The Vegetable Garden

Gardening Articles

Advantages of Planting Vegetable Gardens

    Is there a patch of land in your backyard that’s been left useless all this time? If you’re still undecided to what to make out of it, maybe it’s high time you consider planting vegetables in it. Read on to learn some of the advantages of planting vegetable gardens.

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    Building and Planting Vegetable Gardens

      The structure of your vegetable garden does not only have to be functional but it can also look and feel good. Spruce up your garden by building some decorative arches and some tomato cages while helping it produce more crops. After all, there is more to planting vegetable gardens than just cultivating a spot of land.

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      Companion Planting: A Love Hate Relationship

        Like people in relationships, specific crops love and hate each other, based on the specific natures involved. Seedlings of transplanting size begin to interact more and more together with the plants near them. These associations come to be especially necessary as adult plants cultivate explicit  personalities, essences, and aromas. Green beans and strawberries, for instance, thrive better when they are grown in combination than when they are grown independently. To get really wonderful-tasting Bibb lettuce, one spinach plant should be grown for everyfour Bibb lettuce plants.

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        Companion Plants: What Grows Well Together

          There are some plants that do well together (companion plants) when they are planted next to each other and there are certain combinations of plants that slows the growth of one or both types of plants. Basically, certain plants love each other and certain plants hate each other.

          Companion planting can be a complex and often overwhelming if you let it. But as you gain more experience and develop a feeling for gardening, companion planting will become clearer. Just be sure not to let too much planning spoil the fun and excitement of working in the garden!

          This isn’t to say that you can’t grow these plants together in the same garden, just don’t grow them right next to each other. Below is a guide to help indentify what grows well together and what doesn't. The chart list the compatibility, both the good and the bad, of plants when planted next to each other.

          Companion planting is a discipline in which further analysis needs to be carried out. There are a lot of unknowns and variables that must be considered. Such as, the age of the vegetables or herbs, the percent of each of the varieties of plants grown in combination, and how close together they are planted. It should be done with an inquisitive approach to see what actually works well together and what doesn't. Are the benfits or negative influences due to root excretions, plant aroma, or the pollen of composite flowers that attracts cetain beneficial insects? Further study on the causes of some of these beneficial relationships is recommended and can be found in the articles on this website. They are listed in the box on the right of this page for your convenience.

          Planting techniques are for: health; nutrition; physical complementarity; and weed, insect, and animal relationships.

          Companion Planting Chart for Vegetables

          Plant (Vegetable)
          Good Companions Bad
          Companions
          Asparagus
          Tomatoes, parsley, basil
          Beans
          Potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflowe, cabbage, eggplant, summer savory, most other vegetablesand herbs Onions, garlic, gladiolus, chives
          Beans, bush
          Potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, summer savory Onions
          Beans, pole
          Corn, summer savory, sunflower Onions, beets, kohlrabi, cabbgae
          Beets
          Onions, Kohlrabi
          Pole beans
          Cabbage family (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kolrabi, broccoli)
          Aromatic plants, potatoes, celery, dill, hyssop, chamomile, sage, peppermint, rosemary, beets, onions Stawberries, tomatoes, pole beans
          Carrots
          Peas, leaf lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary, sage, tomatoes Dill
          Celery
          Leeks, tomatoes, bush beans, cauliflowe, cabbage
          Chives
          Carrots, tomatoes
          Peas, beans
          Corn
          Potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash Tomato
          Cucumbers
          Beans, corn, peas, radishes, sunflowers, lettuc Potatoes, aromatice herbs
          Eggplant
          Beans, potatoes, spinach

          Leeks
          Onions, celery, carrots
          Lettuce
          Carrots and radishes (lettuce, carrots, and radishes make a strong team grown together), strawberries, cucumbers, onions
          Melons Corn, Nasturtium, Radish  
          Onions(garlic)
          Beets, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, summer savory, leeks,chamomile (sparsely), pepper
          Peas, beans
          Parsley
          Tomatoes, asparagus

          Peas
          Carrots, turnips, radishes, cucumbers, corn, beans, most vegetables and herbs onions, garlic, gladilus, potatoes, chives
          Potatoes
          Beans, corn, cabbage, horseradish (should be planted at the corners of the patch), marigolds, eggplant (as a lure for the Coloradopotato beetle) Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, sunflowers, tomatoes, raspberries
          Pepper Onion  
          Pumplins
          Corn
          Potatoes
          Radishes
          Peas, nasturtiums, lettuce, melons, cucumbers Hyssop
          Soybeans
          Grows with anything, helps everything
          Spinach Strawberries, eggplant
           
          Squash Nasturtiums, corn Potatoes
          Strawberries Bush beans, spinach, borage, ettuce (as a border), onions Cabbage
          Sunflowers Cucumbers Potatoes
          Tomatoes Chives, onions, parsley, asparagus, marigolds, nasturtiums, carrots Corn, Kohlrabi
          Turnips Peas  

           

          Oak tree: Concentrates calcium in its bark (bark ash is 77% calcium). In a special tea, it helps plants resist harmful diseases. The oak tree provides a beneficial influence around it that helps create excellent soil underneath its branches. This is a great place to build a compost pile for the same reason, but keep the pile at least 6 feet from the tree trunk so the environment near the tree will not be conducive to disease or attractive to harmful insects.

          Continue on to the next page for a chart on mutually beneficial herbs, weeds, and flowers and their companions.

           

           

          A list of herbs, their companions, and their uses, including some beneficial weeds and flowers can be found in the companion chart for herbs below.

          Plant (Herb)

          Basil
          Companion to tomatoes; dislikes rue intensely; improves growth and flavor; epels flies and mosquitoes
          Bee balm
          Companion to tomatoes; improves growth and flavo.
          Borage
          Companion to tomatoes, squash, and strawberries; deters tomato worms; improves growth and flavo.
          Caraway
          Plant here and there; loosens soil.
          Catnip
          Plant in borders; deters flea beetles.
          Chamomile
          Companion to cabbage and onions; improves growth and flavor.
          Chervil
          Companion to radishes; improves growth and flavor.
          Chives
          Companion to carrots; improves growth and flavor.
          "Dead" nettle
          Companion to potatoes; deters potato bugs; improves growth and flavor.
          Dill
          Companion to cabbage; dislikes carrots; improves the growth and health of cabbage.
          Fennel
          Plant away from gardens; most plants dislike it.
          Flax
          Companion to carrots and potatoes; deters potato bugs; improves growth and flavor.
          Garlic
          Plant near roses and raspberries; deters Japanese beetles; improves growth and health.
          Henbit
          General insect repellent.
          Horseradish
          Plant at the corners of a potato patch to deter potato bugs.
          Hyssop
          Deters cabbage moths; companion to cabbage and grapes.Keep away from radishes.
          Lamb's quarter's
          This edible weed should be allowed to grow in moderate amounts in the garden, especially in corn.
          Lemon balm
          Sprinkle throughout the garden.
          Lovage
          Improves flavor and health of plants if planted hee and there.
          Marigolds
          The workhorse of the pest deterrents. Plant throughout the garden; discourages Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, and other insects.
          Marjoram
          Here and there in the garden; improves flavor.
          Mint
          Companion to cabbage and tomatoes; improves health and flavor;deters white cabbage moths.
          Mole plant Deters moles and mice if planted here and there.
          Nasturlium Companion to radishes, cabbage, and gourds; plant under fruit trees; deters aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles; improves growth and flavor.
          Peppermint
          Planted among cabbages, it repels white cabbage butterflies
          Petunia
          Protects beans.
          Pigweed
          One of the best weeds for pumping nutrients from the subsoil; it is good for potatoes, onions, and corn; keep weeds thinned.
          Pot marigold (Calendula)
          Companion to tomatoes, but plant elsewhere in the garden, too; deters asparagus beetles, tomato worms, and general garden pests.
          Purslane
          deters asparagus beetles, tomato worms, and general garden pests.
          Rosemary Companion to cabbage, beans, carrots, and sage; deters cabbage moths, bean bettles, and carrot flies
          Rue Keep it far away from sweet basil; plant near roses and raspberries; deters Japanese beetles.
          Sage Plant with rosemary, cabbage, and carrots; keep away from cucumbers; deters cabbage moth, carrot fl.
          Southernwood Plant here and there in garden; companion to cabbage; improves growth and flavor; deters cabbage moths
          Sow thistle This weed in moderate amounts can help tomatoes, onions, and corn.
          Summer savory Plant with beans and onions; improves growth and flavor;deters bean beetles.
          Tansy Plant under fruit trees; companion to roses and raspberries; deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles,squash bugs, and ants.
          Tarragon Good throughout the garden.
          Thyme Here and there in the garden; deters cabbage worms.
          Valerian Good anywhere in the garden.
          Wormwood As a border, it keeps animals from the garden.
          Yarrow Plant along borders, paths, and near aromatic herbs; enhances essential oil production.

           

          All-Around Beneficial Influence—Certain herbs and one tree have a beneficial influence on the whole plant community. These plants and their characteristics are:

          • Lemon balm creates a beneficial atmosphee around itselfand attracts bees. Part of the mint family.
          • Marjoram has a beneficial efect on surrounding plants.
          • Oregano has a beneficial efect on surrounding plants.
          • Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica): Helps neighboring plants to grow more resistant to spoiling. Increases the essential oil content in many herbs. Stimulates humus formation. Helps stimulate fermentation in compost piles. As a tea, it promotes plant growth and helps strengthen plants. Concentrates sulfur, potassium, calcium, and iron in its body.
          • Valerian (Valeriana officinali): Helps most vegetables. Stimulates phosphorus activity in its vicinity. Encourages health and disease resistance in plants.
          • Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): A lime specialist. Contains a growth hormone which stimulates the growth of yeast. In a 1:100 ratio, it helps the growth of wheat. As a tea, it combats diseases such as damping off in young plants. Concentrates calcium, sulfur, and potash in its body.
          • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal): Increases the aromatic quality of all herbs. In small amounts it helps most vegetables. Concentrates potash in its body.

          Composting

          • Written by Jonathan White, Environmental Scientist

          For many people, composting is just an alternative way of dealing with rubbish.  It prevents the garbage bin from getting full and smelly.  It’s also a way of disposing of grass clippings and leaves, which saves many trips to the garbage depot. Whilst these things are valid, they are not giving compost the full credibility it deserves.  Compost can be very valuable when used in the right way.

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          Composting The Easy Way

            Having an ample supply of good rich compost is the gardeners' dream. Composthas many uses, and all of those uses will result in nicer plants. However, composting can be time consuming and hard work. I place a reasonable value on my time, so spending hours and hours turning compost piles doesn’t qualify as a worthwhile exercise, at least in my book. Nonetheless, I do compost, but I do so on my terms.

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