By Juan Jardinero
There’s a saying in organic gardening circles: “everything gardens.” What this means is that nothing in nature works on its own, including us. Plants, microbes, fungi and animals can work together harmoniously to successfully produce food. Instead of controlling everything in our organic gardens, we can get better results if we sit back and let other organisms do some of the work for us. First, we can start by observing existing patterns in our gardens, and developing an understanding of what plants need and can provide to your garden. This approach changes us from owners or managers in our gardens into relationship guides whose main job is to nudge the garden’s natural processes gently in a direction that meets our needs. So knowing and understanding some of the relationships between plants can be of tremendous help to ensure a productive yield but also a low management self-regulating garden
Know Your Plants:
Farmers have over time intuitively discovered the relationships between plants. Plants that assist others to grow well or to repel insects are being studied to better understand these relationships & apply them to their fields & gardens, thus benefitting from imitating the diversity of natural ecosystems.
Here are some suggestions for vegetable companion planting:
Beets: Beets grow well near bush beans, onions, and lettuce.
Broccoli: Like most members of the cabbage family, they do well with dill, celery, chamomile, potatoes and onions. Avoid planting them near tomatoes, pole beans and strawberries.
Carrots: these grow well with tomatoes, leafy lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary and radish. Rosemary and wormwood serve as repellents to carrot flies.
Lettuce: Lettuce grows well with strawberries, cucumbers, radishes and carrots. Planting them close by to onions can help repel predators.
Kale: Like others from the brassica family, incorporating thyme and wormwood can help repel the white cabbage butterfly (the gardener’s nemesis).
Corn: Sweet corn does well with potatoes, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins and squash. One of the famous plant guilds that exist is the Milpa system. Mayans and other Mesoamerican civilizations would plant corn and in between it plant squash which would serve as a ground cover and also beans that would use the corn as a trellis while adding nitrogen to the soil.
Tomatoes: These are also members from the brassica family, so keep them away from other brassicas. They do enjoy being near chives, onions, parsley, marigold, and carrots.
Onion: These like all the other veggies in the cabbage family. They do well with beets, strawberries, tomatoes and lettuce.
Remember no one likes to be alone, mix it up a bit in your garden and find your plants the perfect partners.
We are looking for 1 or 2 garden volunteers for the last week of july and first 2 weeks of august. Some of the chores include, looking after chickens, mulching, weeding, planting, composting, harvesting and relaxing in our urban farm. In exchange we’ll provide: fresh greens, fresh eggs and a chance to improve your gardening skills. If you are interested contact me on 30147604 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.