What Are Good and Bad Neighbors in the Garden

 The Companion Planting Philosophy

Companion planting provides a means of overcoming many modern agricultural and horticultural problems by restoring the balance of nature in the environment.

Many people view plants as only ornamentals, edibles or weeds and nothing else. Do you see dandelions growing in your perfectly manicured garden as a weed that spoils the beauty of your garden, or a nutrient-rich wild salad weed that also provides a home and food for earthworms??

Everything is connected in harmony and balance. Everything has a lesson to learn. If you can understand this concept, and see dandelions as a wild herb rather than a weed, you understand the philosophy and are likely to succeed in companion gardening.

Balance, Not Domination

Always remember that companion planting requires balance, not dominance. We need to learn to respect plants, so they will work for us. Supposedly "primitive" societies have always interacted with nature. They learned to read his signs and incorporate them into their rituals and daily lives. We need to restore that ability.

The Goals of Companion Planting

Try companion planting:

Increase the productivity of edible plants.
Rich in nutrients and essential oils.
Reducing destructive pests and diseases;
Attracting beneficial insects by providing them with suitable habitats;
The nurse nursed the plant back to health.
Improve plant and garden health;
Soil condition
Make the garden more attractive to earthworms;
Help the garden become self-sufficient over time.
Be a small step towards improving the global environment; And
Creating unique natural beauty through harmony and balance.

What You Need to Know When Companion Planting

Before you start designing your garden layout and choosing plants, there are a few things you need to know about them.

Suitability to Local Climate

Just because you like the taste of a particular fruit or vegetable, doesn't mean it's suitable to grow in your climate. If it doesn't fit, he will become stressed and struggle to survive. However, if you choose plants suitable for your climate, it will save you unnecessary expense and effort.

Indigenous Edible Plants

Some native plants and wild grasses planted among non-native fruit trees (especially stone fruit) are beneficial, because they attract birds that prefer to feed on native plants.

Maturing Times and Growth Rates

Positioning the plant is easy if you are familiar with the growth patterns of different species. This is particularly useful in planning agricultural rotations, which is recommended to avoid the accumulation of diseases in the soil.

Knowledge of Local Weeds

Learn about the weeds in your area so you know which ones are harmful and may need to be eliminated. You also need to know which weeds attract harmful insects and which friendly predators they like.

Seasonal Cycles of Pests

Each season attracts different types of insects, and you should be able to identify them by sight and behavior. By anticipating some mistakes, you can prepare for them. Some crops attract specific pests and require suitable pest-resistant crops to be grown nearby.

Seasonal Diseases

Learn about diseases that may affect your specific crops. This way you will know how to deal with them if they attack.

Climate Awareness

Seasons do not always correspond to calendar dates. The expected temperature in your area may come sooner or later. In my area, for example, average spring temperatures can start three or four weeks earlier than the official spring start date. You should learn your local growing season and when frost, snow, or heavy rain is likely to occur.

Soil Testing

Plants will struggle or thrive depending on whether soil conditions meet their specific needs. The type of soil should determine what you plant, so test it.

Feral Animals

Depending on your location, you will have your own unique animals to deal with. Many of them enjoy a variety of valuable crops that they believe were grown especially for them. Animals attracted to fruits and vegetables in my area are wallabies, kangaroos, opossums, fruit bats, and birds such as parrots. If so, you may want to consider fencing your crops and/or covering them with bird netting, etc.

Plant and Seed Supplies

You will need to find a reputable nursery that stocks a large variety of plants suitable for your area. An organic seed supplier is also essential. Fortunately, there are also many suppliers that you can order online or by mail.
Now that you've done your homework and gathered this basic information, you're ready to start designing your "organic" partner's planted garden.

The Four Roles of Companion Plants

You need to understand the role of companion plants so you can use them to best advantage in your garden. Plants achieve the ecological balance of the garden in four ways:

1. Camouflage

These companion plants mask the plant's scent needed to protect it from insects. They usually have a strong smell that confuses the insect and forces it to search elsewhere for food. For example, tansy and some geraniums can mask the scent of tomatoes and kiwifruit.

Examples: catnip, eau de cologne, chamomile, feverfew, spearmint, lemon balm, garlic, geranium, onion, spearmint, peppermint, spearmint, soapwort, tansy.

2. Nurturing

They extract nutrients from the soil to improve plant health. They also help other plants recover and become more resistant to the effects of pests and diseases.

Examples: lovage, oregano, marjoram, stinging nettle, dwarf thistle, valerian, yarrow.

3. Sacrificial

This type of companion attracts insects to protect neighboring plants, and these sacrificial companions must be planted at a distance from the plants they protect so that the infection does not spread. I usually plant a patch of yellow nasturtium in a far corner of the garden to attract aphids away from the vegetables and give them a better chance of thriving.

Examples: dog plant, nasturtium with yellow flowers, old vegetables left to seed.

4. Stimulation

Stimulating companions enhance each other's flavors, vitamin content, minerals, essential oils or productivity. When these companions are planted together, the gardener can truly see and taste the benefits. Strawberries or lettuce planted next to borage will flourish and explode with flavor.

Examples: borage, coriander, chervil, foxglove, elm, garlic, lovage, valerian, raspberry, morning glory, salad burner, mint, rosemary, stinging nettle, cintolina, valerian, tansy, locket flower, yarrow.

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