One of the things that I love to do, as a gardener, is read. I know, you expected me to say something like: dig in the dirt, or pull weeds, right? Sure I love digging, and I weed because I have to, but there's so much knowledge out there, and I just want to learn it all!!! It makes me a better gardener. I know that I have a lot of room for improvement. Each year we grow and expand the garden, and we try new things.
I know about companion planting, I really do. I know about it... but I can't say that I've paid much attention to it up til now. Probably because last year everything was in containers, so I didn't have to worry about what was planted where.
This year, I have raised garden beds. Five, to be exact, and then a heck of a lot of containers. I wish I had acres and acres of beds, but alas, I live in suburbia. That's a dream for another day. I have two beds that have beans in them. One bed thrives, the other bed struggles.
Seriously, have a look.
Here are my healthy beans:
I couldn't figure it out at first, until I started thinking about the two beds.
The healthy beans were planted in a bed by themselves. Just beans. The struggling beans were planted next to onions. That garden bed was split in half. Onions on one side, beans on the other.
Hmmm.... companion planting, I thought. There are things that compliment each other, like in a Three Sisters Garden. Are there things that are detrimental to each other when planted together?
The short answer is Yes. Yes there are.
The long answer goes more like this:
(Compliments of: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/vegetables-should-not-planted-next-other-garden-35394.html)
"Plants release varying amounts of compounds, such as nitrogen and potassium, which can stunt the growth of other plants by altering the pH level of the soil. While cucumbers thrive when planted near bush beans, lettuce and radishes, they choke when planted near potatoes. Beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers and strawberries make good neighbors -- as long as you plant the onions, garlic, leeks and shallots elsewhere. Peppers do well with carrots, eggplant, onions, parsley and tomatoes, but do not plant kohlrabi anywhere near them. Keep lettuce away from cabbage and keep onions away from asparagus, beans and peas. Spinach gets along with everyone."
This season's major mistake #2 - - don't plant the onions with the beans. What was major mistake #1, you ask? Oh, that was the first attempt at making beds in the yard - before The Guy went and bought the rototiller. I'd still be digging if we stayed with that method. Missed the post on Grave Digging in the Burbs? It's here.
There's a happy ending to this sad bean story. I dug them up. Yes I did. I dug up all 20 of those sad, sorry bean plants and I moved them. The next morning, they still looked about the same. No shock wilt, no dead plants, so I guess I did an OK job at getting under the roots. As of yet, they haven't changed color, but I'm hoping that they will grow new leaves that come in healthy and happy.
More to come on that.
The moral of the story is: research. Before you plant.
Green Thumb Out.