Companion planting guide for vegetables and flowers
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I planted hardneck garlic in one of my raised beds in November, and it’s doing very well. I just harvested the first of the scapes, which are a real treat (I sauteed them in butter — they’re soooo good)!
But because garlic is growing in that bed this year, I’ve had to adjust my planting plan. The parsley, which usually lives there, had to go elsewhere, and I had to plant the beans in containers. Otherwise, both would be stunted.
Many plants co-exist in either symbiotic or non-complementary relationships. Some plants deter insects or stave off disease. Basil, for instance, repels mites, aphids and mosquitoes and has anti-fungal properties. It also repels tomato hornworms, proving it works just as hard in your garden as in your Caprese salad. Others, like my garlic, don’t play nice with everyone.
I wrote about companion planting in my AP gardening column last week. You can read it here.
The Weekly Dirt won second place in the Best Newsletters category (for the second year in a row) at the PCLI Society of Professional Joirnalists Media Awards on Thursday night!
And one particular issue took the third-place prize in the humor(!) category. 🤢😂
I couldn’t have done it without you, so thanks a bunch for reading!
📬 Ask Jessica
DEAR JESSICA: I just had roughly a quarter of an acre of buckthorn removed from the back of our property, which butts up to a wetland area. What would you recommend I plant (flowers, shrubs, trees) in this area to eventually have it as an area of native species? —Ron Gaj, Northern Illinois, zone 5
Native trees that will thrive in your region include Allegheny serviceberry (a personal favorite), sugar maple, box elder and Ohio buckeye.
Oakleaf hydrangea, red buckeye and elderberry, which has edible berries, are great native shrubs.
Your perennial choices include (in no particular order): garden phlox, blazing star, pale purple coneflower, foxglove beardtongue, New England aster (native to Illinois, despite its name), butterfly weed, wild bergamot, obedient plant, rattlesnake master, purple prairie clover, spiderwort, anise hyssop, maidenhair fern and stiff tickseed.
Please send photos!
💡 If you do one thing this week…
Cut chrysanthemums, Joe Pye week and Heliopsis back by one-third. Repeat the pruning in two weeks and again in mid-July. They’ll grow fuller and bloom better later in the summer.
For more daily gardening tips, grab a copy of my Day-by-Day Gardening Calendar, currently on clearance for 50 % off!
That’s less than 3 cents a day for 365 garden tips and chores!
If you’re unfamiliar, hanging one of these babies on your wall is like having a complete gardening course in a wall calendar! I’ve included 365 tips and chores to ensure your garden stays on track every day of the year. You’ll never miss a sowing, planting, fertilizing, pest-control or other important gardening date again!
By the end of the year, I promise, you’ll have earned a green thumb! Plus, your wall will be adorned with award-winning photography provided by The Weekly Dirt readers.
Grab one today while it’s on your mind because when they’re gone, they’re gone (and I’m not planning a wall calendar for 2023). Take a look:
👏 Sunday shoutout
Jason and his wife Amanda, who run “a little farm” called Babuskas Gardens near Cochrane, Ontario, Canada, grew this giant zucchini from seeds they started indoors. “We won the grand ribbon at our local fall fair,” he said, adding that another of their zucchini weighed in at 43 pounds! 👏👏👏
Here’s a video Jason sent along of their harvest:
Send in your photo, and you could be featured next!
📰This week in my Associated Press gardening column
I write a weekly gardening column for the AP, so you might have seen my byline in your local paper (or news website) — wherever in the world you happen to be. In case you miss it, though, I’ll post the most recent here every week.
Do we have to separate you two? Best, worst companion plants for a healthier, pest-free garden
Common gardening mistakes — and how to avoid them: Much of gardening is learned by trial and error -- and, unfortunately, that’s mostly error. Learn how to get ahead of those blunders for a healthy, productive garden.
Not all shade is the same: Gardening where there's little sun: Gardening in the shade doesn't have to mean limited plant choices and lack of color. The first step is understanding which type of shade you have. Click in for guidance and plant suggestions.
Sunflowers! Homegrown sunflowers are popular, native and, for some, newly meaningful. Learn how to grow them— and how to harvest and roast their seeds.
Plant this, not that: Native alternatives for 8 popular invasive plants.
Go Native! If your idea of the perfect garden includes abundant plants that do well with little human intervention, while attracting and supporting all manner of pollinators, plant natives. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Annuals to plant for old-time nostalgia: Longing for grandma’s flowers? Here are 8 vintage garden favorites.
Filling raised beds? Save money—and grow better—with Hugelkultur: Hugelkultur is a different, more natural (and cheaper) approach to raised beds or mounds that doesn’t require so many bags of top soil or compost. Instead, you fill the space with organic matter that gradually decomposes, feeding the soil and plants. Here’s how.
Growing veggies in small spaces: Smaller new varieties can yield great results for vegetables grown in containers.
Want more? You can read all my AP gardening columns here.
Let’s be friends! Follow me @JesDamiano on Instagram
📧 How’m I doing?
I welcome your comments and suggestions, so please send them along — as well as any topics you’d like to see covered and questions you’d like answered in the Ask Jessica section.
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