2018 Garden Plan

It’s always a delight to plan the garden in January and February, letting your mind wander ahead of the seasons. Taking stock of what you have, what you want, and what you need to realize that. Considering the successes and failures of the year before (every year has them) and deciding your next steps.

We’ve had squash bugs the last two summers so I’m calling it and not planing zucchini, winter squash, or cucumbers. It’s hard to hold myself back but it also makes more space for things I love—like beans, peppers, tomatoes, flowers.

This might just be my first season of simplicity.

I’m excited. I think I might be able to pull it off this year.
Last year my flower game was strong, and I even kept up on the weeds pretty well.

So this year there will be a lot of haricot vert bush beans, two colors of basil, two colors of kale, Asian eggplants, lots of zinnias. Lots of tomatoes. Lots of COLOR.

Ordered seeds from Fedco. Have you heard of them? I love their selection, their prices (!), and even the volume—because I definitely don’t need as many seeds as I get most, especially when I like to shake things up year-to-year.

And for the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage (and kale! maybe basil!) I’ll buy starts from the local farms and grocery. We have some great selection in town and I’m done with the risk. Too many mistakes, too much waste.

This year we’ll plant a ‘hedge’ of sunflowers, amaranth and other flowers along the fence too. It will provide a little privacy from the neighbors and attract birds. And we love birds, so if we really make it happen I’ll be a happy kitty.

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Companions…

In 2016 I found my companion planting resource lost from the Internet, and learned the woman who maintained it had passed. Her family was kind enough to pass along to me, and here a year more later, I thought I should return it to the common lexicon.

Here are her words about companion planting

Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, leaves etc. that can alternately repel and/or attract insects depending on your needs. In some situations they can also help enhance the growth rate and flavor of other varieties.

Experience shows us that using companion planting through out the landscape is an important part of integrated pest management. In essence companion planting helps bring a balanced eco-system to your landscape, allowing nature to do its’ job. Nature integrates a diversity of plants, insects, animals, and other organisms into every ecosystem so there is no waste. The death of one organism can create food for another, meaning symbiotic relationships all around. We consider companion planting  to be a holistic concept due to the many intricate levels in which it works with the ecology.

By using companion planting, many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies. There are many varieties of herbs, flowers, etc. that can be used for companion plants. Be open to experimenting and find what works for you. Some possibilities would be using certain plants as a border, backdrop or interplanting in your flower or vegetable beds where you have specific needs. Use plants that are native to your area so the insects you want to attract already know what to look for! Plants with open cup shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects.

Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose to give you an enjoyable, healthy environment. Have fun, let your imagination soar. There are many ways you can find to incorporate these useful plants in your garden, orchard, flower beds etc.

Find the guide here.