Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Planting a small vegetable patch

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. – Doug Larson 

I would show you a picture of our garden but it's still under construction.
Photo: Rrrodrigo, Flickr ccl

Part of our new life is growing some of our own food. We’re only doing a small patch, plus some raised beds, but time is becoming of the essence if we literally want to reap the benefits.

It is now the first full week of May and I’m probably running a bit behind on the whole thing. But I think now is the time to find out any missteps I may take.

I remember when I was young my father and uncles used to have friendly rivalry about how soon one of them could have peas. Sometimes they would plant in April!

This is my first year planting for a summer/fall harvest and I want to do it right – or as right as I can. This April was colder so I ruled that out. But now we’re into good weather.

There are some “dos and don’ts” regarding plants in a small (or any) vegetable garden if you want optimal performance. Some plants just don’t like being next to others while others prefer companions.

Here’s a few from both sides of the scale for some common veggies. I only have a small patch to cultivate and need to take care. Any help I can get is of benefit.

All seeds and many plants have a “days to harvest” written on them somewhere. Pay attention. It’s is nonsensical to plant something late that will be killed by frost before it matures.

Personally I find starter plants more advantageous. You have a head start. Just make sure late frosts don’t cause you to waste your money.

Beets do better planted next to garlic. It improves their flavour.

Beans do not like being next to onions or garlic. They stunt growth. They do better next to carrots, eggplant, cucumbers, corn, lettuce, peas and radishes.

Carrots will sit comfortably planted next to tomatoes. They also like to be planted next to leeks. Both deter pests associated with the other.

But corn should not be placed by tomatoes. They are attacked by the same worm so if one gets infected you probably will lose both.

Cucumbers shouldn’t be grown next to any kind of aromatic herbs, sage in particular.

Peas should be grown away from garlic and onions, but are OK with turnips nearby. Once again, onions stunt growth. Maybe it’s a “legume” thing...

Keep lettuce away from broccoli, but peas, potatoes and spinach are OK. Chives and garlic actually help keep aphids away that will eat your lettuce.

Potatoes should be kept separate from tomato plants. They are susceptible to the same blight so if one gets it...

Tomatoes like growing next to basil. It improves their flavour, growth and deters flies. Funny that they go so well together in the pot too. They also like bee balm, chives and mint.

Tomatoes shouldn’t be planted next to corn, dill or potatoes. Dill retards growth while the other two have pests in common with tomatoes.

Interestingly, marigolds seem to deter pests for many plants. They deter me too. I think they stink. Of course, check further into their benefit. I have not outlined it here.

This list is just scratching the surface, but you can see how some vegetables you would never think would affect each other can do some real damage to your overall yield come harvest.

Another concern for me will be deer. There’s many schools of thought on deterrence. Some involve bodily fluids, hair clippings, dog patrol, etc. There is also some writing about pungent herbs.

From what I know of deer, it will require something more than a row of chives to keep them out. We’ll see. We’re trying a couple already. I won’t tell you which.


You know, I really like comments... I really do.

Questions? Comments? Derogatory remarks? Just ask! I’ll answer quickly and as best as I can. If you like this post feel free to share it. If you repost, please give me credit and a link back to this site.

No comments:

Post a Comment