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.
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.
- Wild Plants
- Grasses, Grains and Field Crops
- First Steps for Home Fruit Growing
- Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
- Garden techniques
- Soil Improvement
- Pest Control
- Poisonous Plants
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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