Garden

Sustainable, Efficient and Symbiotic Approach to Vegetable Selection (part 2)

I won’t bore you with justification every single companion I am selecting, but I will provide a list and highlight some of the major players. Wikipedia has the most extensive and well-cited collection of companion plant knowledge and is the tool for formulation of my decisions.

Trapping Plants are species used to lure potential pests away from the important crops.

Sunflower: In addition to being grown to provide winter feed for the chickens, Sunflowers have been used in North America far before europeans arrived to increase the yield of maize. They have been proven to act as sinks for both pest insects and their predators when intercropped with peppers (Source 1, Source 2). Peppers, cucumber, tomato, corn and soybean all benefit from sunflower. I am adamantly against corn and soybean monoculture, but both have potential to be grown in my garden for winter chicken feed.

Marigold: helps just about any garden vegetable imaginable. The wikipedia entry lists that marigold especially help tomatoes and peppers, cucurbits (cucumbers, gourds, squash), potatoes, roses, alliums, brassicas, zucchini while deterring or trapping many pest bugs and potentially suppressing perennial weed species. The studies listed are vast and needless to say, these will be going into any open crevasse in the garden.

Nasturtium: another powerhouse of companionship for garden vegetables and one of the best for encouraging predatory insects. The list of bugs that this plant repels is huge and it will be planted with all squash with consideration given to other plants.

 

Three Sisters Technique is a traditional method developed by the native americans over a period of 5,000-6,500 years. Corn is planted first to provide a structure for climbing beans. Squash or pumpkin is planted as well to shade the ground and provide a living mulch. The corn will be used as a winter feed for chickens.

 

Other general companions:

Broccoli and spinach will be companion planted in the early and late season as they are cold hardy. Phacelia flowers will be planted as well if aphids prove to be an issue for the spinach.

Peas to climb on tomato cages will be physical companions. Further companionship between tomatoes and asparagus or peppers will be considered.

Campeche squash for winter chicken feed and spaghetti squashes for human consumption. In addition to experiments in the three sisters method, they will be grown with Marigold Flower for pest repelling.

Onions and carrots are mutually beneficial for cold hardy planting in late season.

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