Companion plants grow well together and help each other out.
Roses Love Garlic - a good book to read about companion gardening.
The Wormhaven Gardening Book - Free PDF.
Rose gardeners often grow with garlic or another member of the garlic/onion tribe. My last big rose garden had garlic chives - very aromatic. When I bent over to pick them, the gas hit my face - woo. Garlic chives spread on their own. Garlic itself will spread out from the initial clove.
Insects do not like garlic, so the plant is expected to keep them away and to strengthen the rose plants. They may also add to the health of the roses.
A big mistake is to grow family members together, like onions and garlic in the same area. Or tomatoes and potatoes and eggplant - tobacco, woody nightshade, and deadly nightshade.
Our cousin put tobacco mulch on his tomato plants - and got a wilt on the tomatoes common to the nightshade family. When I told him this, I became the family agricultural genius.
The best known companion plants are - the shallow rooted grass plant and the despised herb called dandelion. They love, love, love each other. Dandelions invade lawns, and grass invades dandelion plots.
This should teach us something. Companion plants are opposites in every way but help each other out.
Famous, successful partnerships consist of opposite types, such as Rolls the salesman and Royce the engineer. If you want to be cool, call it a Royce, not a Rolls. Commoners call them a Rolls. When I get mine, I will call it a Royce and correct the hoi polloi who say otherwise.
As Andy Rooney explained once on TV, there are As and Bs. The As always do things one way, and the Bs the other way. He listed such items as arriving on time versus being a runner at the airport, replacing the TP or not, etc. He said something like this, "Some men are As and some are Bs. Likewise with women. But I promise you this - As always marry Bs. And Bs always marry As."
And they drive each other crazy about those differences from then on.
Corn is a good example of companion planting. Corn grows straight up and loves the sun, but corn is a hog for water and hates to have hot feet. The answer is to plant pumpkins in the corn. The pumpkin plant stays low, filling all the rows with leaves that shade the feet of the corn and help retain moisture. Pumpkins like water too and give that away with wilting leaves. If they want water, the corn needs water. Supposedly the pumpkins keep squirrels and other from eating the ripe corn.
Supposedly Abe Lincoln planted pumpkins in with the corn, helping his dad - and this trick came from the American Indians.
I also grew pole beans, which climbed the corn stalks. Mrs. Ichabod and LI loved raw beans, so there were always customers for them. We grew a lot of edible pod peas in Midland, too.
Corn is a needy plant - sun, moisture, nitrogen, and food. The secret to a good crop is providing all those things. My ultimate corn patch was planted on four feet of compost. Some boys wanted work, so I hired them to dog a large hole, four-feet deep. They were paid in cash and ice cream. I gradually filled the hole with leaves, grass, manure, and some kitchen leftovers. That was a fall project. In the spring I planted Silver Queen corn, pumpkins, and pole beans. The rows were covered with lawn cuttings and newsprint.
Like Noah, I was scorned by the neighbors - until the Big Day - when the corn became ripe. They took a sudden interest in my gardening and asked about the corn. We had plenty and shared it with everyone who asked. My favorite response came from a Dow Agriculture expert.
Corn sugar turns to starch just after picking. That is why corn on the cob is extra good when grown at home.
The ag expert came over just to see my Silver Queen patch - his favorite kind of corn - "white, soft, sweet, like mush." We had to go behind the garage. His eyes went up, up, and up - just after telling me the variety was on the short side. The ears of corn were very large. I used no pesticides and no man-made fertilizers.
I had some insects, but I also had garden spiders. When asparagus beetles threatened, I bought preying mantis egg cases and raised those scary but effective creatures.
|Silver Queen corn, white, slow-growing, extra sweet.|
I may make a bean/pea teepee for our grandson. The design is simple. Put a pole into the ground, about six feet tall. Surround the pole with cheap garden fencing, such as wire that plants in the lawn easily enough - but leave an entrance opening. Run strong string from the fence up to the top of the pole, making a web. Plant the pole beans or edible pod peas along the fence (abundantly). They will climb the fencing and up the string, as God intended. They will created a shaded tent where the food drops down inside.
The teepee needs flooring to keep from growing a wild area of tall grass and weeds. This can be done with grass clippings, newspaper, or an old circular rug.