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Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

Being an Organic Gardner means I have to accept that my produce may have holes and unsightly blemishes from pests.  The trade off is that I am feeding my family and myself 100% clean food that has no poison on it or in it.

When you use pesticides and herbicides in a garden they do not only kill the bad insects but also the helpful insects.

So like almost all organic gardeners I choose to use the natural world around me to help repel pests and attract helpful insects.  I do this by companion planting; companion planting is growing one kind of plant alongside a different kind of plant. Some plants attract helpful insects. Other plants confuse or repel insect pests. When these plants are interplanted, they can help protect your crops from insect pests.

Now do I believe this will keep all pests from my garden? No, of course not, but I strongly believe that it helps, and cuts down on the number of pests I may have to deal with.  Another tactic that I use in the garden to lower my pest population is crop rotation.  I will cover this in a separate post later in the season.

Most vegetable gardeners have planted our first batch of vegetables and the pests are probably already moved in, so its time to think about planting strategies to deter them from munching on your lovely veggies.

Many insect pests attack only certain kinds of crops. They spread more quickly if a large area is planted with only the kind of crop they eat. If you interplant crops,

it’s not as easy for insect pests to spread and cause damage. So, many gardeners interplant with herbs and flowers that have strong scents, which may confuse or repel insect pests looking for crops to feed on. Here are some combinations that many gardeners use.

Silkie Hen eating up the nasturtium @ ahealthylifeforme

Tomatoes

GOOD:  Plant Basil, Marigold, Nasturtium, Parsley, Carrots, Chive, Garlic and Dill

BAD:  Pole beans, Fennel, Potato

Eggplant

GOOD:  Peppers, Spinach, Marigolds

BAD:  Fennel

Carrots

GOOD:  Beans, Brussels Sprouts, Chives,Lettuce, Leek, Onion, Peas, Radish, Rosemary, Sage and Tomato

BAD:  Celery, Dill Parsnip

Cucumbers

GOOD:  Beans, Dill, Marigold, Nasturtium, Onions, Radish, Marigolds

BAD:  Potato

Lettuce

GOOD:  Carrots, Garlic, Onion and Radish

BAD:  None

Peas

GOOD:  Carrots, Celery, Parsley, Radish, Spinach

BAD:  Onion

Bush Beans

GOOD:  Beets, Carrots, Celery, Lettuce, Radish, Rosemary, Marigold

BAD:  Basil, Fennel, Onion

Pole Beans

GOOD:  Carrots, Chard, Lettuce, Marigold, Radish, Rosemary

BAD:  Basil, Beets, Fennel, Onion, Radish

Melon

GOOD:  Nasturtium, Radish, Marigold

BAD:  Potato

Try planting Yarrow, Black Eyed Susan, Aster, and candytuft to attract insects, birds and spiders to your garden to help eliminate those bad insects.  They not only add color and beauty to the vegetable garden, but attract  bees, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects.

Hope all is going well in your garden

xo Amy Yarrow in the Vegetable Garden

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