Monday, May 25, 2015

Companion Gardening Guide

Are you affected by the weather?  I know I am.  Today is Memorial Day and I am sitting in my dining room watching the rain come down.  I guess I could technically get in the garden but if I do I will sink down in the  mud and may cause more harm than good.  The rain along with the debilitating vertigo I have suffered from (though it is nearly gone) for the last 36 hours is preventing me from doing more than sit in my dining room and talk to myself and think....about the garden.  I welcome the rain today as I live in the South and I know that if this summer is like most, we may all be wishing for more rain all too soon.

When I sat down the idea of companion gardening came to mind.  Actually I was thinking of the 50 or so volunteer marigolds (volunteers are the plants which grew from last year's seeds) I transplanted before said vertigo hit.  I know about companion planting, have read about it, studied charts, made my own garden grid of where everything should go and then threw it all out the window.  Not that I don't think it is valid.  In fact, other than a totally organic (meaning not even one "organic" spray), it is my humble opinion that it is the only way to garden.  Unfortunately, if I were to have purely a garden blog it would be titled something like "My Messy Garden" or "My Disorganized Garden".  I tend to sort of plant everything by instinct and though part of me longs for nice neat rows like I see in books, I cannot bring  myself to plant that way.  As the garden progresses and after the sun comes out, I'll show you what I mean.  Back to companion gardening.

Last summer, several folks who came to my garden commented on the lack of bugs.  To be clear, there were bugs.  There were earthworms and bees and ants and the like, but as a general rule, there were no invasive bugs on a mission to eat my garden bounty.  Why?   Two words.  Companion Planting.  The primary insect deterrent in my garden was the very boring, we see them everywhere in the South, marigold plant.  Lots and lots of marigolds.  Below is a photo from last year's garden.  (I was a little heavy handed in the marigold seeding.)  I can see our garden outside of the kitchen window and it gave me no small pleasure, you can be sure, to look out at the sea of marigolds each day during most of the gardening season. 

This year I have added other companion plants such as chives to our little homestead garden.  Below are links to my favorite companion guides.  Hopefully they will successfully guide you as well as you move through this year's planting cycle.


My "go-to" source for all of my homestead needs.


 This link to Southern Exposure does not actually give you a guide, but is a short explanation of the Three Sisters technique learned from Native American growing practices.  In addition, Southern Exposure is a seed company I recommend. 

Another mention I had not discovered until nearly the end of this article is Renee's Garden.  Renee has a fantastic gardening site and goes into further details regarding the Three Sisters method. This is our third year for growing our own food and each year we increase the garden both in size and in variety.  I cannot wait to see what the growing season holds for us.  If you cannot grow your own garden or cannot grow enough to meet your needs, consider purchasing a share in a CSA.  We have done this for many years and this year have finally found a CSA that fits our needs to supplement while our own harvest comes in.

***These gardening tips are recommendations only.  No paid endorsements are associated with this article.    

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