March 31, 2011

Companion Planting and Rotation

So, I've been researching a lot about gardening and have come across lots of helpful info and tips regarding what plants to grow or not grow together and to which to rotate (which you only need to do if you are gardening the tilling or raised bed gardening method...not the organic natural no-till method--ideally). I got a ton of books from the library and am trying to compile a more comprehensive list of vegetables and herbs so I grow some of them together.

Classifications of Vegetables
Each type uses soil in similar ways and share similar pests, and therefore must be rotated with a different classification each year for four years.
  • Alliums
    Include Onions, Garlic, Scallions, Shallots, and Leeks.
  • Brassicas
    I include Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Kale.
  • Crucifers
    include Turnips, Radishes, Rutabaga, and Collards.
  • Cucurbits
    Include Cucumbers, Squashes (from zucchini to pumpkin), and Melons.
  • Legumes
    Include Peas and Beans.
  • Mescluns
    I nclude Arugula, Swiss Chard, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, and Radiccio.
  • Solanaceae
    Include Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant.
Perennial vegetables such as Asparagus, Rhubarb and Artichokes should not be rotated and therefore should be planted separately. The rest (most vegetables are hardy or semi-hardy annuals) should be rotated every year on a four year plan (so that the same family of vegetables is not planted in the same location within four years).

Companion Plants
 Companion plants are plants that mutually benefit each other. This can be anywhere from one plant being appealing (or unappealing) to certain pests which in turn takes care of it's neighbor's pests, to a plant that provides shade or nitrogen to it's neighbor plant for better growing conditions. 

Here is a short summary of some vegetables or herbs that grow well together (or not)... orange words in this list are herbs
  • Asparagus Parsley, basil, borage, lettuce and tomato (not fennel or dill)
  • Basil Tomato, most vegetables and herbs
  • Beans Potato, corn, lettuce, eggplant, cucumber, strawberry, celery, carrots, cauliflower, radish, spinach, rosemary, marigolds, parsley (not fennel, garlic or onions)
  • Broccoli Onions, leeks and celery
  • Brussells Sprout Potato
  • Cabbage Onion
  • Carrot Peas, onions, leeks, lettuce, chives, sage, chamomile, rosemary  (not dill or fennel)
  • Cauliflower Onions and leeks
  • Celery Tomato, leeks and beans.
  • Corn Lettuce, peppers, cucumber, beans and peas
  • Cucumber Radish, lettuce, beans, peas, potato and artichokes (not sage)
  • Eggplant Beans, peppers and lettuce
  • Leeks Cabbage, celery, onion and carrots
  • Lettuce Strawberry, radish, carrots, onion, corn and marigolds
  • Mint Cabbage and tomato (but I'd plant separately because it grows voraciously, like a weed)
  • Onion Lettuce, cabbage and carrots, spinach and tomatoes
  • Parsley Tomato, asparagus, carrot and peppermint
  • Parsnip Shallots, chives and lettuce
  • Peas Cucumber, radish, turnips, corn, carrots, potatoes, spinach and beans (not garlic, dill, fennel or onions)
  • Pepper Chili Cucumber, squash and lettuce
  • Potato sunflower, green beans, peas and broad beans and marigolds (not cucumbers, squash or tomatoes)
  • Pumpkin Corn
  • Radish Peas, lettuce, zucchini and nasturtium
  • Shallots Carrots, beetroot and mint
  • Spinach Strawberry, peas, onions and many other plants
  • Strawberry Borage (supposedly really good), lettuce, silver beet and bush beans (I'd plant separately due to their weed-like nature though)
  • Tomato Asparagus, peppers and basil
  • Zucchini Parsley, tomato, spinach, squash, radishes, corn and marigolds
Here's a summary chart of all vegetables companions.  (In this document, green is best to plant; red is worst)

Here are some other random tips:
- plant garlic near roses to keep away aphids
- don't plant potatoes or blackberries near raspberries
- try to keep grass away from apple trees (cuts down pest problems)
- marigolds are great to plant as a border, because they inhibit a variety of pests for vegetables
- dill, coriander and fennel can cause a lot of problems for many vegetables, so be careful with those (maybe co-plant those in a separate pot).

----And here is a helpful chart on helpful bugs and such, from Gaias Garden book (about permaculture--see my post about that).

1 comment:

  1. I just learned that for rotating crops, it doesn't matter if it is 4 years apart, only 4 crops apart. So if you plant a spring and a fall crop, or summer and winter you can rotate a lot faster which is useful if you are low on space. You can even do 4 crops in one year sometimes. Cover crops/ green manure count as a rotation. The point of rotating is to keep the soil balanced and healthy. However if you have a pest or disease that lives in the soil you would want to move locations for sure.

    On another note, I like to do companion planting but that seems like it makes rotating plant families more difficult... still haven't figured that out yet.