When Jess took off for work this morning she said, “I hate to give you homework, but if you have time could you figure out the companion planting?” And she handed me a copy of Carrots Love Tomatoes. You know that Jess really loves a book if she actually goes out of her way to buy a copy after checking it out from the library. She even managed to snag a used copy at the local bookstore when they got one in.
So today I made a spreadsheet.
Of course the spreadsheet is longer than that. You have seen the photos of the seeds. It is a little out of control (in a good way). We did some companion planting last year and hope to do even more this year if we can manage. It is a little challenging to do the garden in a really planned manner as we are scrambling to build our beds and figure out the elusive shade free zones in our new yard. Meanwhile, some of our starts are getting gargantuan and the truly cold-hardy stuff could maybe, possibly go outside already. Ack!
As we experiment with growing more and more of our own food, we might as well learn from other people who have already been there and done that. Did you know that plants can repel each other? Tomatoes and brassicas apparently do. We are growing three types of tomatoes and three brassicas – kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Good to know!
Last year we grew basil with our tomatoes to improve the flavor, and marigolds to keep the bugs away. This year we are going to throw in some garlic that we snagged in a seedling trade yesterday. Apparently garlic protects tomatoes from red spider mites. I am pro keeping away anything with the words “spider” and especially “mite” in it. And the borage we have been growing for our bees is beneficial if planted with our strawberries. Win-win. This is just a couple examples. The way these things work together is pretty cool.
I think I better run out to buy some marigold seeds today as they apparently work their magic on just about everything. The wonderful wikipedia companion planting list calls it the “wonder drug of the plant world.”
And a quick update on our bees, day 2.
After patiently waiting 24 hours the bee package box was removed. They didn’t make it exactly easy, as thousands of them were still hanging out in the box. It was so crazy to watch Jess work with them. She was covered in bees! She gently dumped them back out of the box, and boy is it a little mind-blowing to see a clump of thousands of bees get dumped out like that live and in-person! Then she left the mostly empty box out front for the stragglers to find their way home. I added some flowers to make them at home and Jess made them some food (1 part water, 1 part GMO free, organic sugar from the co-op). This is even more interesting than I expected. We grabbed some chairs and sat and watched “bee TV” for awhile yesterday. They are mesmerizing.