Tag Archives: planting

Does Companion Planting Work? Just Ask My Beans!

After quite a bit of reading about companion planting, last spring I decided to try it.

Exactly what is companion planting, you ask? Companion planting is simply the process of planting different plants together that mutually benefit from having each other around. Native Americans used to do this with their corn, pole beans, and squash. They would make little mounds and plant several corn in the center. As the corn grew they would plant beans and squash around it. The corn provided the poles for the beans, the beans provided the nitrogen for the soil, and the squash acted as a mulch – preventing weeds and retaining moisture.

So I decided to give it a try – though not exactly as the natives did. I planted my corn in a block about 25 feet long and six feet wide with two feet between stalks. The corn was double planted and I planted two regular bush-type beans between the corn stalks. In the end, it looked like this…

Corn & Beans Interplanted

Yesterday I picked the beans. When I compared the beans planted with the corn, they were much bigger than the same beans planted elsewhere in the garden. I was impressed. Companion planting does indeed work! So next year I thing I might try a few more combos.

Try These In Your Garden

Onion – plant with parsley to keep away onion fly
Celery – plant with cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower to deter butterflies (grows well with beans, tomatoes, and leeks)
Asparagus – plant with tomatoes, parsley, or basil
Swiss Chard – plant with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, lettuce, or herbs – do not plant with string beans
Beets – plant with kohlrabi, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower – do not plant with string beans, dill, or fennel
Brussels Sprouts – plant with onions
Cabbage – plant with herbs, onion, garlic, peas, celery, potatoes, or beets
Kohlrabi – plant with beets or onions
Peppers – plant with basil, okra, or tomatoes
Cucumber – plant with corn, sunflowers, peas, beans, beets, or carrots
Pumpkin & Squash -  Plant with corn, peas, or beans
Carrot – Plant with onions, annual flowers, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, or peas – do not plant with anise and dill
Lettuce – Plant with cucumbers, onions, radishes, carrots, or dill (dill protects them from aphids)
Tomato – Plant with basil, parsley, and asparagus or French marigolds (French marigolds deter whiteflies)
Bean – plant with celery, corns, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or melons
Peas – plant with beans, root crops, potatoes, or corn
Radish –  Plant with peas or lettuce
Potato – plant with corn, cabbage, beans, or marigolds
Spinach – plant with beans, peas, corn, and strawberries
Corn – Plant with beans, peas, sunflowers, cucumbers, squash, melons, and potatoes

Time To Start My Corn Seedlings

Today I planted some corn. I’ve never planted corn as indoor seedlings before, but after attending the Veggie Basics Course held by Alberta Agriculture, I’m thinking that a three week head start on the season might just be what my corn needs. Why? Because for the last two years this is about all I got…

Cornless Corn

Just nice looking plants. Not much to eat though. So after Jennifer from www.alibisrandom.blogspot.com reminded me that it is “only three more weeks until garden time”, I decided it was time to start some corn.

I had planned on one large corn patch of two varieties, but after reading a little about corn, I discovered that you may not get the kind of corn you want if you plant two varieties. In order to stay true to the variety of corn you plant, different varieties must be at least 100 ft. apart (so they say). I have two garden patches this year, so if I plant corn in the farthest edges of the two, they’ll end up being about 60 ft apart. So that’ll have to do. If it isn’t far enough – well, hopefully the corn I’m starting now will be finished pollinating before the later corn is ready to begin. And if that still doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll get funny corn. Either way, it’s worth a try.

So the variety that I’m planting today is ‘Fleet Bi-color’. Its very early for corn – just 59 days. If I’m calculating right, that should give me corn on July 26th. Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m that optimistic.

Starting Tomato, Cucumber, Watermelon, and Pepper Seedlings

Yesterday, April 7, 2008 , I planted my first seeds of the year. If you’ve never started your own plants from seed before, you’ve got to try it – it’s amazingly simple! Here’s what I did.

First I collected my supplies:

  • A plastic starter tray complete with transplanting inserts (72 cells)
  • Some potting soil
  • Plastic labels (plastic margarine container lids cut into strips)
  • And yes, seeds
Planting Seedlings

Then I filled the cells with the potting soil and lightly patted them down. Each cell then received a finger poke in the center. My daughter and I then dropped two seeds in each little hole. (The weaker of the two seedlings will get pinched out after they’ve sprouted.)

Here’s what I planted:

Planting An Oak Tree

A couple of days ago I planted an acorn with my daughter, and by George, I think it’s going to grow. Over Easter I traveled to BC to visit my folks who live south of Revelstoke, and as we waited for the ferry, we took a little walk in the park-like rest area. Most of the ground still had snow on it, but there were a few bare patches underneath a few oak trees. Most of the acorns had been taken by the wild animals over winter, but we found a few. And wouldn’t you know it, some of them had begun to sprout.

Sprouting Acorn

So we collected them in a little plastic bag we had and added a little water so they wouldn’t dry out. Once we got to my folks house, I filled the bag with some damp sawdust so they would survive the several days it would be until we returned home. And they seemed to thrive in that sawdust, because what had been just a little knob peeking out of the shell grew into a good sprout by the time we got home.

Now on the top of my fridge sits two little pots that are hopefully growing a couple of oak trees. I’m not sure how long it will take to see anything on the surface, but I’m confident that by next spring, I’ll have at least one little seedling that I can plant in our yard… as long as I remember to water it.

Update: April 12, 2008

One week old oak tree seedling

Wow! Just one week later, this little seedling has sprouted and sits at about two inches tall! The other acorn I planted is slightly smaller, but it has two stems. Is that normal?

Update:  April 21, 2008

Three week old oak tree seedling

Now five inches high and eight inches wide. Looking good!