April 28, 2011

Companion Gardening

Companion gardening has been happening for centuries, but for those of us newer to the gardening genre, it may be a very new concept!

What is it?  Companion gardening is finding plants that work well planted near each other in an effort to benefit one another, both in growth and pest control.  Some plants deter pests, while others may attract the right kind of insect to pollinate or eat other predators.  With the right planning, your plants can make a great team and take great care of each other!

So let's look as some great match-ups:

  • MARIGOLDS give off a very strong smell that many bugs find annoying such as aphids.  You may have also heard that they can deter rabbits.  I read recently they may also deter japanese beetles.  These are a great addition to plant among your tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, beans and roses.
  • ONIONS deter slugs.  They protect tomatoes from red spiders and roses from aphids, black spot and mildew.  DO NOT plant them near peas or beans as they may inhibit growth to those vegetables.
  • ASPARAGUS and TOMATO can be planted together, as they scare off each others pests.
  • DATURA or Angel Trumpet is a deterrent for japanese beetles.  However this is a poisonous plant, so take care to read up on it and use caution if pets or children are in your garden.
  • GERANIUM can be paired with cabbage, corn, grapes, tomatoes and roses.  Geranium's also attract japanese beetles, but when the beetles eat the geranium they are paralyzed for up to 30 minutes by the toxins.  This is a perfect chance for predators, like birds and gardeners, to pluck them off the plants!
  • BASIL goes well with peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus.  It repels aphids, mosquitoes and mites.  DO NOT plant near rue or sage.
  • BAYLEAF hung around your home will send the ladybugs back outside where they belong.
  • DILL planted near cucumbers attracts predators.  They are also great near lettuce.  DO NOT plant near tomatoes, carrots or lavender.  Dill also attracts many butterflies.  Tuck them into your flower garden!
  • MINT deters moths, ants, rodents and aphids.  But be careful planting mint, as it can be invasive.
  • PEPPERS go great near tomatoes, parsley, basil and geraniums.
So before putting those vegetables in the ground, plot them out on a piece of paper, making sure there is plenty of space for air movement, and choose your companion plants to help control pests!

Have you discovered any other great plant combinations?  We'd love to hear about it!

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