South Haven Garden Club Nancy Daugherty February 9, 2009
Flower/Vegetable Companion Gardening Companion gardening is a concept whereyou plant specific plants close to each otherin order to achieve a desired effect - such as better yields, bigger flowers, or repelling insects. People are discovering morecombinations all the time. Why certain plants are compatible and others are not isnt well understood.
Roses and ChivesGardeners have beenplanting garlic with rosesfor eons, because garlicis said to repel rosepests. Garlic chivesprobably are just asrepellent, and their smallpurple or white flowers inlate spring look great withrose flowers and foliage.
IntercroppingCompanion planting, or intercropping,allows us to take advantage of certainchemical interactions between plants.These interactions can be used toencourage plant growth and health in asymbiotic manner. Every plant releasesdifferent chemical agents, either aboveground through its leaves, or below groundfrom its roots.
Chemistry of Companion PlantingThese chemicals attract or repel insects, andeither aid, or discourage their growth andreproduction.Below ground, plant roots release amino acids,vitamins, sugars, tannins, alkaloids,phosphatides, and glucosides into the soil,affecting plants either positively or negatively,resulting in plant health, or disease. Chemicalsemitted from plant roots will either attract orrepel underground insects.
How does companion planting work?• Companions prevent pest problems— Plants like onions repel some pests. Other plants can lure pests away from more desirable plants.• Companions attract beneficial insects—Every successful garden needs plants that attract the predators of pests.
How does companion planting work?• Companions help each other grow— Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants.• Companions use garden space efficiently—Vining plants cover the ground, upright plants grow up. Two plants in one patch.
Corn and BeansThe beans attract beneficial insects that prey oncorn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armywormsand leaf beetles and bean vines climb up thecorn stalks.
Potatoes and Sweet AlyssumThe sweet alyssum has tiny flowers thatattract delicate beneficial insects, such aspredatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssumalongside bushy crops like potatoes, or letit spread to form a living ground coverunder arching plants like broccoli. Bonus:The alyssums sweet fragrance will scentyour garden all summer.
Radishes and SpinachRadishes attractleafminers away fromthe spinach. Thedamage theleafminers do toradish leaves doesntprevent the radishesfrom growing nicelyunderground.
Cucumbers and NasturtiumsThe nasturtiums viningstems make them a greatcompanion ramblingamong the cucumbers.Nasturtiums are reputedto repel cucumberbeetles, but they also canbe used as habitat forpredatory insects, suchas spiders and groundbeetles.
Tomatoes and CabbageTomatoes arerepellent todiamondback mothlarvae, which arecaterpillars that chewlarge holes incabbage leaves.
Collards and CatnipStudies have found that planting catnipalongside collards reduces flea-beetledamage on the collards. Collards Catnip
Cauliflower and Dwarf ZinniasThe nectar from the dwarf zinnias luresladybugs and other good predators that helpprotect cauliflower.
Cabbage and DillDill is a great companionfor cabbage family plants,such as broccoli andbrussel sprouts. Thecabbages support thefloppy dill, while the dillattracts the tiny beneficialwasps that controlimported cabbagewormsand other cabbage pests.
Peppers and Pigweed or RagweedLeafminers preferred theweeds to pepper plants ina study at the CoastalPlains Experiment Stationin Tifton, Georgia. Just becareful to remove theweeds flowers beforethey set seed or youllhave trouble controllingthe weeds.
Short and Tall PlantsPlants have different sun and shaderequirements, and plants that prefer shadeshould be planted under those that wantsun. Lettuce and spinach will benefit ifplanted under the shade of a tallercompanion.
Lettuce and Tall FlowersNicotiana (flowering tobacco) and cleome(spider flower) give lettuce the light shade itgrows best in. Cleome Nicotiana Lettuce
Annual flowers and vegetables combined in a raised bed
Containers• Almost any type of container can be used for growing vegetable plants. For example, try using bushel baskets, drums, gallon cans, tubs or wooden boxes. The size of the container will vary according to the crop selection and space available. Pots from 6 to 10 inches in size are satisfactory for green onion, parsley and herbs. For most vegetable crops such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, you will find 5-gallon containers are the most suitable size. They are fairly easy to handle and provide adequate space for root growth.
Container Gardening Guidelines• Avoid containers with narrow openings.• Cheap plastic pots may deteriorate in UV sunlight and terracotta pots dry out rapidly. Glazed ceramic pots are excellent choices but require several drainage holes.• Wooden containers are susceptible to rot. Redwood and cedar are relatively rot resistant and can be used without staining or painting. Avoid wood treated with creosote, penta or other toxic compounds since the vapors can damage the plants. One advantage of wooden containers is that they can be built to sizes and shapes that suit the location.
Container Gardening Guidelines• Use containers between 15 and 120 quarts capacity. Small pots restrict the root area and dry out very quickly. The size and number of plants to be grown will determine the size of the container used. Deep rooted vegetables require deep pots.
Container Gardening Growing Mixture• When you add your soil to your container, leave a 2 inch space between the top of the soil and the top of the container. You will be able to add 1/2 inch or so of mulch later.• Most container gardeners have found that a "soilless" potting mix works best. In addition to draining quickly, "soilless" mixes are lightweight and free from soil-borne diseases and weed seeds. These mixes can be purchased from garden centers.• Make your own mix of equal amounts of peat moss, potting soil, and vermiculite, perlite or clean sand. You can also add your own compost for better water retention.
Container Gardening Sunlight Requirements• Your container garden will need at least five hours of direct sunlight each day, and many plants will benefit from even more. As a general rule, leafy vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce can tolerate the most shade, while root crops such as beets and carrots will need more sun. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers need the most sun. The amount of sunlight needed by flowers varies depending on the varieties grown. Check the flower guides for sunlight requirements.
Container Gardening Fertilizer• Since potting mixes drain water rapidly, fertilizer will be washed out of the container as you water. Lighter mixes will require more frequent fertilizing than heavier mixes. Its a good idea to use a dilute liquid fertilizer with every other watering. Liquid fish emulsion or liquid seaweed are great plant boosters, but remember that you need to provide your plants with a variety of nutrients. Check the labels on the products in your garden center to be sure that they contain a complete, balanced solution that includes trace elements.
Container Gardening Watering• In an exposed location, container plants loose moisture quickly. Some plants will need to be watered daily, especially during hot, dry weather.• A light layer of organic mulch will help retain moisture.
Container Gardening What to Plant - VegetablesContainer VegetableSize Snap Beans – Blue Lake, Contender, Topcrop, Greencrop,5 gal (Pole)Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonderwindow Lima Beans – White Dixie Wonderbox Beets – Early Wonder, Detroit Dark Red Lettuce – Salad Bowl, Ruby, Oak Leaf, Little Gem, Buttercrunch, Bib, Romaine, Dark Green Boston Onion – White Sweet Spanish, Yellow Sweet Spanish, Green Radish – Cherry Belle, White Icicle, Champion, Scarlet Globe Spinach – Melody, America, Avon Hybrid Broccoli – Super Blend, or Italian Green Sprouting15 gal tub Cabbage – Discovery3-5 plants Chinese Cabbage – Michihli Peppers – Yolo Wonder, Keystone Resistant Giant, New Ace, (Hot)Jalapeno, Red Cherry
Container Gardening What to Plant - VegetablesContainer Size Vegetable Tomatoes - Tiny Tim, Small Fry, Sweet 100, Patio,5 gal pot Burpees Pixie, Toy Boy, Early Girl, Better Boy VFN, Pixie, Red Robin, Sugar Lump, Spring Giant, Saladette, Tumblin Tom (hanging baskets) Cucumbers – Burpless, Liberty, Early Pik, Crispy, Salty, Spacemaster, Bush, Salad Bush Hybrid Squash – Dixie, Gold Neck, Early Prolific Straight Neck, (Green) Zucco, Diplomat, Senator Eggplant – Florida Market, Black Beauty, Long Tom
Container Gardening What to Plant - Annuals Annuals suitable for containers include:Alyssum Latana PetuniasBegonia Lobelia SalviaBrowallia Marigolds SanvitaliaColeus Periwinkle SnapdragonsGeraniums Nasturtiums ThunbergiaImpatiens Pansies Zinnias