Carrots Love Tomatoes on Bloom Day

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.~Lewis Grizzard

It is GBBD@May Dreams Gardens and Seepferds Garten, and I am taking license to post more about my veg garden than flowers.  I also decided to incorporate into this post my Garden Book Review for Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys meme on the 20th of the month.

With the sudden warm up this May to daytime temps in the 60s and 70s and nighttime lows in the 40s and 50s, my veg garden is growing like a weed.  Lots more will be harvested soon and new plants added as the cooler temp veggies fade already.

This year I went all out with my seed growing in the basement and added another raised bed to accommodate more tomatoes and peppers I hoped to grow from seed.  I knew I would have to carefully plan to utilize all the space available so I could fit in everything I wanted to grow.  Of course I am also using containers and grow bags to supplement the space.

But in order to maximize the space and ensure a better harvest, I needed to look into the concept of companion planting and best times to plant.  I had heard about the idea of companion planting last year and was intrigued. A friend recommended this book and I bought it.

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Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening 

by Louise Riotte

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 2 edition (January 2, 1998)
List Price:  $ 14.95
Amazon Price: $10.17 (Paperback)

 

 

 

This gardening book has already become a classic.  It was first published in 1975, and then again in 1998 for the latest crop of gardeners who want to use plants instead of chemicals to help get rid of garden pests and grow a better garden.

In a Few Words

At first I was a bit overwhelmed because the book was broken down by the kind of plant and it was about more than just vegetables.  But I made my list of vegetables and read through noting the companion plants and those to avoid planting together.  I also took note of any other important information the author shared.  From there I planned my veg garden beds.

This year I took the list and expanded it to herbs and fruits and made a spreadsheet of the best companions and those to avoid.  From that list I again planned my veg garden beds.

Here is the list of plants and other topics the book covers.

  1. Vegetables
  2. Herbs
  3. Wild Plants
  4. Grasses, Grains and Field Crops
  5. First Steps for Home Fruit Growing
  6. Nuts
  7. Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
  8. Garden techniques
  9. Soil Improvement
  10. Pest Control
  11. Poisonous Plants
  12. Garden Plants

 

What I Liked

The author, who passed away around the time of the second printing, was one of the foremost writers of American folk wisdom and gardening lore.  And you can read her wonderful wisdom in every part of this book.  The special tidbits about plants are so useful and interesting that this year I literally read the whole book.  And while not every vegetable is mentioned most of the common ones are or you can extrapolate info from a veggie family and use it with other members of the family.  For instance not all members of the Cabbage family are mentioned, but the info about cabbages can be used with all members of the family.

Not only does it tell what to plant with what, but also how to use herbal sprays to control insects, what wild plants to plant or allow to grow in the garden, how to grow fruit and nut trees and how to start small gardens or window-box gardens.

Turn the pages and stop anywhere in the book and I dare you not be enthralled by the information presented.  For instance, I happened upon the dandelion section in Wild Plants.  It goes on to tell you why they are actually beneficial to the garden or lawn because dandelions bring up other nutrients from deep in the soil like calcium, and then allow earth worms to burrow deeper.

But there is usually a word of warning in most sections.  Dandelions, because they exhale ethylene gas, can stunt the growth of nearby plants and cause flowers and fruits to mature early.  I now understand why maybe some things are occurring in my garden with all the dandelions.  Of course it gives me good reason the make sure they are not in the flower and fruit beds.  Got to get weeding.

 

Not So Much

It seems my only criticism once again is the fact that there is so much crammed into this book.  For some who wrote critiques on Amazon about the book, this was a minus because they wanted more about companion planting especially with vegetables.  I felt there was plenty of information and enjoyed the wealth of other useful gardening tips.

 

Final Thoughts

I plan to delve into the sections on Garden Techniques, Soil Improvement and Pest Control next.  There is so much I need time to absorb the information and put it to good use.  I love her charts on things like Insect Control through Companion Planting.  It is an easy guide to figure out what plant will rid what pest.  Like borage helps eliminate tomato worm.  Good thing I planted borage around the tomato bed.  I also love the Garden Plans and easy chart of cool season and warm season vegetables.  This is on of those invaluable books that you will use over and over again.  I feel it has helped take away the fear that can sometimes overwhelm the beginning veg gardener.

One word of warning; if you are a beginning gardener, take this book in slowly so you can absorb the information.  Depending upon if you are starting fruits, veggies, herbs or flowers you will want to read and take notes in those sections only as you start.  The last several sections in the book are also good for beginning gardeners.

For all things produced in a garden, whether of salads or fruits, a poor man will eat better that has one of his own, than a rich man that has none. ~J. C. Loudon

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 What joy this Mother’s Day weekend, the robin’s have returned.  In case you missed it, last year the robin’s made a nest in one of our front ornamental willows and there was success after 3 clutches.  We left the successful nest up in hopes a robin family would move in.  We believe they came to our more protected tree after they lost eggs (that we found smashed) from a nest in a neighbor’s yard.  I watched them check it out, and they fix it up.  It is now ready for eggs.

 

Carolyn@Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been blogging about her wonderful mini hostas, and when she said they were for sale, I made an immediate purchase.  It was easy and the plants arrived quickly and so healthy.  Here are 3 that I planted in a favorite cement planter.  You can see the large incredible plants Carolyn sent and I even got a free mini hosta as a gift.  Thanks Carolyn.  I hope to visit her beautiful gardens in the future and go on a shopping spree.

 

 

Finally, I was out in the veg garden and planted Brussel sprouts, okra, dill and nasturtiums.  I also started blue potatoes in grow bags.  The peas looked a bit stressed, so I planted a few more with Garden Soil Inoculant as recommended by Jay@The Scientific Gardener.  I also used the inoculant with the replanting of the pole beans, and will use it with the bush beans next weekend.  I’ll let you know how they do.

Still to plant are zucchini, kale, more onions, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.  My tomatoes (13 varieties) were a huge success and almost every seed germinated and grew.  I can only plant so many (18) so I am giving away 24 tomato plants to neighbors, friends and co-workers.  Peppers and eggplant get transplanted as soon as I have space this week (more to give away).  The tomatoes, basil, eggplant, peppers, marigolds and petunias go out Memorial Day weekend.  I need to work on the growing flowers from seed.  I had only mild success.

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Next up on the blog:  Next Monday it will be time for another another Simply the Best post that ties in with Diana@Elephant’s Eye, and Gail@Clay and Limestone’s Wildflower Wednesday.  I will be featuring my Goats Beard.  And then it will be time for another Word 4 Wednesday with Donna@Garden Walk, Garden Talk.

Don’t forget that June 1st marks the next installment of Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned.  Click the link to learn more.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

I hope you will join me for my weekly posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

66 comments

  1. Christina says:

    It is a problem working out where to put the vegetables. Which need the soil to be rich, which want it alkaline, which grow well together, never plant the same thing or family of things in the same bed two years running!!!!! you look very organised. what tomatoes do you grow? Christina

    • Donna says:

      Thx Christina…i am still working so much of it out.
      I am growing the following 13 tomato varieties:
      -Garden Candy Red Cherry
      -Garden Candy Yellow Cherry
      -Garden Candy Orange Cherry
      -Black Cherry
      -Brandywine
      -Beefsteak
      -Roma-Pompeii
      -Roma
      -San Marzano
      -Rutgers
      -Heirloom-Costoluto
      -Heirloom-Persimmon
      -Heirloom-Black Krim

  2. tina says:

    Those hostas are really pretty in the cement plants. I use companion planting here in my garden. I’ve learned a lot of tips by trial and error. I should probably share some soon. I’d like to read this book too. Garden wisdom is a big help to me. Congrats on a successful crop of tomatoes!

  3. Flâneur Gardener says:

    I’m jealous of your vegetable garden plan! It looks amazing.

    The book sounds worth a read; it would be nice to see if the author’s knowledge corresponds with the knowledge I’ve “inherited” from my mother. (Pulses with brassicas, marigolds with everything etc.)

      • Flâneur Gardener says:

        The main tip is to have lots of flowers between the veggies. It encourages pollination and looks pretty! And the second-most important tip is that you just need to cut corners and make things work, even if it isn’t perfect; a few weeds won’t destroy a crop…

  4. Alistair says:

    Very interesting all this stuff about companion planting. Those carrots look very tempting, I dont have room for a veg patch without destroying some major area in the garden, But I am going to grow some in the flower borders just for an experiment. This year we have tomatoes in the greenhouse, (they dont grow outdoors here) We also have peppers, aubergines, and cucumber (all greenhouse plants) Hmm, I wonder if I should grow tatties in a bag, outdoors of course, oh my we will soon be self sufficient. oh, tagetes are in the greenhouse as they are good for keeping the beasties away from the tomatoes. have a great growing season Donna.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Alistair. I did not realize you couldn’t grow tomatoes outdoors. I actually can’t grow veggies outside in the flower beds because then the critters would get to them. At least in the beds I can cover them with netting. Love to know how your veggies in the flower beds do.

  5. Nadezda says:

    Donna,
    when I plan what vegetables to plant, I have a problem where to plant them, because not enough free space. But I always plant a carrot for a better place, and tomatoes in the greenhouse only. They are not cold out there. At night it is cold.

    • Donna says:

      My planting space is tight so I have to plan carefully too. I am lucky to have a short but warm growing season for tomatoes.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Christine…you will love the book. I also added some young viola sprouts to round it out…hopefully they will bloom and I will take some more pictures.

  6. HolleyGarden says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this book. I have often come across it, but I have wondered if it would be too much information to handle, as I’m just learning about vegetable growing. But the way you described putting on paper which vegetables you are growing, and then listing what to grow, and what not to grow, with them makes so much sense! I just adore your mini hostas! And I hope the robin has a very successful parenting year.

    • Donna says:

      So glad you liked the post. I think it would be a great book for you Holley. I am willing to share my spreadsheet via email if you want to use it and edit it for your own purposes. That would cut out some of the work.

  7. RamblingWoods says:

    You are very generous Donna…I haven’t tried to go veg in years and not sure if I could do any other than container ones here..something to think about.. Hope your knee is feeling better…Michelle

    • Donna says:

      Thx Michelle. The knee is getting there but I am still not pushing it. You might like some container or perennial herbs to grow. let me know. I have oregano, sage and thyme to share as well as mint. The oregano and mint should only be in containers or they take over. Container veggies are fun to grow too.

  8. PlantPostings says:

    Wow, you are busy, busy! I will have to live vicariously through you re: the veg garden. I have a small plot, but not enough sun for a large veg garden. Very impressive plans, Donna! And your photos are so bright and cheery! Sorry I’ve been out of the loop a little bit–busy at work and planning a small graduation gathering for my son. Enjoy the perfect temps!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Beth. I know I have been out of the loop on Blotanical due to the garden kicking into high gear. I have become obsessed with seed growing and veggies this year. Happy Graduation!! Hope your weather is glorious.

  9. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    There is a lot to be said for all the companion plantings. I did not know about the dandelions expelling ethylene gas. Very interesting!
    I like the idea of the mini hostas in the hypertufa bowl… with a large landscape small plants can get lost.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Janet. I knew when I received the hostas what container I wanted to use. The book is amazing and has such a wealth of knowledge.

  10. Helen says:

    Hi

    I really enjoyed your review of the book. Its one I have been looking at for a while and wondering how transferable it is to the Uk. I might just get it as I am sure a lot will be relevant

  11. Lucy Corrander says:

    Tomatoes are wonderful. I think they should be given honorary status as flowers.

    Wish dandelions didn’t have a down-side. I hadn’t heard that they can delay growth before. That may be because they are often counted as weeds so few people grow them.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Lucy about tomatoes. I couldn’t get to the dandelions this year and they have really gotten a foot hold in the garden. For us they are an alien weed, but one that is quite delicious when eaten.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Grace your lovely comment brought a smile to my face…thank you so much…I am sure they will bring us pleasure!

  12. Cat says:

    Oh, you do seem so organized! It must be incredibly helpful when trying to keep up with all that you’ve planted. I’m considering an edible garden in the front (if I can get it approved through the HOA :/ ). I’m gonna need to do some serious reading as I don’t have much experience at all with edibles other than herbs. I appreciate your book review. Happy GBBD, Donna!

    • Donna says:

      Good luck Cat. I would love an edible garden in front with the flower beds but the deer and rabbits would destroy it in no time flat. Glad you enjoyed the post. Happy GBBD!

  13. Libby says:

    Over from Nature Notes!

    I am so impressed that you are taking such a systematic approach with the diagrams etc.

    This book sounds GREAT! I will see whether they have it on our library.

    Thanks for such an informative post 😀

  14. Aimee says:

    Another great review! I am so impressed by how many books you’ve been reading lately and also by how thoroughly you review them for us – what a gift for us!

    I love reading about companion planting – this sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I usually plant basil with tomatoes, and marigolds nearby too – the smell is supposed to repel unwanted insects. I might just have to check out this book for more ideas now that I know what I’m growing this year!

    I am so happy to hear the robins have returned. What a joy it will be to watch the family grow! Keep us posted!

    • Donna says:

      I will keep you posted and how sweet of you to say all these lovely things…you would definitely love this book Aimee. Maybe we can plant to meet up at Carolyn’s gardens in the future 🙂

  15. Aimee says:

    ps – your hostas from Carolyn’s Shade Garden look amazing! Someday I really want to visit her gardens in person, but it’s nice to know that she ships too.

  16. GirlSprout says:

    This is my first year growing a vegetable garden so your book review is very timely. However, I might wait until I have a more experience to read it so I don’t get overwhelmed. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      You might want to read a few sections as you get going. I am happy to share my companion planting spreadsheet too…just let me know via email. Good luck with the veggies this year!

  17. Bumble Lush says:

    I am primarily a vegetable gardener, so I thank you for making a book rec that’s about vegetables. I am adding Carrots Love Tomatoes to my book list. Looking forward to seeing how your veggies turn out.

  18. Wife, Mother, Gardener says:

    This sounds like a great book, Donna! I am all in favor of companion planting in the veg patch as well as the flower garden. And your hostas look lovely! I can attest that it was difficult to make a spending limit at Carolyns! So many wonderful plants.
    ~Julie

  19. Leora says:

    Sounds like a good book. I wonder what we can plant to chase away groundhogs and deer – those are our main competition. I can’t even grow flowers in some spots -they get eaten.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Leora that is too bad. There are some good websites and books but those are 2 of the toughest critters to deal with. I have found Deer Out repellent to work with my voracious deer. it helps keep them at bay and it lasts a long time. The scent is also pretty nice. I believe they may have it for groundhogs too…Google it and check out the website.

  20. Gesine says:

    Donna, I found to grow vegetables is more difficult than blooms! And a good book allways helps!
    I love the Robin!
    Thank you for supporting Blogger Blueten!
    Best wishes from cold Berlin!

  21. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens says:

    I have snatched a few minutes to read your post before leaving for the airport with Donna for the fling. Thanks so much for profiling my miniature hostas. They looks so wonderful in your planter. The book sounds like a must read too.

    • Donna says:

      Carolyn, I cannot get over the size of the plants you sent. I knew the quality would be A+. I added a few violas and once they grow in, I will post a picture. I planted the other 3 in a different container that needs to grow in a bit too. Enjoy the fling and share lots!!

  22. igardendaily says:

    Hi Donna! Great book review. I’ve heard of this book several times and now just think I NEED to get it! I am doing more and more veggie gardening (although I am still expanding my flower beds too!). I have quite a few raised beds (like you) and always mix up the planting tremendously. I try to follow companion planting as much as I remember when I’m out there planting but sometimes I just put stuff in and see what happens or google it later! I really mix my stuff up…have you heard of square foot gardening? It takes into consideration companion planting, while maximizing space of raised beds for as much density as possible. Supposedly, this level of mixing up your edibles also really helps with pest management. Anyway, keep posting on your veggies I want to know how they are doing. Yes, I love the mini hostas too. So cute!

    • Donna says:

      I will keep you posted on the veggies. I have a book or 2 on the square foot gardening but have not had time to study it more. I hope you find the book helpful..I am sure you will.

  23. debsgarden says:

    Your garden plan looks fabulous – what a great veggie garden you have! I am interested in companion planting and have put it into practice on a very small scale in my own garden, but I really know so little about what really works. This sounds like a great resource book. Also, I love your mini hostas!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Deb…I am still learning more about companion planting and I learn something new every day in the book..hope you like it!

  24. Laura@PatioPatch says:

    Loved this book review Donna and were I to grow to eat I would try and emulate your planting plan! It’s been good to follow your thoughts from little seedlings in the basement.
    p.s. The tiny hostas look right at home with you
    pps Should be able to join this meme soon as am right in the middle of a great gardening read

    • Donna says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Laura…hope you can join the Gardening Book Review at some point…I also hope you will join Seasonal Celebrations starting June 1st. Those hostas are amazing and they will grow in quickly. Wait until you see my tomatoes soon. They go in the ground with peppers and eggplant next weekend..that will fill in the rest of the veg bed.

  25. Island Threads says:

    hello Donna, catching up with your blog and you have been busy, you sound like you are feeling much better now, your garden blooms are lovely and so pleased the robins are back, your veggie garden plan is great, companion planting is something often talked about on garden programmes over here and sometimes there are magazine articuls, it’s what was done before modern chemicals and I think is a good idea so good luck with it, lucky, lucky you being able to buy plants from Carolyn, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Frances you have been missed. I am much better although all the gardening this weekend has made my knee sore. The robins have laid their eggs and are staying put on their nest. We cannot get close for a good picture. I love the idea that companion planting was before chemicals. I hope it will prove to be fruitful!

  26. Jen says:

    Wow, you seem to have covered every gardening topic, lol. Just kidding, what a amazing post, I know a little about companion planting, and must study more.

    Right now we are still in the throes of trying to keep it all watered. And maybe some weeding…

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    • Donna says:

      Thx Jen..I am hoping for a bit of rain soon. I need to do so much weeding but that will start this coming weekend even if I can’t kneel…we’ll get the big ones first 🙂

  27. Elaine says:

    This book looks like a good one. I’m amazed at all the new veggie gardeners. Over the last few years more and more people are going back to gardening. Very cool.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Elaine very cool. I even gave away some veg seedlings to a couple of neighbors. And then many to co-workers. I hope some become hooked.

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