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AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING

Welcome !  " You Can Grow "

"As we learn to sustain and maintain our soil with resource conserving techniques, we
learn to sustain ourselves. When we design a garden with this in mind, we work
with the land, and not against nature."


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bugs in a Mossy Knoll Garden flower blossom in WA

COMPANION PLANTING

Companion planting, or intercropping, allows us to take advantage of certain chemical interactions between plants. These interactions can be used to encourage plant growth and health in a symbiotic manner. Every plant releases different chemical agents, either above ground through its leaves, or below ground from its roots.

These chemicals attract or repel insects, and either aid, or discourage their growth and reproduction.

Below ground, plant roots release amino acids, vitamins, sugars, tannins, alkaloids, phosphatides, and glucosides into the soil, affecting plants either positively or negatively, resulting in plant health, or disease. Chemicals emitted from plant roots will either attract or repel underground insects.

Above ground, plant foliage also gives off chemical scents - alkaloids, sulfides, and phenolic compounds - which repel or attract insects, or act as a natural fungicide.

Chemicals released by a plants foliage are increased by watering, heat, and stress.

Each plant has a different molecular vibration, or wave length. Insects use these vibrations to determine the location of the plants growing in your garden. Using companion planting, insects are not able to easily find and settle into an area to eat, reproduce, or hide.


INTENSIVE PLANTING


Chemical interactions also affect plants growing in close proximity, either promoting or retarding their growth, and health, above and below ground.

A garden planted with single rows uses more soil area and resources, is more difficult to mulch, the soil dries out faster and produces more weeds, and becomes quickly compacted from walking and jumping between rows.

Planting crops closely together in wide rows, takes advantage of the physical and chemical characteristics of each plant. Planting crops close together for the highest yield of each plant will benefit each plant, if planted in symbiotic relationship.

shpinx moth gathering nectar from a flower in NM

An intensive intercropping in 3 to 5 foot wide raised beds will provide the most efficient use of soil area. Framing the edges with soil, brick, stone, or wood will provide an area of containment for the soil, organic nutrients, water, and mulch. Plant foliage can be used to provide an area of “living shade”, promoting water, nutrient  and soil, conservation.

Since wide raised beds are never stepped on, or walked in, they are not trampled or compacted, allowing each plant to easily spread its roots and grow to its maximum potential, live and grow in a minimum of stress, and provide the healthiest crop. Unstressed plants are more able to resist an insect attack.

The amount of time it takes to mature a plant from seed or transplanting, its leaf and rooting patterns, light, and nutrient requirements are major factors when planning an intensive garden. Timing your crops to provide a constant harvest is another important aspect.

Successive planting means that you do not plant all your seeds at the same time in one big crop. By planting successively, two or more crops may be harvested assuring a continuous supply throughout the entire growing season. For example, by planting lettuce or spinach every two weeks, you can harvest it all season with no gaps in production.



Intensive intercropping, along with companion planting, will provide the maximum amount of food production, and will reduce your garden size, water and nutrient requirements, and allow you to grow the healthiest plants.

Understanding the growth patterns of each plant's foliage will allow you to plant smaller plants next to larger plants, for the benefit of both.

Plants have different sun and shade requirements, and plants that prefer shade should be planted under those that want sun. Lettuce and spinach will benefit if planted under the shade of a taller companion.

Plant foliage also acts like a "living mulch", cooling the soil under the plants, as well as providing shade.

Water and nutrient needs are different for each plant, both which can be maximized by conditioning your soil with organic matter such as composted manures, compost, and a good layer of alfalfa mulch. Plants that require a lot of nitrogen and sunlight need to be rotated with plants that don't. Always follow a root crop with a leafy crop, and a heavy feeder like corn with a legumes crop.


“Population will increase rapidly, more rapidly than in former times, and ‘ere long the
most valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence
from the smallest area of soil.”

pink petuna in the garden in NM
ABOVE GROUND
Space Saving Complimentary Growth Combinations

Beans can be intercropped with celery, squash, corn, tomatoes,
carrots, cucumbers, melons, and radishes.

Cabbage can be intercropped with peppers, tomatoes, chives, and onions.

Corn can be intercropped with cabbage, lettuce, melons,
beans, squash, cucumbers, and potatoes.

Leeks and onions can be intercropped with carrots and parsley, cabbage, eggplant, pepper, and spinach.


SUNLIGHT AND SHADE
Complimentary Growth Combinations

Beans, Cabbage, broccoli and other cole crops will provide shade for celery, lettuce, spinach.

Tomatoes, corn, and sunflowers provide shade for lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, as well as providing a climbing place for cucumbers.


BELOW GROUND
Space Saving Complimentary Growth Combinations

Bean roots compliment the roots of carrots, celery, corn, cucumbers, onions, radishes, melons, and squash.

Corn roots compliment the roots of lettuce, and potato, radish, and onion.

Onion roots compliment the roots of eggplant, pepper, carrot, radish, and spinach.

Pea roots compliment the roots of turnips, and radishes.

old homestead flower at Giannangelo Farms Southwest in NM
PLANTS AND THEIR COMPANIONS
Certain plants grow well together, and others do not. When plants are placed together within a complementary relationship, growth of both is encouraged. This is due to many things, among them: root excretions, plant aromas, and pollens. Certain herbs and flowers also have beneficial effects on surrounding plants, and many will discourage insects.

Resources
Home of the Organic Gardener
Planet Natural
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
Fertile Garden
Harmony Farm Supply
Extremely Green Gardening Company
herbal medicines



“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.
To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.
Share the botanical bliss of gardeners through the ages, who have cultivated philosophies
to apply to their own – and our own - lives: Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”

Alfred Austin, 1835-1913





Website designed and maintained by Vicky Giannangelo
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Created by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo, copyright (c) 2001-2013


Home Page    About Us    Mossy Knoll Garden/San Juan Island    Botany Basics    "You Can Grow!" Workshops    Composting    Soil Building
Hardiness Zone Map   WebRings    "You Can Grow" CD's   "Tid-Bytes" Insights   Garden Pests & Organic Controls
Biodiversity and Genetic Engineering    New Mexico    Companion & Intensive Planting     Permaculture    Labyrinths
Seed Starting Guide    Creative Garden Design    The Greenzbox    Culinary Herb Gardens    Xeriscape
"Growing with the Seasons"    Photo Tour I    Photo Tour II    Photo Tour III    Photo Tour IV    Photo Tour V
Organic Products    Gardening Books   Gardening Supplies     Recommend This Site    Resources


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