Companion Planting

One of our gardeners asked me about companion planting. That is, planting two plants near one another for the benefit of one of the plants.

I’m always interested in keeping insects away and so I do some plant planning with this in mind.

For example, onions are planted in rows between carrots to repel carrot flies.

And the nasturtiums – in addition to being colorful – are next to the beans to repel bean beetles.

And if you are wondering what is planted down the middle of the potato patch…it is a row of beans which are said to repel Colorado potato beetles. Horseradish is also a good beetle repellant.

Onions are planted around the cabbages and tomatoes to ward off insects. And the radishes near the carrots and beans are said to do the same.

You will notice I plant lots of flowers, too. The sunflowers, salvias and zinnias are planted to attract hummingbirds because these birds eat whiteflies. And the scent of marigolds confuses some other insects pests, so plant them where you can.

I’m always open toweb ways to garden organically without chemicals.

Happy gardening, Natalie

The Fall Garden

The fall garden planted in plot #44 is doing well. You may remember these vegetables were planted in late August.

The beets are flourishing and the kale is coming along.

And though the mornings are noticeably cooler, these plants don’t mind. Kale is even improved by a light frost.

It has been a good year for gardeners. I hope you have enjoyed it, too.

Hope to see you at the Harvest Dinner, October 8th.

Fall Planting

It’s not too late to get another crop in.

Today I will be planting kale, radishes and beets in the plot where I removed the sunflowers.  The key is to choose what you plant carefully.

Look at the seed package for the number of days to harvest. According to Cornell University’s website, our first frost will occur between September 30 and October 10th.

That means there are (optimistically) 50 days to frost. The radishes only need 28 days. They are a safe bet.

Another way to play it safe is to grow a crop that likes the frost such as kale.

I selected the Italian Heirloom Kale ‘Lacinato.’ It has blue-green leaves and should look as good in the garden as it tastes in the kitchen. The seed comes from Renee’s Garden seeds and the package reads “Lacinato has a fine, sweet, full flavor, never strong or overbearing.”

The package also states: ” Frost actually enhances kale leaves’ color, flavor and sweetness.”

I typically add kale to soups or serve it sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions.  Another reason this is a good choice is you can pick kale leaves from the time they are small until they mature.

The variety of radishes I will be planting are named  ‘White Icicle’ though it will be harvested by the time any real icicles arrive.

And I plan to add a row of beets. This crop choice cuts it a little close. It is true that beets like the cool weather but the roots are at their most delicious after growing about 45 days and reaching a diameter of at least an inch and a half to two inches.

The good news is the entire beet plant is edible and beet greens can be harvested when they are about four inches tall. If the weather cooperates, there will be tender beet roots. If it doesn’t, we will have beet greens, which are delicious sautéed in garlic and olive oil.

As you can tell I hope to make use of every last day of our growing season. How about you? How’s your garden growing?