Spring is planting time. This year we are experimenting with companion planting. The theory behind companion planting is that certain combinations of plants allow the plants to help each other in various ways. There are many different sources of information on companion planting, and one that I have been relying on is Google. (If you’re trying to find companions for particular veggies, type “[plant name] companion plants” in the search box).
|Murphy stands watch over the salad garden|
Some plants attract beneficial insects to repel pests. Others, like peas and beans, fix nitrogen in the soil. Still others provide shade for plants that would wilt in the hot summer sun, like spinach and lettuce.
Besides plants that help each other, some plants should not be grown together. Heavy feeders should be kept apart as they compete for soil nutrients. We avoid planting carrots and parsnips together for this reason. Onions and beans don't do well together. Potatoes should not be grown with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes or squash. They are said to do well with horseradish because it increases their disease resistance.
While it's still too early to plant tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, many seeds can be planted in early May. We have seeded three 12-foot rows of beets. There is a patch of red and white onions. Rows of peas have been planted along fences so they can climb, along with companion plantings of rutabagas and radishes.
Two rows of cabbage have a center row of onions. Onions, and other members of the allium family are helpers to a number of plants, including members of the brassica family which includes cabbage. The onions help to repel slugs and cabbage worms.
Our salad garden has been seeded with arugula, red and green lettuce, garlic chives, sorrell, nasturtiums and scallions.
We hope to increase our crop yield by combining plants that help each other and avoiding combinations that compete. Here's to healthy and abundant veggies this season. G.H.