Now just like people, certain plants get along better the than others. In fact, herbs will work to benefit your garden by attracting certain insects to themselves and away from your plants! This process of planting certain herbs and vegetables in a beneficial sequence is called companion planting. Once you have your beds prepared, your soil ready, and have chosen the vegetables, fruit and herbs you would like to plant in your garden, the next step is to figure out where to place them. When I was deciding my plan of action, I literally drew out two boxes and wrote in where I wanted to place my plants. This helped to keep me organized and ensured more success in my garden.
Every year you will learn from mistakes made in the previous year. Gardening is a wealth of information that takes time to learn. As mentioned before, last year my tomato plants shaded out my green pepper, so right off the bat I knew this year I would place them on opposite sides of the box. In my search for more information on companion planting, I came across the following website and used it as a guide this year for my garden.
I started by listing the seedlings I had and then took notes from the website to organize my thoughts. Using my diagram and previous years experience, I set my plan into place.
I had eggplant, cucumber, black zucchini, two tomato varieties, green pepper, hot pepper, kale, several lettuces, garlic chives, basil, oregano, dill and cilantro. My diagram shown here is just to give you an idea of how to organize your garden. In the end, I ended up placing the two tomato plants side by side with some basil in between, as basil is favorable to tomatoes in enhancing their growth and flavor. Chives also enhance the growth and flavor of tomatoes so they went right in front of the tomato plants. Chives will also work to deter aphids, a common garden pest that loves to feed on plants like lettuce. I placed my lettuce near the tomatoes because they don’t take up much space and tomatoes will, so chives benefited both plants.
Flowers are also great for repelling insects in your garden! For example, marigolds use their strong odor to repel certain insects. I planted some next to my eggplant when it was infested with flea beetles and it helped solve my problem!
Dill can help repel the squash bug but it also attracts the tomato horn worm, so I knew I had to plant my tomatoes in a separate box from my squash if I wanted to plant dill. Oregano can help to repel the cucumber beetle so I made sure to put some next to my cucumber plant. Hot peppers also like oregano so I planned to place my hot peppers near the cucumber. Dill is also beneficial for cucumber so yet another reason to plant my cucumbers and tomatoes separately!
Exploring the world of companion planting was fascinating for me. Last year, I mainly planted herbs for flavor enhancements to dishes and salads. I continue to be amazed at how nature does it’s job so well. How if left to its own design, plants and herbs live in perfect harmony to produce a beautiful and healthy garden for your benefit. Expanding my knowledge in gardening only solidifies my personal beliefs that food should be a natural and organic process!