Companion Planting

Hi Gardeners! Going back a few years to one of Linda’s early emails. I know we all love the information she shares, so here it is. Some tips on companion planting to think about as you lay out your plot.

It’s easy to believe that just marigolds will do the trick to keep bad bugs away. There is, according to Organic Gardening Magazine a little more to it!

Companion Planting

Make efficient use of your space and attract beneficial insects.

Organic gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many also believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary (some even believe mysterious) powers for helping each other grow. Scientific study of companion planting has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those combinations. And practical experience has demonstrated to many gardeners how to mate certain plants for their mutual benefit.

How does companion planting work?

·         Companions help each other grow—Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants.

·         Companions use garden space efficiently—Vining plants cover the ground, upright plants grow up. Two plants in one patch.

·         Companions prevent pest problems—Plants like onions repel some pests. Other plants can lure pests away from more desirable plants.

·         Companions attract beneficial insects—Every successful garden needs plants that attract the predators of pests.

Winning Combinations

Roses and chives: Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons, because garlic is said to repel rose pests. Garlic chives probably are just as repellent, and their small purple or white flowers in late spring looks great with rose flowers and foliage.

Tomatoes and cabbage: Tomatoes are repellent to diamondback moth larvae, which are caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Cucumbers and nasturtiums: The nasturtium‘s vining stems make them a great companion rambling among the cucumbers and squash, suggests Sally Jean Cunningham, master gardener and author of Great Garden Companions. Nasturtiums “are reputed to repel cucumber beetles, but I depend on them more as habitat for predatory insects,” such as spiders and ground beetles.

Peppers and pigweed or ragweed: Leafminers preferred the weeds to pepper plants in a study at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia. Just be careful to remove the weeds’ flowers before they set seed or you’ll have trouble controlling the weeds.

Cabbage and dill: “Dill is a great companion for cabbage family plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts,” Cunningham says. “The cabbages support the floppy dill,” while the dill attracts the tiny beneficial wasps that control imported cabbageworms and other cabbage pests.

Corn and beans: The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armyworms and leaf beetles. And bean vinesclimb up the corn stalks.

Lettuce and tall flowers: Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and cleome (spider flower) give lettuce the light shade it grows best in.

Radishes and spinach: Radishes attract leafminers away from the spinach. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves doesn’t prevent the radishes from growing nicely underground.

Potatoes and sweet alyssum: The sweet alyssum has tiny flowers that attract delicate beneficial insects, such as predatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssum alongside bushy crops like potatoes, or let it spread to form a living ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Bonus: The alyssum’s sweet fragrance will scent your garden all summer.

Cauliflower and dwarf zinnias: The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and otherpredators that help protect cauliflower.

Collards and catnip: Studies have found that planting catnip alongside collards reduces flea-beetle damage on the collards.

Strawberries and love-in-a-mist: Tall, blue-flowered “love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) looks wonderful planted in the center of a wide row of strawberries,” Cunningham says.

Saturday, Fun Day! Urban Agriculture Kick-Off

Southside_Urban_Agriculture_Kick-Off-300x244Where will you be this Saturday from 11am-1pm

We’ll be in the garden;  workday any 2 hours between 10am – 2pm while gardeners from around the city stop by to pick up their free 5 gallon bucket of compost. All SSCLT members are eligible – if you’re not a member you can sign up during the event. Please bring your own bucket. Volunteers from the community garden and Southside Community Land Trust will be available to answer questions and lend a hand.

Be sure and check the table for Free Seeds. There will be lots of great varieties to choose from!

We’re right next to the park behind the JCC so the kids can go back and forth between the garden and the playground / baseball field. We’ll also have a line up of Food Trucks and music by the Oak Hill Band.

This is a day we all look forward to and enjoy, Hope to see you there!

 

 

Celebrating our 10th Year!

It was great to see everyone at the annual meeting, a sure sign that spring is on the way. Kate brought boxes of seeds to share and a very creative seed card challenge game. For the record, Team Alicia and Linda got almost all of them right! As always, the food was amazing. I even overheard one of our gardeners say that the spring gathering was her favorite night eating out all year. As a special treat, Laura baked a fabulous apple pie to celebrate our 10th year in the garden.

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The meeting went something like this:

“Anyone want to hear about the rules? – NO!”
“Anyone want to hear about the finances? – NO!”
“Anyone want Pie? – YES!”

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A very successful pie, I mean meeting.

Mark your calendars, the first garden workday is on Sunday, April 8th from 10am – 2pm. We are the east side hub for Southside Community Land Trust which means for the third year in a row we will also be hosting The Urban Agriculture Kick-Off from 11am – 1pm the same day. Garden rules only require you put in 2 hours of work but the day is so much fun you may want to stay for the entire time. The Oak Hill Band will be providing live entertainment again this year – Thank you Jeff! There will also be seeds, workshops, free compost for members, and a visit by some of the best food trucks in Providence. Bring your family! Tell your friends! It’s really a great day in the garden!