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Making sense of companion planting

  • Blog Post by: Helen Yarmoska
  • May 3, 2011 - 8:10 AM

 

Delicious Tomatoes - ready for the giving!

Delicious Tomatoes - ready for the giving!

Last week I was working on a Master Gardening project that involves helping a company with a vegetable garden.  This company is going to plant and tend the garden throughout the year and donate all the food gathered to a food shelf; extremely commendable.  

Another Master Gardener and I are providing assistance in garden design recommendations, planting instructions, and garden troubleshooting.  I was working on garden design.

At first I was concerned with plant height and shading and where to plant the flowers in order to attract pollinators.  Then I found something on Companion Planting and all heck broke loose.

The volunteers wanted to plant potatoes -- a fabulous food to donate as they are packed with nutrition

Potatoes - good and good for you.

Potatoes - good and good for you.

and easy to prepare.  But according to Wikipedia, you’re not supposed to plant potatoes and tomatoes in the same garden bed.  I checked my sources then double checked.  There is some scientific evidence that the Companion Planting (and avoidance) makes sense.

 

Grandpa said that it’s good to plant basil and tomatoes together, but according to one of the articles I read, it’s the scent of the basil plant that deters tomato hornworms.  Then there’s the whole Nightshade family vs. the Brassicas family.  It makes Peppers and Cabbages out like the Hatfields and McCoys.

There’s so much that this project has made me think about – companion planting, donating food from your garden, and why DON’T nightshade and brassicas get along?   I look to the experience of you readers.  What do you know about companion planting?  Have you ever donated your overabundance of crops?  Suddenly this GreenGirl feels like a greenhorn.

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