Monday, June 13, 2011

Companion Planting in the Garden

So, first off. My camera is back!!! It was supposed to be 2 weeks-it was 5. Just got it today, and they said nothing is wrong with it. (It cost $100 to learn that!) I wonder how long it would have taken if something was wrong! 
PS I really hope that they are right, because I don't want it acting up again...
Moving on...

We have been in the garden a bit lately. Not nearly as much as we should have been, but some. I got a few pictures this evening as I was getting re-acquainted with the 'ole camera. 

I titled this post Companion Planting as I have a few companion plants here, but I plan to highlight a few more throughout the garden season. Every year as I am planting, I religiously refer to  Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening, by Louise Riotte. It is a great book about companion planting-what plants to plant near (and away) from each other for the most mutual benefit.

First up, Borage. 
Borage is an excellent companion plant for pretty much any vegetables (or fruits-excellent for strawberry beds). It helps to keep unwanted garden pests away. You do have to watch it though, as it will self seed pretty quickly!

Next, Onions.
Onions are again an excellent companion plant for many fruits & vegetables in your garden. I have these Egyptian Onions in a bed with strawberries, lettuce, and violas (along with some volunteer pumpkin plants which grew on their own after I composted one too many pumpkins in this plot last fall). I love growing all onions, but the Egyptian Onions look very at home in an ornamental bed. They have small onions underground, a larger chive-like stem, and then little onions to use for seed that grow on top. I think they are very funky looking. And, you always have plenty of bulbs to share with friends!

It is also about companion planing, but focuses more on ornamentals, where the Carrots book focuses on edibles. So, another companion I have in my ornamental garden is,

Lamb's Ear. (Disregard the serious grass around it!)
Lamb's Ear is a good companion plant for Roses, and for Irises.  Lamb's Ear used to be nature's band aid. Before you could buy band aids in every imaginable color & design, this is what was used! It is soft and furry and very absorbent. We love to pick a leaf and rub our fingers on it-it is very soothing. Another self seeder though-I have these cuties all over my garden, whether I like it or not. But, if you are a gardener who has things under control, you can snap off the stem before it flowers (like right now in this picture!) so the seeds won't blow all over yonder in your garden!

Next up, not at all a companion plant, but pretty and still flowering, so it is in. 

Pretty peony. No idea what kind. I am a plant sale/hand me down kind of gardener. If you have extra and need a taker, I am your gal! Except I must say, I am a regular at my A #1 local farm-Meservey Farm. I get my seedlings here (after I kill all of my own), lots of vegetables, and some perennials too. If you are local to Southern Maine, check them out!

Lastly, no garden is complete without a fairy garden or two. 

For 'official' fairy garden guidelines (and a great story), check out Fairy Houses (The Fairy Houses Series) by Tracy Kane.

Now that me and my camera are back together, I should be unstoppable (HA!). Hope to see you again soon. Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for info about our new girls, our new boy Hank, and lots of garden updates.

PS I linked up to Amy's Garden Tour. Click here to see lots of pretty gardens!


  1. I have to learn more about companion planting! I am more of a trial and error kind of person. I just try stuff and if it works, fine. And if not, I move it. But it would be cool to actually KNOW what plants have a symbiotic relationship. It would save time. Thanks for these book suggestions Vanessa!

  2. I love that you talk about companion planting! I have done that too! I should mention it next week. I planted hyssop by our grapes. And I have tea roses in my kitchen garden with the lambs ears and egyptian onions! Must be that super Bates education we share ;)

  3. Great post! The borage is so pretty. I've thought about growing it. Do you use it for anything? I know it's supposed to be good for the skin... So glad the son is out today. Maybe the peonies will last a bit longer now, and the slugs won't get all the strawberries!! I afraid even onions won't save roses from the Japanese Beetles. I refuse to use nasty chemicals to kill them and the natural solutions haven't done much. So no roses for me. I have to choose things those awful little pests aren't quite so fond of. Happy Gardening!!

  4. That is so nice! I have read this those companion planting books, too. When I first read Carrots Love tomatoes, I went out back and ripped everything out and replanted it. My husband thought I had lost my mind!


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