Experiment with companion planting which has by now proven its effectiveness in organic vegetable gardening. It’s easy, all pros and no cons: no treating and less work!
A vegetable patch that is always green is the golden rule of companion planting: green manure and vegetables run an uninterrupted relay. No need to spade nor fertilize!
Simply run the cultivator once a year just after the last fall crop before sowing mustard seed. For the pathways you follow all around the garden, seed them over with clover. This special green manure has roots that work the soil loose and the greens serve as compost for the surface.
Match-making with vegetables
Organize your vegetable patch with spinach which you alternate with companion crops. Spinach will provide for the basic structure of your garden and will act as mulch. In addition, its roots will feed micro-organisms in the soil.
The three sisters corn, beans and squash is a triple-play score since these plants support each other wonderfully:
- corn makes a great stake for the beans,
- squash covers the ground,
- corn and squash maximize the capacity of beans to extract nitrogen from the air to pack it into the ground.
Sow cosmos or other plants of the Asteraceae family among the cabbage to repel large white (the dreadful cabbage moth). The many butterflies attracted by these flowers scare the devastating cabbage moths away.
Supportive vegetable patch neighbors
Plant leek or chives within your strawberry bed, so that the fruit bush may benefit from the disinfectant properties of these Alliaceae family members. Carrot and onion are best friends: each protects the other from its specific parasite fly.
Carrot also appreciates tomato. The gardener’s favorite vine has the reputation of making insects flee because of its strong smell. Plant French marigold in the same hole as tomato plant to fight off nematodes.
Pair savory with beans. This fends off aphids. Chervil and basil will protect cucumbers from downy mildew. These herbs will also attract pollinating bees to ensure fruit formation. With a few season’s practice, you’ll be finding your own successful companions!
- Read our article on vegetable companion planting.