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Companion planting is the art of combining vegetables and plants that are mutually beneficial to each other.  For example, you can plant pole beans with corn to give the beans a natural trellis.  You can plant different herbs or edible plants as a natural pest repelant.  Of course you can't just throw just any plant together, so planning is key.

Native Americans planted "Three Sisters" which is corn, beans and squash which is a great time honored example of companionship gardening.  The beans use the corn as a natural trellis and the squash use the shade of the corn and beans.  Corn and lettus are also a good combination as the corn lends shad to the lettuce.  Examples of natural pest repelant companions are onions, marigolds, mint and sweet basil.  These examples have properties that either repel or lure away harmful insects from your garden. 

Research is obviously key and we will be picking up a couple of books this winter to help plan our garden for next season.  There are two books that come highly recommended and which we will do a review on after we read through them: Carrots Love Tomatoes and Great Garden Companion.  There is plenty of information out there on the Internet and forums as well. 

Our challenge is to find the best companions for our climate.  Although staples such as the "Three Sisters" can be grown in our Eastern Canadian climate, we want to expirement with other mixes.  Here are some ideas we have:

  • Basil: Will plant to help repel flies and mosquitos as well as improve our Tomatos
  • Sunflowers: Will plant to bring shade for beans and potatoes as well as attact birds and bees for pollination
  • Corn: Will be planting with beans and squash
  • Horseraddish: Will plant to deter potato beetle
  • Marigold: Will plant as a natural pest repelant
  • Onions: Will plant to protect against ants and slugs

These are just a few ideas and I'm sure they will change or become more elaborate as we research and put down our garden plan to paper for next season.  The key is how to put things together which is where your garden plan comes in.  Take the time to properly plan out your garden as noted in Garden Planning Helps.

Keep It Green!

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