Saturday, May 12, 2012

Companion planting

Lettuce planted with companion strawberries and cucumbers

Monday, May 12, 2012

Most have heard of the 3 Sisters-corn, beans and squash planted together.  This is an example of companion planting-planting veggies together that help each other out.  Plants can give off chemicals, create usable nitrogen, have scents, suck nutrients or bring nutrients to the surface that can be either beneficial or detrimental to those planted near them.

For small gardens that cannot do the traditional crop rotation, companion planting is even more important to the long term health of the garden.  
Here is a list of companions for the veggies I have planted:
*Beets-lettuce, onions, cabbage
*Chard-lettuce, onions, cabbage
*Cucumber-beans, nasturtiums, leeks, onions, peas, radishes, sunflowers
*Lettuce-radishes, strawberries, and cucumbers
*Onions-summer savory, chamomile
*Peppers-basil and okra
*Tomatoes-asparagus, basil, carrots, celery, chives, garlic, onions, parsley
*Squash-icicle radishes, nasturtiums

Just plant the companions next to each other to help each out.  To get the most from your small space, check out how to do intensive gardening


  1. Plants do not "create" nitrogen, for heaven's sake. Maybe people would pay more attention to your otherwise at least marginally useful site if you were more precise in saying what happens.

  2. I was using simplistic terms. To be more precise, legumes have a symbiotic relationship within nodules on their root system containing a bacteria called rhizobia. These rhizobia convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into usable nitrogen compounds for the plant. When the plant dies, the nitrogen is released from the nodules and is made available to other plant's roots to fully utilize.

    This is also why it is recommended to inoculate legume seeds. The inoculant is actually rhizobia. This helps the roots as they emerge to create even more nodules, and thus more available nitrogen.

    Now, if you let the legume produce many pods, they will use up much of their stored nitrogen compounds. Many will plant legumes as a cover crop that is tilled under before fruiting so all the fixated nitrogen is released for the next crop's use.

    Be sure to not pull your legumes so you leave the roots with their available nitrogen in the soil
    : )

    Legumes include the common garden vegetables peas and beans.