Companion Plantings and Growing Great Vegetables in North Dakota
H-1185 GROWING GREAT In North DakotaRon SmithExtension Horticulturist Know The Soil year assures good tilth, a buffering action against temperature extremes, Fertility – Test It First and more efficient water use. The initial step with first time veg-There is more to vegetable gardening etable gardeners is to have the soil Ideally, if the soil can be turned overthan putting seed in the ground. tested. The same advice holds true in the fall, it would be subject to the freezing and thawing action in theIt involves seedbed preparation, for experienced gardeners who have spring that would help to break up theselecting seeds of varieties that not had the soil tested for several clods. All that is required in the spring years or are not getting the growtheveryone in the family will enjoy, response expected from a particular is to level the soil. If the soil cannot be worked until spring, then take care toand deciding what will get planted crop. NDSU’s Soil Testing Lab not work it too early when it is still wet.where and when, what to seed and provides that service for a nominal Doing so will destroy the structure ofwhat to be set out as transplants. fee. A basic test runs from $20 to $30 the soil, which could ruin any good and should include pH, organic matterThese and other decisions are content, phosphorus, potassium, and drainage qualities the soil may have originally had.all part of realizing a successful soluble salt content. Although nitrogenvegetable gardening season. is often not tested because of mobility in the soil, it is suggested that this test Selecting Seeds be included, as high nitrogen levels One way to shorten North Dakota’s from excessive fertilizer applications winters is go through the numerous are often the cause of poor crop gardening catalogs that arrive during performance. those frosty months. The photos and One of the hallmarks of a successful descriptions of our favorite veggies vegetable garden is the tilth or make us long for the planting season workability of the soil. Good tilth to arrive. Many of us purchase more equals good drainage, and with seed during this time than we would good drainage increases the chances ever have time or space to plant in a of crop success significantly. One single season, so make up a selective thing that always helps improve soil list, basing it on what you know your condition is the addition of organic family will consume fresh, plus some matter like sphagnum peat moss. more for preserving, if that is yourNorth Dakota State UniversityFargo, North Dakota 58105 Working organic matter in each intent. Refer to the “VegetableReviewed and reprinted April 2009 Planting Guide” chart in this circular.
Many gardeners try to save seed fromtheir crops each year to replant the into their reproductive cycle and produce seed the first season. Cultivar Selectionfollowing year, or attempt to look for This is one of the fastest moving Perennial: These are vegetables targets in vegetable gardening.“Bargain Basement Specials” in seed that are around for several years It is not the intent of this circularpurchases. Generally both are bad without replanting. These are to begin naming any particularideas, since the average home asparagus, chives, top multiplier vegetable cultivars, as there aregardener does not have proper seed onions, and rhubarb. Because of literally hundreds introduced eachstorage facilities, and bargains may their permanence, any planting of year. NDSU runs continuous trialsend costing you more in frustration in this class of vegetable should be on many of the new introductionsthe long run. Most well-known seed well thought out in reference to each year at the various experimentcompanies go to a great deal of effort getting into and out of the garden stations around the state. Gardenersand expense to provide the cleanest area, access to water, and ample interested in particular cultivarsand most viable seed possible. sunlight for many years to come. should check with local NDSUOverall, the seed that is purchasedwill be the smallest part of your Extension agents to see if that one Root, Stem, and Bulb: Rootinvestment in vegetable gardening. has been trialed locally. Otherwise, vegetables are those with thickenedIt is worth the price to pay for top gardeners are advised to make roots that are consumed either freshquality seed. selections that would mature within or cooked. These are beet, carrot, our normal gardening season, celeriac, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, something under 120 days, and likely salsify, sweet potato, and turnip.Vegetable Types less than 100 days in the northernThere are classifications of Fruit: Botanical reality classifies part of the state.vegetables every gardener should some vegetables as fruits. These are Many All-America Selections arebe aware of. The following is a brief snap beans, cucumber, eggplant, grown each year at the NDSUsummary of those classes, with some edible gourd, melons, okra, edible-pod Experiment Stations and, for the mostexamples, so that selections can be pea, pepper, pumpkin, squash, sweet part, provide success for both themade based on interest and space corn, and tomato. beginning and experienced gardener.available. Herb: Depending on how the plant is going to be used, many can comeAnnuals: These are the vegetablesmost gardeners are familiar with, under this classification. For culinary, Planting Layoutsincluding beans, broccoli, Chinese aromatic, or some form of physical There are four basic vegetablecabbage, eggplant, lettuce, mustard, therapy purposes, the definition of gardening layouts the gardenerokra, peas, pumpkin, spinach, herbs here will be confined to those can follow, depending on the spacesquash, sweet corn, tomato, and crops that remain herbaceous where available, ambition, and the volumewatermelon. Planted from seed or they can be used for one of the of harvest desired.transplants, they complete their life mentioned purposes. Many herbs Wide Row Spacing: These arecycle in one growing season. abound in American gardens these usually planted on 4-inch to 24-inch days, including basil, borage,Biennials: These vegetables will wide bands where small vegetables caraway, chive, dill, oregano,require two seasons to complete their like carrot, beet, radish, lettuce, snap rosemary, sage, parsley,growing season, although most of the sweet marjoram,time that is not the objective of the and thyme.gardener. Hence, they are grown asannuals, with their edible part beingharvested sometime during thegrowing season. These would includebeet, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,carrot, cauliflower, chard, collard,endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, onion,parsley, parsnip, salsify, turnip.Sometimes these plants will do whatis known as “bolting,” where they willgo through a sufficient enough coldperiod in the growing season to get
bean, and onion can be scatteredand not planted in single rows. This Transplants Weed, Diseasereduces somewhat, the need for thin- Tomatoes, pepper, cabbage, and Insect Controlning, although some is still necessary. eggplant, and sometimes melons Many available cultivars have diseaseWhat is saved in thinning time is are grown as transplants rather than and insect resistance bred into them.usually made up in weeding time. direct seeding. Select such cultivars wheneverFurrows: This is the most common Unless the home gardener has possible. This not only saves time,method of backyard gardening, where adequate space, light, and proper it reduces inputs that have a negativecrops are planted in straight row temperature control, it is far easier impact on the environment. Oftenfurrows. Mark the rows between two to purchase plants from a local diseases can be controlled simplystakes with twine attached, pulled garden center that specializes with good cultural practices: driptaut, with either a stick or the edge in growing them. If purchasing irrigation instead of overhead water-of a hoe, depending on the seed transplants, select the healthiest ing, proper plant spacing, roguingsize. This method can be set up for looking plants, that are free of any plants that show the first symptomsbetween row cultivation based on the visible insect or disease damage. of disease, and maintaining a propergardener’s tiller width, which would nutrient balance. Damaging insects Ask the garden center operator if they can be controlled by practicingsave time in weed control. It also has have been properly “hardened off,”aesthetic appeal to many gardeners, integrated plantings of flowers and a term that means the plants havein addition to making it easier to vegetables. Plantings of asters, been conditioned to the outdoorscontrol insect and disease problems. mums, cosmos, coreopsis, nastur- for at least two weeks before setting tiums, and marigolds throughoutSquare Foot Gardening: This them into the garden. If not, then the the vegetable garden not only addmethod divides the garden into 4-foot task is yours to do. This involves to the aesthetics of the setting, butby 4-foot squares using brick, used moving the plants outdoors during help deter the activity of damagingrailroad ties, landscape ties, or any the daytime and back in at night, insects on the vegetable crops.other convenient hardscape material. gradually increasing their exposureWithin those squares, each square to sunlight over this period of time Weeds will be the major nemesis forfoot will hold one, two, three or more and withholding water slightly. Try most gardeners. Daily visits to theplants, depending on the variety being to avoid excessive exposure to wind. garden will provide some beneficialselected. For example, one 4-foot x exercise to keep the sprouting weeds under control. If that is not part of4-foot square would hold four tomatoplants. This method results in high Planting and your plan, then planting in a syntheticproduction per unit area, makes weed Transplanting mulch such as black plastic, or mulching with a clean organiccontrol relatively easy, and allows Seed packets and seed catalogs material such as flax straw, willaccess to the garden even after a provide ample information on how keep the weeds under control.heavy rain. to plant the vegetable variety within.Hill Planting: This term, “hill,” Following those carefully thought-out If synthetics must be used in anyleads to confusion with beginning directions is an easy step up the pest control problem, try to selectgardeners. It simply means planting ladder to success. the material that is least toxic to thein a circle, not in a raised mound. environment. Bacillus thuringiensis With transplants, avoid root distur- (Bt), insecticidal soap, and neem oilMound planting is not recommended bance as much as possible. If the are examples of pesticides that arebecause the soil tends to dry faster plants are in a peat pot or pellet, be approved for organic gardeningthan if it were level. sure the edges of the pots are below practices.Hill planting is used for vine or large the soil surface or they will act as avegetables, such as squash, melons, wick and dry out the root ball. Tryand cucumbers. This gives both the to plan the transplanting in the late All-America Selections For 2000root system and aerial portion of afternoon or early evening, or on a Cabbage – F1 ‘Savoy Express’these plants greater access to space, cloudy day, when the shock of trans- Pea – ‘Mr. Big’water, and nutrients. The seeds are planting will be lessened somewhat. Pepper – F1 ‘Blushing Beauty’planted in a rough 12-inch circle, and Greater success can be realized if a Sweet Corn – F1 ‘Indian Summer’later thinned to three or four plants. cup or two of a nutrient solution can be given to each plant immediately All were trialed at either the FargoBe sure to leave 24-30 inches or Dickinson research sites, andbetween hills. after setting it into the soil. performed satisfactorily.
References and Resources Vegetable Planting Guide Lee, A.W. 1993, Backyard Market Seeds or Plants Inches Inches Days Yield Gardening; The Entrepreneur’s for each When to between between until per 10 ft.Vegetables 10 ft of Row Plant* Plant Rows Edible of Row Guide to Selling What YouAsparagus 7 crowns 1 16-24 36-38 1-2 years 3-4 lb Grow, Good Earth Publications,Beans, bush 1½ oz. 3,4,5 2-3 24 50-70 6 lb Burlington, VT.Beans, lima 1½ oz. 4 4-6 24 65-90 2 lb Riotte, L., 1983, Roses LoveBeans, pole 1 oz. 4 4-6 24 45-65 3-4 lb Garlic; Secrets of CompanionBeets ½ packet 1,2,3,4 2-3 12-18 60-110 10 lb Planting with Flowers, TheBroccoli 5-7 plants 1,5 18-24 24-30 60-80 10 Alpine Press, Special McKenzieCabbage 7-10 plants 1,2,5 18-24 20-28 60-100 10 heads Edition, December 1988.Carrots ½ packet 1,2,4,5 2-3 12-18 60-100 10 lb ______, 1992, Rodale’s All-NewCauliflower 5-10 plants 1,5 18-24 24-30 60-80 10 lb Encyclopedia of OrganicCelery 20 plants 2,5 6 20-24 120-150 8-13 lb Gardening, Rodale Press,Chinese Cabbage 7-10 plants 6 12-18 20-24 80-100 10 heads Emmaus, PACorn, sweet 1 packet 3,4,5 8-12 30-36 65-100 11-13 ears W. Atlee Burpee CompanyCucumbers ½ packet 4,5 15-18 48-60 50-80 10 lb 300 Park AvenueEggplant 6-8 packets 4 18 24-30 75-85 20 fruits Warminster, PA 18974Endive 1 packet 1 6 12 85 6 lbKale 1 packet 1,6 4 12-18 60-70 2-5 lb Farmer Seed & Nursery Co.Kohlrabi c packet 1,2,3 4-6 15-24 50-60 8 lb Faribault, MN 55021Lettuce, leaf 1 packet 1,2,3,6 — 6-15 40-60 5 lb Henry Field Seed & Nursery Co.Muskmelon 1 packet 4 18-24 48-60 90-120 10 melons Shenandoah, IA 51602Mustard 1 packet 1,2,3,6 4 12-18 40-60 4-8 lb Gurney Seed & Nursery Co.Okra ¼ oz. 3 12 18-24 70-90 5 lb 1448 Page StreetOnion seed 1 packet 1,2,3 2-3 12-15 100-140 10 lb Yankton, SD 57059Onion sets 60 sets 1,2 2-3 12-15 90-100 10 lbParsley 1 packet 1,2,3 4 12-18 80-100 ½-1 lb Harris SeedsParsnips 1 packet 1,2 3 18-24 140-160 10-12 lb Moreton FarmPeas 1½ oz 1,2 1-2 6-12 45-90 3 lb 3670 Buffalo Road Rochester, NY 14624Peppers 5-7 plants 4 18 18 70-75 80 fruitPotatoes, Irish 10 pieces 1,2,3 12 24-36 14-150 30 lb Johnny’s Selected SeedsPotatoes, sweet 10 sprouts 4 18 36-48 140-150 12 lb Foss Hill RoadPumpkins & Albion, ME 04910 winter squash 1-2 hills 4 4 60-72 90-120 40Radishes 1 packet 1,2,6 1-1½ 6-12 30-60 10 bunches Liberty Seed Co.Rhubarb 3 crowns 1 36-72 36-60 1 year 12 lb P.O. Box 806 New Philadelphia, OH 44663Spinach 1 packet 1,2,6 3 12-18 50-70 5 lbSquash, summer ½ packet 4 4 24-30 60-75 60 fruit Stokes SeedsSwiss chard 8 plants 1,2 6-8 15-18 50-75 12 lb Box 548Tomatoes 2-5 plants 4 24-36 24-48 70-100 60 lb Buffalo, NY 14240Turnips c packet 5,6 18-24 18-24 60-90 10 Otis S. Twilley Seed Co.Watermelons ¼ packet 4 60-84 60-84 90-130 4-10 melons P.O. Box F65* Planting Date Code Numbers: Trevose, PA 19047 1. As soon as soil can be worked without becoming cloddy, generally mid to late April 2. Approximately 10 days later than number 1 3. Approximately 20 days later than number 1 4. After all danger of frost is past 5. Early June plantings of longer season vegetables for fall crops 6. Late June-early July planting of shorter season vegetables for fall consumption For more information on this and other topics, see: www.ag.ndsu.eduThis publication may be copied for noncommercial, educational purposes in its entirety with no changes. Requests to use any portion of the document(including text, graphics or photos) should be sent to NDSU.firstname.lastname@example.org. Include exactly what is requested for use and how it will be used. North Dakota State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam Era Veterans status, sexual orientation, marital status, or public assistance status. Direct inquiries to the Chief Diversity Officer, 205 Old Main, (701) 231-7708. County Commissions, NDSU and U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating.This publication will be made available in alternative formats for people with disabilities upon request, (701) 231-7881. 4M-4-01; 1M-4-09