The New Home Economics

Companion planting

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Last night, I read Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte.  Inspired by what I read, today I planted some herb “companion” seeds for my vegetables.

Brussels sprouts: added lettuce, dill, and onions.  The brussels sprouts are still very small so in the large spaces in between, I planted little bunches of these other “friends of cabbages” (according to the book).

Tomatoes: added radishes, basil, and parsley.

Cucumbers: added radishes.

I also moved the fennel out of the garden, because according to the book fennel and tomatoes hate each other.  (Who knew?)  I had the fennel right next door to the tomatoes.  I replaced it with onions which apparently benefit just about everything you put them next to.

So what’s with these “companions”?  According to the book, for example, radishes repel cucumber beetles.  You plant them not to have extra radishes for eating, but precisely because their presence will help out the cuke in the long run.

I really liked this book; it was easy to read and it’s organized in alphabetical order by vegetables and herbs, so you can easily reference whatever you’re working on.  Now, we’ll see what happens…

Has anyone out there done companion planting?  Does this really work?  Will these herb companions help hold down weeds while their vegetable buddies are still small?  (These are not rhetorical questions; I really want to know.)

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