Friday, June 4, 2010

Companion planting

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As insects and plants diseases change and adapt, becoming impervious to chemicals used in their control, it becomes necessary to explore alternatives. One of these, of course, is companion planting.(…)
Briefly, it is placing plants in close proximity so they may help each other grow, or repel their enemies, which may be insects or even other plants. It may be succession planting; for instance corn, which needs nitrogen, may follow a crop of early peas, which restore nitrogen to the soil by drawing it ouf of the air. Because of its high saponin content, spinach is useful as a pre-crop and does especially well planted with strawberries. The solanine in tomatoes will protect asparagus beetles. In turn a chemical derived from asparagus juice has been found effective when used on tomato plants as a killer of nematodes.
Companion planting may take the form of “barrier plants:”
Chives or garlic between rows of peace or lettuce should control aphids.
Marigolds between hills of cucumbers, marrow, squashes, or melons should keep cucumber beetle down. (…)
Rosemary, thyme, sage, catmint, hyssop, or , preferably mixtures of these between rows of cabbage should keep away the white or imported cabbage butterfly.(…)
Tomatoes near asparagus should keep down asparagus beetle. Parsley is also good planted with asparagus.
Chives between roses should reduce the incidence of aphids.

From Sleeping with a Sunflower. By Louise Riotte. P 144. New Jersey, 1987

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