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Companion planting

 
Posts: 67
Location: West Central Georgia
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I think I stumbled upon a mix of plants that just happens to work well together, but I think I didn't arrange them correctly this year.  We have cucumbers, peppers (bell, banana, jalapeno, cayenne), tomatoes, onions, and strawberries.  The garden is about 240 square feet, and I planted in like groups.  But the number of plants per species is small.  Two strawberry plants, six tomato plants, etc.  The bell pepper plants were the most numerous at about 18.  Anyway, for a plot this size, is it still a good idea to plant the different species next to each other, and if so, what arrangement is good?  Or where is there an article or book where I can find out?  

I definitely will give the cucumbers something to climb next year!  I saw a cattle panel pressed into that service and might go that route.  

Thanks for any suggestions or answers!
 
master pollinator
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Here's a big chart!  http://www.permaculturenews.org/resources_files/Poster_GDN_Com_Plant.pdf
 
Emily Smith
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Location: West Central Georgia
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Awesome!!  Thanks!  I love big charts.    I like the repellent side bar, too.


I am still curious about the area of effect.  Should the plants always be interspersed with each other, no matter how small the space?  Should I have grouped, for example, 3 bell peppers with 1 tomato, and a cluster of onions?  Or is my space small enough that it doesn't matter, since they're within 5 feet of each other?

 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Should the plants always be interspersed with each other, no matter how small the space?


Size is important.

If you have an acre of tomatoes, you WILL attract most of the pests of tomatoes.
It's too much for them to ignore.

In a 240 sq. ft. garden (if it was just tomatoes), you would still attract some pests.
But having a variety of plants there makes the space less desirable to them.
And if the plants are companion plants, that helps repel the pests.

One theory that I have heard is that if an insect makes 3 false landings, it will give up, and go elsewhere seeking its food.  So, obviously if you have multiple repellent plant varieties, the greater your odds that they will go elsewhere.

Having each of your varieties scattered around in the bed will make it less of a feast site for the enemies.
 
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Planting in clumps or blocks is usually ok.  Something like a big blob of tomatoes here, a chunk of strawberries there, some self seeding companions like borage or dill interspersed here and there.  You don't have to do the completely random thing the get the benefits of companion planting....it doesn't hurt though!
 
master steward
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Ludi, that's a great chart!  Thanks for sharing!  I like that it has the antagonists.
 
gardener
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Sounds like you have a good start already. I don't overthink it much - I just throw together a lot of species and Nature seems to keep the pest problems low that way. And leave a bank of weeds nearby if you can stand it.
 
gardener
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Great chart Ludi! Thanks.

In my Back to Eden garden I have lots of **diversity** but still have many bugs. I think I need to carefully consider the placement and varieties of plants next year to help make better use of companions. (Yes, there will be a next year, the bugs won't win!)

** Corn, tomatoes, chard, carrots, chia, gaillardia, sunflowers, lettuce, irises, cucumbers, sage, basil, chives, lambsquarters, dock, nasturtium, thyme and I think what looks like a volunteer watermelon all in a bed that's about 125 sq ft.

Bad aphid problem on corn tassels, hornworm attack on tomatoes, grasshoppers eating lettuce and chard, stinkbugs and squash bugs wherever they choose, and some kind of medium-hard shell bug that looks like a piece of brown leaf with legs who is always surrounded by ants. He's smaller than a quarter inch as an adult.

My other gardens are planted in rows of one or two types of vegetables with marigolds inter-planted throughout. Lots of bug issues there. The tomatoes have aphids, hornworms and fruit worms. The squash has squash bugs and vine borers. The eggplants have flea beetles. The banana peppers look pretty good so far. Maybe next year I should plant all peppers.

Maybe I should move all of this on over to the Garden Failures Thread.
 
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