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Simple Guide to Companion Planting

Read my simple guide to companion planting. I used to think it was complicated but actually it's quite simple. These are the main lessons for gardening that I've learned from my time at my cottage. Plus there are some useful resources at the end if you want to take it further.


Read on to discover:

1. How does the companion planting work?

2. Steps to plan the veggie patch

3. How to find out if the plants are friends?

4. What are the biggest NO-NO of planting together

And the secret unexpected plant that I FILL my veggie patch with. And something else you might find valuable.


Why do I bring the companion planting into the cottage aesthetics and freeing from the stress practice?



The charming cottage living is very hard to imagine without a veggie patch with the thriving herbs. When you can just jump out of the kitchen leaving the bubbling pot for a minute and return with full arms of gorgeous vegetables that turn the simple meal into the most gourmet dish filled with the flavors and aromas of the Earth itself.

It seems that cottage life comes with the planted garden as a combo - two in one, however it is not always so.


Setting up the veggie garden, planting, looking after the plants is a wonderful experience and a stress release in itself (oh only think of that glorious anger wedding!! :) but it does require physical labor, materials and some decision making.

One of these decision making processes is what to plant next to what.

Because apparently as I discovered it can drastically influence your future crop, the feelings of the plants and… even.. If the pests find it attractive enough for a visit.


1. How does the companion planting work?


Companion planting’ is the way of the thoughtful and planned planting of different crops next to each other or in a pattern in the hope of making the best out of their potential.

Like people some plants can not tolerate each other and some are so helpful and nurturing and supportive that everything around them (themselves including) just thrives.

The thing is to find those combinations of plants that would “like each other” for example the famous “three sisters” of american indians: beans, pumpkin, squash. The beans would climb the squash, using it as support, and the squash would in turn provide shade for the maize, keeping the soil moist.


2. How to find out if the plants are friends?

So how can we find out if the plants are going to be good neighbors?

For the start they should belong to different families, have different speed of growing and produce the harvest at different times. This allows the plants to have good relationships as neighbors without the fight for the nutrients and inviting and spreading uninvited guests-pests and diseases.

The strangest advice I ever got was to smell and taste the plants. Apparently if they smell similar and taste good together this means they will share the good trait and will be friends.

It is totally opposite to the advice before, right? So I just tried a few variations out of the combinations I managed to find in books and online and eventually got something that worked for me. I will share this at the end of the post.


3. Steps to plan the veggie patch



And this is when my inner dreamer comes along :) (and eater :)

First of all, think about what you like to cook and what definitely will be used in your family. For example, my husband absolutely can not tolerate eggplants. If you belong to the same club - there is no point in planting it. I love eggplant dishes. That is why it is part of the veggie garden in our household.


So you make the list of plants you would love to have nearby and then start drawing and grouping them on a piece of paper. YOu might cut the squares or whatever shape you want of your little plant beds and move on an outline of a veggie garden you drew. Same process as planning the furniture in the room. However this time you keep in mind how kind they are going to be to each other. Sofa and armchair are easier - at least you know they are not going to end up sick because they happened not to like each other.


And theeen…. Time to check what is available in the local garden stores and when the plants are supposed to be planted in your region in order not to be killed by the frost or something, prepare the soil and off you go.



4. What are the biggest NO-NO of planting together



The biggest NO-NO when it comes to “lets be friends” planting is positioning vegetables and fruits together. Tomatoes and potatoes are a classic example of this.

Even if they are both members of the nightshade family which means they share some similarities in how they grow and what they “eat”, they are also quite different.


Tomatoes are a fruit and potatoes are a root vegetable. When these two plants are grown together, they compete for space, nutrients, and sunlight. This sounds like a disaster recipe for the leggie plants and low crop. As a cherry on top the produce the chemicals that poison each other that affects the growth.

Now you see that companion planting has reasons to be taken seriously.



And now meet my little helper - the cute but powerful plant, my secret garden warrior and a favorite of all times:


A humble MARIGOLD



I love it with all my heart as it is not only pretty and such a cottage flower, not only smells good, not only has huge medicinal value but also kicks the unwanted pests out and protects the plants from diseases. For example if I plant the cabbage and surround it with marigolds - the white butterfly is not all keen to ruin it. I could write a lot about this plant but it might be in another post sometime.

Here is the list of plants that are good to each other I promised to share:






And here is the more artistic version of companion planting guide. In fact this is the exact outline of my garden that we started from scratch on the empty paddock. Now it is available as a print A4 size very limited addition on archival paper.

You can purchase it here




Happy gardening and grounding!


Companion planting art

Have a creative week!



Yulia

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