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They Go Together Like Peas and Carrots...Which Edibles Are BFFs? Create Synergy In Your Garden!

Posted by Diana Hartman on May 29, 2014 at 4:25 PM

So, Phil, my husband, and I are very different in many ways and I asked my sister what word came to mind when she thought of our relationship. She's much better with words than I and has a naturally talented poetic way of writing. Very quickly she throws out the word "synergy." I run to look up the exact meaning of this word "synergy," as all I know right off hand is that I love the organic clothing company named "Synergy" and would highly recommend it! Anyway, the definition of synergy: the interaction of multiple elements in a system to produce an effect different from or greater than the sum of their individual effects. The term synergy comes from the Greek word synergia from synergos, meaning "working together." Basically, two very different beings working in a complimentary fashion to create a "greater whole being." Love it!

Why am I telling you this? This sort of symbiotic relationship is found in nature with animals, organisms and plants. Let's think how we can apply "synergy" in our gardening! Synergy among plants! By planting complimentary plants near each other and allowing natural symbiotic relationships to occur, we create a "GREATER GARDEN"...a naturally sustainable edible landscape! This is a proven technique titled "Companion Planting."



These companions go well together in the garden...cukes and lettuce...onions and garlic...tomatoes and basil...friends and sisters and brothers!

Utilizing the technique of companion planting gives us many benefits:

  • provides natural pest control. An example is using Nasturtiums to attract the caterpillars which feed on members of the cabbage family. Plant them near your brassicas to protect them from the pests.


  • aids pollination. Marigolds attract nectar-feeding pollinators as well as deter the aphids from feeding on neighboring crops.


  • provides habitat for beneficial creatures. Carrots, dill, parsley and parsnip attract and provide habitat for praying mantises, ladybugs and spiders that dine on insect pests.


  • maximizes use of space in the garden. You can pack plants that help each other closer together. For example, leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grow well in the shadow of corn. This is referred to as square foot gardening.


  • increases crop productivity. If your goal is organic gardening, utilizing companion planting will help prevent problems and increase productivity without using synthetic means of fertilizing, weed reduction and pest control.


By taking advantage of our knowledge regarding companion planting and putting this knowledge to use, we are imitating the diversity of a natural ecosystem and are therefore putting into action a sustainable form of gardening.

Be sure to be aware of incompatible plants, as well. For example, although garlic and onions repel a variety of pests and make excellent companions for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted when planted as neighbors.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? As I began to map out how I would seed and plant my edible landscape this Memorial Day weekend, I came across several useful websites and charts. I will provide you with the links to these and at-a-glance you will be able to see which edibles are friends and which are foes!

Find great information at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants

There are many charts on Pinterest and other sites, but a fairly simple one to read is at:  http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/companion-planting.html

Here is one more for those that want a colorful visual chart:

found at:  http://www.thekitchenpantry.net/2014/growing-vegetables-summer/

One of the keys to successful companion planting is experience and observation. Be sure to write down what works from year to year and share this with your own gardening companions! Companionship is important for gardeners and gardens!

So go have fun and plant in a way that creates Synergy in your garden!






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