly recommend.

I will add more notes after rereading the book but one tip that I will add now is to start your flower and/or herb seeds indoors.  You want to get a jump start on them so they are already blooming or producing when you plant your other seedlings out such as tomatoes, cucumber, squash so they can perform the companion tasks of repelling evil bugs and encouraging good bugs. 

Here’s a heads up note – There will be free seeds offered to the first 20 participants in the Great Garden Giveaway and one of those seeds is the Golden Guardian Marigold which I have used and continue to use in my gardens … a good companion plant!


9 Responses

  1. You are so right about the 4 O’clocks. J. beetles flock to mine.

  2. The farm where we collected our CSA produce last summer felt that planting basil at the ends of the rows of other vegetables helped to keep the gophers and ground squirrels out. No scientific proof, but as you can never have too much basil, why not plant more? We’re also planting nasturtium, borage, anise hyssop and goldenrod in the veggie gardens this year. If nothing else, the bees and butterflies should be happy!

  3. I always used buckwheat as a summer cover crop in my old garden, when I had more room. The bees and beneficial insects truly loved it when it bloomed. Now I don’t have as much room, but I still try and have a few companion plants in the veggie garden.

    Great post!

  4. Pat and I are planting a veggie garden this spring. Thank you so much for the inside gardening info. jim

  5. Companion gardening is interesting, worth attempting to get the best out of gardening, organic especially. This season I venture into mixed kind of vegetable gardening, each of everything, for both; variety and insect repellents. Thanks for the revisit.

  6. I didn’t know that about 4 o’clocks…I have them every year, they are also known as an heirloom plant…thank you for stopping by to visit…come back anytime…

  7. I love nasturtiums and marigolds and plant them throughout my veggie garden. I have not had borage in years … must get it this year! Wonderful post… great advice!

  8. Interesting! I use marigold, nasturtium, basil, garlic and also calendula. Never heard these facts about 4 o’clock and dandelions. Thank you!

  9. Thanks. Companion planting is fascinating, but there’s so much to learn.

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