Companion Planting is a theory that placing certain plants near each other will provide benefits to one another by attracting insect allies or repelling pests and, in some cases, enhancing the growth and flavor of one another. By creating a little eco-system within your garden space where your veggies, herbs, flowers, and fruits can benefit each other simply by their proximity to one another.
I’ve planned our garden around this premise. I’ve planted basil with my tomatoes to growth and flavor. Tomatoes and basil also does well with peppers so I’ve planted my peppers next to and alongside them. Carrots and tomatoes are good together but tomatoes will stunt the growth of carrots so I’ve placed them away from each other. Carrots and celery go well together in a salad but not so well in the garden so I’ve also separated them. Cucumbers do well with peas, so I put them next to each other. Garlic does well near cucumbers, peas, lettuce and celery; but, I’ve planted them closer to my zucchini because the bulbs release a chemical that repels beetles and root maggots which is something we had a problem with last year. Lettuce and radishes are pretty much friendly with everyone. I've interspersed marigolds throughout the garden because they discourage many types of pests. In fact, I had them planted around my tomatoes last year and I recall a bare minimum of damage pests. Purslane grows naturally where we have our garden and it’s a good friend to the garden. It creates an edible ground cover that helps retain moisture in the soil.
We spent the better part of a day working on the garden. After shopping for the plants that I had not started from seed we headed to the garden. Poor hubby was sick and not at all happy about being forced into labor. I needed his help but didn't expect the level of effort he exerted. He really is awesome and I'm thankful for his fortitude. My son "helped" us . . . sort of; we managed to wrench some work out of him.
It was hard work on a hot day, but it will be so worth the effort. We weeded and raked before laying out the tomato cage placement. Once that was done, I planted the tomatoes, peppers and so on and so forth according to the plan above.
Hubby laid out heavy plastic bags and topped them with wood chips in between certain plantings for easier access and for the added benefit of weed reduction. Between myself, my son and hubby . . . mostly hubby . . . we humped bucket load after bucket load of wood chips.
I did all the planting and most of the weeding . . . there were lots of weeds and I know I'll be spending much time keeping them from taking over the garden.
After everything was planted the whole garden got a good watering making sure that the soil was nice and soaked.
We got home almost in time for bed . . . showers, dinner and cool beverages all around before crashing.