Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Permaculture and Plant Pairing

Let’s talk more about ignoring the spacing guides on those seed packets and making use of all the space available.  I know old habits die hard, but think about the rest of nature…sections of the land that we have not tamed and manipulated.  When is the last time you’ve taken a walk in the woods or looked at pictures of rain forests?  Think of the mosses and wild flowers scattered below your feet.  Does everything grow in neat little rows with big spaces of nothing in between?  Does your garden want to grow that way, or is a constant battle to clear those big empty spaces between the rows of unwanted weeds?  Embrace permaculture and take advantage of this principle. 
While we’re waiting for those late summer tomatoes, we can be clipping spring greens from amongst the base of the slower maturing tomato plants.  There is really only one basic guideline that needs to be heeded for this type of growing if we’re to have success growing the majority of the produce we consume on a very small plot of land.  Vegetables from the same family of plants ought to be sown in separate areas of the garden.  Why? Because they rely on the same nutrients for growth and production, thus dwarfing growth and production if they’re relying on the same patch of soil.  Also, plants from the same family attract the same pests.  For example, aphids love both broccoli and cabbage.    Now, there are better and best plants to pair together outside of the “different family” guideline, so for your best bet at high production on little space, do some reading about what plants to squeeze in together before planting.  Another helpful tip for organic, permaculture gardening is to learn what plants repel certain pests.  Many of the edible flowers are known for beautifully deterring pests. 

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