I have a small vegetable garden which I have kept organic/pesticide free for 6 years. One solution that I would like to generate discussion about is companion planting.
I have found that BORAGE is a fine, if somewhat invasive, herb which draws lots of pollinators. I call it my guardian plant because I use it to keep ‘bad’ bugs away and encourage good bugs. I allow it to self seed on the edges of the garden.
I use majestic SUNFLOWERS as stakes for the tomatoes and cucumbers. I trim the bottom leaves off once they are established so as not to rob the vegetables of sunshine. The sunflowers also tend to self seed, if allowed to drop the seed in the garden and are easily transplanted when you want to move them in the spring. The seeds are easily harvested and roasted for humans, or dried and used as bird food.
GARLIC seems to work well as a deterent for many ‘bad’ bugs as well, and I plant it in the fall in multiple locations.
Lets share our ‘hacks’!
Where are you gardening? Been organic gardening for 35 years in CT zone 6b
I am in Ontario, Canada, in a 5a/5b zone. CT stands for???
New England Connecticut USA
Hey Smitty, any great ‘hacks’ or advice to give??
Yes! Work on Learning to plant edges around your garden… Using plants that feed and attract Beneficial’s into your garden. We planted Berries, bush cherries, and a few others to draw Birds. They feed their young on insects and patrol the garden all year round. We also placed some Water features into our gardens to draw Frogs, and Toads… Provide water for the birds and wild life as well as our Honey Bees. We learned to Compost and have a Leaf removal company drop off loads of fall leaves every two years… But our main Fertilizer Compost is from Vermicomposting or worm composting in an huge worm bin in our basement. My wife is a great sport… (c;
Best link for learning what plants attract Beneficial insects : http://www.farmerfred.com/plants_that_attract_benefi.html
Worm Composting with Red worms :
Using a 250 gallon plastic pond to attract Birds and Insects to your gardens
Beekeeping for Beginners
One thing I’ve done with varying success is mixing everything together. So I may have peaches and oregano mixed with horehound and daylilys and wild lettuce. (I’m in Texas, btw.)
Thank you for sharing, I think that that is brilliant. I have oregano growing as a living mulch under my apple tree. My zone is too cold for peaches, sadly. What do you use horehound for? Do you use wild lettuce for pain relief? I saw a youtube video on burn gardening where everything was mixed together, my only concern would be weeding, kind difficult I thought.
When you say varying success, have you noticed combinations that worked better than others?
Thanks! clever idea to plant berries to draw birds who eat insects! I will follow your links to learn more, thanks again!
I’ve not made anything with the horehound yet but I wanted it in the garden for later use. And the wild lettuce which just showed up I am harvesting the seeds (well, some of them; the wind it trying to thwart me in that regard) to have more wild lettuce next year when i hope to make something for pain management out of them.
Varying success-- well, we have such hot, dry summers that one never knows if the garden will grow or simply burn up. If we have enough water and not too much heat, it’s a success, although my mugwort sulks every year no matter how cool and wet, or hot and dry, it is. This year I’m just trying to keep things alive.
Because the soil where we live is alkaline, I have to make sure whatever I plant won’t mind alkaline soil. So far most of what I’ve put in the ground has done okay-- for a while. Peppers and tomatoes struggle no matter where I put them. Herbs do well, though-- except for the mugwort and the mints can be cranky. As far as what’s considered companion planting, everyone seems to get along okay.
Thank you so much for sharing. Our growing conditions are vastly different, Texas to Ontario!!