May 6, 2014

How To Garden: Companion Planting & Pollinators

Welcome back to our Gardening Like Grandma series. Yesterday we covered Soil and Style of Garden. This week we’re looking at how to start and maintain a successful garden. When done properly from the ground up, gardening doesn’t take much extra time out of your schedule. Plus, it puts fresh food on your table year-round, saves you money, and nourishes your body with real food!

And my favorite reason to garden is found in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” Being a responsible steward of God’s creation honors Him. 

SEvilsizer Vintage Week

Today we’re talking about two of the coolest aspects of gardening: Companion Plants and Pollinators. Let’s jump in!

What is Companion Planting (CP)? CP is planting a diverse mix of plants in close proximity to each other that are beneficial to one another and ‘get along.’ Plants actually have friends and foes. Planting two ‘foes’ next to each other can cause one or both of them to wither and even die. Amazing, huh? How?

11aa Nasturtium lure aphids away from tomatoes

You may have heard of the “Three Sisters” as the most famous CP: corn, beans, and squash are planted together on a small soil mound. Why plant these crops next to each other? Great question!

~ The beans use the tall corn as a trellis.
~ Squash is a dense ground cover which deters weeds from growing, soaking up nutrition that the beans/corn needs.
~ Beans provide their own nitrogen so the corn isn’t depleted.  

a2 A bed of Marigold, Carrots, Basil, Onions and Strawberries.
The basil and marigolds are 2-3 feet tall!

What are the benefits of CP? 

  • Growth Aid: Short plants deter weeds from growing that could harm tall plants. Tall plants offer shade and support to shorter plants.
  • Natural Pest Deterrents: Pests will often find our veggies (a.k.a. their dinner) by smell. Potent smelling flowers and herbs repel insects, and even some animals, by confusing them. They aren’t sure which plant to eat!
  • Natural Pest/Insect Attractors: Some CPs attract harmful pests to themselves and away from veggies.
    ~Other CPs attract beneficial insects (like spiders, praying mantis, and ladybugs) that eat harmful pests.
  • Space Savers: Interspersing fast growing, tall plants in with shorter, viney plants gives you the freedom to triple or quadruple the amount of crops you harvest. Some will grow up, while others grow out.
  • Avoid Monoculture: Having one crop in an area is like hosting a buffet for pests, but several rows of plants of different colors, aromas, and times they ripen doesn’t give pests who like one particular type of veggie much to munch on.

What are common CPs?

That’s a great question. One day I may come up with my own list, but honestly, there are so many great ones already out there that it’d be crazy right now to reinvent the wheel. Below is a very useful chart that has proven successful for us. However, if you don’t see a plant on here that you want to grow then a quick internet search should provide you with its ‘friends’ and ‘foes.’

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 9.22.01 PM

Pollinators and Pollenizers:

Odds are you’ve heard of pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. But did you know YOU can be a pollinator too? How? Easy!

That old saying about the birds and the bees is spot on. Pollinators move pollen from the male anthers of the flower to the female stigma of the flower to accomplish fertilization. There’s a whole lot of other scientific facts we won’t get in to, but needless to say, many veggies and fruits have female/male parts and the female flowers need the male’s pollen in order for it’s fruit to mature.

12 A bumblebee pollinating a female flower on a squash plant

Bees and butterflies, birds and bats are all wonderful pollinators. They collect the nectar from the flowering part of the plant, and while doing so, get pollen on their bodies. Flitting from flower to flower, these pollinators take pollen from male flowers and deposit it on the female flower, hopefully causing fertilization.

Sadly, natural pollinators, especially bees, are on a rapid decline. And if you live in a neighborhood, they’re even less likely to be buzzing around your garden. Did you know that bees perform 80% of all pollination? Without bees, the fresh fruits and veggies we eat would cease to grow. “Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees.” {source}

67810_10151535079728391_1191444726_n A butterfly enjoying a butterfly bush

You have two options if natural pollinators are low:
1. YOU be the pollinator! This is an easy, yet tedious task. Research your plant to find out which flower is the male and which is the female. Open the male flower and either pull out the inside or swab it with a cotton swab or paint brush (the point is to collect pollen). Very gently open the female flower and lightly swab the male flower parts, paint brush, or cotton swab around the inside of the female flower.

13

2. Plant flowers that attract natural pollinators. We have sunflowers, several butterfly bushes, plenty of bulbs (lilies/irises), and a whole lot of other flowers spaced strategically to invite pollinators. We placed flowers in a diamond pattern around our yard to direct natural pollinators flight over our veggies. When our yard was just grass, we saw a few bees here and there, and never any butterflies. Now that our backyard is a garden, the bee, bird, and butterfly populations are much improved.

One reader wrote that her husband doesn’t like to spend money on flowers, especially annuals, and asked my thoughts on that. I totally agree. My husband and I are very frugal and don’t like to spend money on needless things. However, in the case of companion plants and pollinators, we do buy annuals and perennials. Particularly when they double up as edibles, such as sunflowers, nasturtiums, chives & basil (once they go to flower). Click here to read about more edible flowers and how to use them in cooking. {p.s. not all flowers are edible, so please do research before taste-testing!}

Also, a great idea is to swap bulbs and flowering bush clippings with others. Last year we were walking around our neighborhood and stopped to check out an older woman’s flower garden. She popped out of her house to say hello and it turns out she was looking to thin out her flowers. Guess who became the delighted recipient of what had to be 100 or more bulbs?! (that’d be me) Also, our black eyed Susan & lemon balm are both gifts from a friend re-landscaping her yard. Ask around for who has what to give … and share what you have!

999663_10151500779643391_2087441961_n

Back to pollination: between the two options above, I would recommend inviting natural pollinators in to your yard. You’ll have beautiful flowers (many which can be edible if you plan for it) and a lot less work! One of my favorite rules of thumb: let the garden work for you, not the other way around! With proper and wise planning, you can limit much of the excess grunt work that deters many from gardening.

What If I’m Afraid of or Allergic to Bees? That’s a very valid question. I once raked under a row of azalea bushes and uncovered more than old leaves. A large underground nest of bees swarmed and liberally stung me. More than 30 times. Ouch! But I want to reassure you that neither Josh nor I have been stung in our yard. We haven’t even been chased by a bee. In fact, we often work side-by-side with our pollinators. Sure, they get a little flustered when we have to shake up their feeding time by picking veggies next to flowers, but they always go straight back to their flowers … not us!

However, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeves, pants, and a hat, and have an EpiPen or other form of allergy medicine with you. And while I know swatting at bees or running from them can be a knee-jerk reaction, that tends to aggravate bees. Stay calm. Remember, we’re working in tandem with them! Give them their space and they’ll give you yours. (side note: this should go without saying, but if you find a nest that is in a place where you, your kids, or pets frequent, it might be best to have it re-located).

One last note: many bees aren’t active during early morning or after dusk. Observe your yard for flight times and patterns of your bees and if you can, work around the times they are least active.

15 Bees and the most beautiful birds covered our sunflowers .
If you have space, these are some of the easiest and most prolific pollinating flowers.

Last, but Not Least: Pollenizers:

I had a blueberry bush last year that budded with fruit, but the small, hard, bitter balls weren’t edible. Lesson learned: fruit trees and bushes come in two types- self-fruitful and cross-pollinated. If you are growing fruit, you’ll need to take into account their special pollination needs.

1. Self-Fruitful trees/bushes only need pollen from the same kind of tree/bush as it is. This means you don’t necessarily need a different variety for your fruit to set.

2. Cross-Pollinated trees/bushes need pollen from a different variety of the same type of tree for it’s fruit to set. For instance, we have three different varieties of blueberry bushes planted near each other so their pollen can mix it up!

What needs Cross-Pollination? Apple, Pear, Blueberry, Japanese Plums, sweet Cherries.

Other fruit trees/bushes can benefit from cross-pollination, but it’s not necessary. Before buying a tree/bush, research the pollination needs of the specific variety you are choosing.
That’s all for now folks!
Tune in tomorrow for Pest and Animal Control. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

xoxo,
Sam

Comments

  1. I like looking through an article that can make people think.

    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

  2. May I simply just say what a comfort to find somebody who
    really knows what they’re talking about on the net.
    You definitely realize how to bring a problem
    to light and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out
    and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you most certainly have the
    gift.

  3. wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the opposite
    specialists of this sector do not understand this. You should
    proceed your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  4. Can yoս tell us more about this? I’d love tο find
    oսt more details.

  5. You should be a part of a contest for one of the
    greatest blogs online. I will recommend this site!

  6. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering
    troubles with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot subscrie to
    it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindy respond?
    Thanks!!

  7. Excellent article. Keep posting such kind of informaation on your site.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You have performed a great job. I will definitely digg it and individually suggest to my friends.
    I am confident they’ll be benefited from his site.

  8. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  9. We’re а bunch оf volunteers andd opening a brand neա
    scheme in oour community. Үour site provided us wigh valuable info tօ wߋrk on. You’ve
    done а formidable activity аnd our entire neighborhood
    shall be thankful tо you.

  10. Picking a serif font, such as Times New Roman or Baskerville gives a traditional
    feel to the business card and looks nice with more traditional designs.

    Louis personal injury lawyer serves to be of great help for the families
    of the injured as it gives them a bit relief from their financial crisis while the victim is
    jobless. To find an attorney that specializes in personal injury and family law it is important that
    you are willing to do a bit of research about him or her.

  11. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog
    that’s equally educative and interesting, and
    let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough
    men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found this in my search for
    something concerning this.

  12. Great blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to
    start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any ideas? Thank you!

  13. This information is priceless. How can I
    find out more?

  14. Hi there very cool web site!! Guy .. Beautiful ..
    Superb .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feedds also?
    I’m happy to search out so many helpful info here within the submit, we need develop
    extra techniques onn this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

  15. Bon bah j’en ρarlerai sur un site web

  16. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation?
    My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it
    appears a lot of it is popping it up all over
    the web without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from
    being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  17. Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your web site rather a lot up
    very fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I am getting
    your associate hyperlink on your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly
    as yours lol

  18. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people
    I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have
    the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this page.

  19. Smoking is a physical habit, not just a drug habit.
    E-cigarette requests modifying the mouthpiece and the atomising chamber at regular intervals.
    V2 Cigs, Ever – Smoke Cigarette, Smoke – Stik Electronic Cigarette and many other brands are famous in this regard.

  20. Theswe are genuinely impressive ideas in about blogging. You havee touched some pleasant factors here.
    Any way keep up wrinting.

  21. Thanks for another informative web site. The place else could
    I get that kind of info written in such a perfect means?
    I’ve a venture that I’m simply now operating
    on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  22. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before
    but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and
    checking back frequently!

  23. No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, thus
    he/she wishes to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained
    over here.

  24. To make your own Aluminum air battery you’ll need the following all to easy to obtain products; aluminum foil, activated grilling
    with charcoal, salt, mineral water, a dish, paper large towel, two show leads and
    a DC generator You can get guide even through your college’s
    education and learning professor The fact is, VA plus FHA software programs are mortgage loan guarantee
    programs that help defend lenders having insurance in the event the lender
    defaults She must be a United kingdom citizen and ought to have a domestic address in UK Poor credit holders that are fitted with
    problems just like delays, missed payments, personal bankruptcy, arrears
    and many others can easily submit an application for it and might make a great deal of
    benefits Rather than getting $1000 during payday,
    the full amount goes to the lenders The loan agreement using this technology is called the textual content payday loans All these ratios allows an idea in regards to the expected effectiveness of the company
    as per different health boundaries, and also usually means the scope to which this
    firm harnesses debt funding against collateral financing Their attributes and
    adaptations are depending on their improve manufacturing strategies
    and capabilities The bottom line is, while filing bankruptcy needs to be a last
    resort, it can be incredibly liberating to be freed
    from the actual emotional damage of debilitating
    debt A comprehensive asset research also provides any liabilities linked to
    the subject, just like, other cases, bankruptcies, state and federal tax liens along with uniform business code
    filings The item became each and every difficult for
    people to arrange various things for commemorating Christmas for their monthly salary
    is all becoming invested in achieving various working day to expenses With few ommissions they
    all perceived to have a profound seated distain to get
    working people along with thought less of the poor If you’ve
    marketed your home so next type of catastrophe, chances are the actual
    proceeds will be free of capital increases taxes; Lots of internet sites feature these types of advertising programs and many possess signed
    on to reap the advantages Also, calling the army police is a thing that can be claimed back to
    the supervisor You can even believe that you’re in penitentiary, and
    as you must know well, that’s not freedom There are so many different property
    finance loan types subject to rates along with repayment intervals However, this person coming back
    home may be very not the same as that romantic, sensitive, sort person who
    quit only a few shorter months or years in the past 75 text loans is one the particular
    those types of financial loans which is particularly designed to offer people lbs in their banking account quickly
    to battle against several financial odds consolidation need to be
    the to begin with risk fairly than the usual previous location

  25. Your writing talent is really appreciated!! Many thanks.
    You saved me a lot of frustration. Amazing post!

  26. Howdy, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll without a doubt
    digg it and for my part suggest to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefiting from this site.

  27. My family members alll the timne say that I am asting mmy time
    here at net, except I know I am getting familiarity all the time by reading thes pleasant posts.

  28. Great day! This post could not be written any better! Reading
    this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting regarding this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Certainly he’ll have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  29. If some one wishes expert view regarding blogging and site-building afterward i advise him/her to go to see this website, Keep up the good work.

  30. There’s definately a lot to find out about this subject.

    I like all the points you’ve made.

  31. I’m actually loving the design and layout of your site. It’s easy on the eyes which makes it much more
    pleasant for me to come here and visit more regularly.
    Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Exceptional
    work!

  32. I read this post completely about the difference of most recent and preceding technologies,
    it’s awesome article.

  33. You’re so interesting! I don’t believe I’ve read a
    single thing like this before. So good to discover somebody with some genuine thoughts on this subject matter.
    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up.
    This website is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone
    with a little originality!

  34. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search
    Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very
    good gains. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

  35. Link exchange is nothing else except it is simply placing
    the other person’s blog link on your page at proper place and other person will also do
    similar for you.

  36. Hello I am so thrilled I found your web site, I
    really found you by error, while I was browsing
    on Askjeeve for something else, Nonetheless I am here now
    and would just like to say thanks a lot for a incredible post and a all round exciting blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked
    it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to
    read a great deal more, Please do keep up the awesome b.

  37. Yes! Finally someone writes about vip.

  38. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching
    for father

  39. Great info. Lucky me I foսnd your website byy chanhce (stumbleupon).
    І’ve bookmarked it fοr lateг!

Trackbacks

  1. pest control specialists

    How To Garden: Companion Planting & Pollinators | Fields of Gold

  2. best PA roofing contractors

    How To Garden: Companion Planting & Pollinators | Fields of Gold

  3. best Germantown OWI lawyer

    How To Garden: Companion Planting & Pollinators | Fields of Gold

  4. learn about says:

    learn about

    How To Garden: Companion Planting & Pollinators | Fields of Gold

Speak Your Mind

*