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People plant their fall gardens in many ways. Some people simply make a list of fall fruits and vegetables they'd like to grow and plant them anywhere they want in the garden. Other folks follow the method of companion planting. This is an old practice that can help you make the most of your fall garden. This week, my post is all about companion planting and how it can benefit you and your family.
The Facts About Companion Planting
Companion planting sounds technical, but it's really a very simple practice. People who use companion planting put certain fruits and vegetables next to one another in their garden. Some veggies and fruits can benefit one another when they are planted in close proximity. For instance, some types of vegetables are extremely vulnerable to pests, while other vegetables have a fragrance that repels pests, so planting those two types of vegetables together makes a lot of sense. Some sturdy vegetables can provide physical support to young climbing plants. Also, some fruits and vegetables can provide shade to others that require it to grow. With a little effort, you can create a companion planting design that leaves you with a flourishing garden!
Why Should You Try Companion Planting?
One reason to try companion planting is that you can enjoy a garden that yields more flavorful vegetables and fruits. Some pairings combine to make excellent use of the nutrients in the soil. This enables each member of the pair to grow strong, healthy, and full of delicious flavor! Also, planting certain flowers can attract pollinators that increase your chances of getting a great yield from your garden. For example, bee- and butterfly-friendly zinnias are great companions for tomatoes in the springtime! Another reason to try companion planting is that it can help you avoid using pesticides and other chemicals to keep pests away from your fruits and vegetables. Some plants are natural pest-repellants.
Ideas for Fall Fruits and Vegetables to Plant Together
In order to try companion planting, you have to know what to plant. Along with the suggestions I mentioned above, you may want to try planting spinach and lettuce next to peppers. Tall peppers provide these two low-growing vegetables with the shade they need to prosper. In turn, spinach and lettuce can keep the weeds at bay, allowing the peppers to grow to their full potential.
Do you like eggplant? I just love the look and taste of eggplant, especially when it's in a dish of eggplant Parmesan. Plant your eggplant next to some thyme. Eggplant is vulnerable to pests such as cabbage worms and flea beetles, but the fragrance of thyme or tarragon can repel these and other pests, keeping them away from your eggplant. Strawberries, potatoes, and cabbage are other plants you can pair with thyme.
Leeks and carrots are another good combination to try. Leeks repel carrot flies that can do damage to these popular veggies.
Pairings to Avoid
Garlic and asparagus are not so bad on a dinner table, but I don't recommend them as a pairing for your garden. These two vegetables draw a lot of the same nutrients from the soil in order to grow to their full potential. In addition, avoid planting tomatoes and corn next to one another. These two plants are vulnerable to the same pests. Be sure to plant your beans and onions a good distance from one another, too. Onions, leeks, and scallions take nutrients that can prevent beans from growing in a healthy way.
Have a fun time trying out these companion planting ideas, and thanks for reading! - Alan