Lessons from the Garden Gnome! Companion planting can be a bit complicated. And yes you must pay attention to the frost warnings.
Companion Planting is basically the art of selecting plants that naturally repel the bad insects and attract the good ones. And if you are very clever you can enhance the growth rate and flavor of your plants. For example basil and tomatoes don’t just taste good together, they also grow well together. If you plant basil with tomatoes, it will improve growth and flavor. Who knew? I thought it was just an Italian thing. There are tons of great sites that offer lots of advice. Chuck and I consulted many. We started with a list of vegetables that we wanted:
- Brussel Sprouts
We discovered that Nasturtiums were excellent companion plants. It deters lots of bad bugs and it is recommended to plant these in pots as they like poor soil with low moisture and no fertilizer. Place the pots of Nasturtiums at strategic places in your garden. Basil, radishes, onions, marigolds, cilantro and mint are more great companion plants. Yikes the plant list was growing. Dill and lettuce were also added to the companion plant list.
We were at Ann Arbor’s Farmer’s Market early on a Wednesday morning.
On an impulse, I purchased a few squash plants and sweet peas and by accident we brought home cauliflower instead of Brussel sprouts. We forgot to buy spinach but have lots of lettuce. I snuck in some sunflowers just for fun.
Sadly, I should have heeded the frost warning. We had a hard freeze very soon after our trip to the Farmer’s Market. We’d planted the kale, sweet peas, and basil before the freeze. These plants weathered the hard freeze the best. We were lucky and only lost a few plants which included a tomato, cucumber and oddly 4 or 5 marigolds plants. So my advice — put your plants in the garage if they are not in the ground and do not cover with an old sheet. You can purchase frost blankets online or you can use newspaper to cover your plants. I was told to really soak the ground and plants before the freeze. This is apparently what the orange growers do in Florida.
Chuck and I devoted an entire evening to plotting where we’d plant what in the garden. We even sketched it on graphing paper. LOL… Yeah right.
We didn’t follow the plan but I’d like to think we thoughtfully planted the garden. It is definitely safe to say our personalities directed the plant placement. Charlie planted the Eastern bed (it is also the garden bed where the gnome lives) and I planted the Western bed. The Eastern bed is very orderly and the rows run east to west. The Western bed which I planted, is more “natural” looking and it has a more lawless feel. The tomatoes are planted in a row down the middle– North to South.
The Western Garden aka Brenda’s Garden
The Eastern Garden aka Chuck’s Garden