Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Toledo Talks - Companion Gardening

Nothing says springtime like gardening. I didn't start any seeds this year, so today I visited our local nursery and bought my winter-hardy vegetable plants -- kale, broccoli, chard, cabbage, and kohlrabi. I love fresh greens, so I tend to plant a lot of them. My plan was to go home and plant them before dinner.

Unfortunately, before I got home, it started to rain. So my planting plans were put on hold. Instead, I sat down and sketched out some rough plans of where I'd plant this year. Choosing the right companion groupings is important, not only for natural pest control, but also because some plants affect the flavor of other plants. For example, planting kohlrabi stunts the growth of tomato plants. Tomatoes stunt the growth of carrots. Basil makes tomatoes taste better -- as if most tomatoes don't taste good enough on their own.

It's a big puzzle and I should have asked Hanover to help me with it. He loves puzzles. But he was busy calming Regan down about some foolish monkey thing he did to her. I'm sure she'll fill you in on all that later. So here is the plan I came up with. It's not perfect and I'm sure I'll modify it some as I start planting. It also doesn't show the herbs and flowers. I like to intermingle them with the vegetables in a more natural way. There is nothing like the smell of fresh basil to perk you up when you're weeding the tomatoes or checking the squash for squash bug eggs.

Are you planting a garden this year? I'd love to hear what you do to help it thrive.

Here's some more information about companion gardening.
Golden Harvest Organics
An In-Depth Companion Planting Guide