Veggie Companion Planting List

companion planting

My garden was overrun by Japenese Beetles and Potato beetles.  I had tried chemicals and traps.  Nothing really helped and my famly was consuming large quantities of pesticides.  I wanted my garden to be just as healthy as my family.  I needed to figure out how so I could stop the crazy cycle. I took a gardening class and discovered companion planting.  Now I have a beautiful garden and hundreds of little helpers to keep away all the bad stuff!

Creating a healthier garden

I wanted to create a better garden, a garden that did not require me putting out fires every season.  So, I signed up for Master Gardening at my UW extension.  During my studies, I discovered that there was an easier way to help my garden without toxic chemicals or hurting the bee population.  It was companion planting.  It has been around quite a long time.  The Native Americans called it “Three Sisters”.  They planted squash, corn and beans together.  This had to work if they were doing it, along with other countries.

Companion planting

When two plants are dating! lol.  Actually it is when certain plants are planted along side each other, which helps improve their quality of growth.  One of the helpful ways can be by repelling pests.  By repelling pests organically, your garden can skip pesticides and increase a more healthy environment for you and your family.  Also, some plants like basil, when planted with tomatoes, are thought to make them taste better.  Oh, and did I mention saving you money?

Another cool thing it that you will learn to identify which bugs are great and which ones you don’t want.  By planting borage, you can attract a cool bug like a praying mantis! My kids love these guys.  Or, planting parsely or dill can attract butterflies.  This might be an easy way to get kids in the garden with you.

companion planting

Flowering companions

Cosmos, tansy, nasturtium, queen-Anne’s-lace, petunia,  and my favorite Borage, are some of the beautiful flowers that can be added to your garden.  Not only will they attrack the right kind of bugs, they will brighten up your day whenever you go to your garden.   Here is a quick list to get you started in planting a successful companion garden.

Companion Plant List:

  • Zucchini/Summer squash with marigolds, calendula, radishes, thyme
  • Tomatoes with Basil, Clover, borage, dill, fennel
  • Winter squash with nasturtiums, sunflowers, tansy
  • Broccoli and Zinnias
  •  Cauliflower/Cabbage with Chrysanthemums
  • Swiss chard/kale/beets with chives,Tansy, fennel, daisies
  • Potatoes and Beans and Cleome and/or Dill
  • Peppers with beans, potatoes or sweet alyssum
  • Carrots with Onions
  • Pole beans with lettuce, spinach
  • Asparagus with Hollyhock or parsley

** Remember to keep mint in a container, as this one will SPREAD fast.  I am still fighting that guy.

Refreshing your garden

It is highly recommended that your garden soil be refreshed every year.  What I mean by that is, add good quality compost every year. Try the receipe below as this has worked for me the last 6 years.  I usually just throw this right onto the top of the beds.

Compost ratio:

  • 1/3 blended manure (cow, chicken, mushroom)
  • 1/3 Peat Moss
  • 1/3 Course Vermiculite

I only used cow manure but since it has now become much easier to get a variety of manure, I am going to mix it up this year.  I will be adding cow, chicken and mushroom along with the other two above.  The soil should be able to be worked with your hands pretty easily but also stick together when wet.  I just throw it on top and turn it over with a shovel or by rocking a pitch fork.  Just try to get some of it down about 8 inches, as that area needs refreshment too.  And, always throw your worms back into the soil.  You need them.

Plan your garden 

Put down on paper a diagram of your garden and fill it in with the companion plants. This should be done every year while rotating your crops.  This is done in case there are any diseases in the soil or to make sure those bugs don’t have GPS on the bed with their dinner.  I keep all my old diagrams in a garden binder to reference back every year.  I also write down or keep the plant tags of the ones I really liked.  The plant tags can be hole punched and put on a metal ring, like used in scrapbooking.  I do this for all my beds and garden, individually.

One of the books that I use for reference every year for planning out my companion garden is Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden

 It has lists of companions but you can also look up individual plants to see what they help.  Awesome.  I don’t have to remember that every year!  Well, I hope this gets your garden going in the right direction.  Happy gardening!

Garden Helper – Handy Camel Bag Clip Review

The Handy Camel Bag Clip

Camel Clip

Okay, so you see a new product and half of you gets excited that it may work, the other half wonders if it is a waste of money.  I felt that way about this when I first saw it in a magazine. The Handy Camel Bag Clip. I am a master gardener and always trying to make my garden jobs easier.   I always have potting mix, peat moss, and compost left over.  I usually just roll the bag top over and put it in the shed, or even forget it outside. Then the kids or my husband go into the shed looking for something and knock it over.  Mice tend to also go inside and create their winter nests.  This may be a simple and affordable solution. The price was $19.99 for three.

Handy Camel Bag Clip

I have to admit, I wanted to try one and I did.  The company was so helpful they sent me one right away*.  I have had it all summer long.  I have used it for numerous things and am quite surprised at the durability.  The clip helped with the problem of how do you carry a 40 lbs bag of potting soil?  Like a Santa bag?  Go get a wheel barrel?  This clip just seemed to answer more problems than just sealing a bag.  Initially, I just wanted to keep the bag closed but this does more than that.  It helps carry, transport and keep water out, which seems to be frequently due to leaving the bags in my garden area.

Handy Camel Bag Clip

My kids were able to help me carry my larger bags because they now had a handle to hold.  The kids were even swinging the bags at each other and the clip never let go. (Um…the kids swinging the bags at each other is another story. lol) These clips are very durable and hefty.  I did leave mine out most of the summer exposed to the elements and it seems not affected, but I don’t think I would do that on a regular basis.

I actually did come up with a another use for it, and that was to keep my numerous bags of bird seed closed.  The twist ties never seem to stay on and I am forever sweeping up seed.  So, as summer draws to a close and I use up my potting soil for the fall pots, I can now use the clip on my bird seed for the winter!  It looks like I will have to order some more clips because the uses just keep popping up.

*I was provided one at no cost to test and give a review.  Thank you for the opportunity to test such a fun and useful item.