Better companion planting (nothing to do with your Significant Other) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I grew some pretty bronze fennel from seed, thinking it would provide an attractive background for lemon and blue flowers. Unfortunately, the flowers didn't do at all well, very stunted, some died. Then I read recently that not much likes to be planted near fennel. I already know that nothing will grow under the bird feeder where the sunflower seed hulls fall and that the ground is barren under a black walnut tree. The posh name for growing inharmonious plants near each other is allelopathy.

Summarized from April 1981 Organic Gardening:

Decomposing residues of last season's broccoli, broad beans and wheat will damage lettuce and spinach, so watch composting techniques; drippings from pine trees is harmful to plants underneath (tannins from needles). [Wonder if pine needle mulches cause problems???] Strawberries seem unaffected by pine tannins. Old orchards are difficult to replant because of toxins emitted by apple, peach, cherry, plum and apricot. Even seedlings of same species can't survive.

Use sunflowers in weedy patches to control weeds, but don't plant close to pole beans or potatoes. Eucalyptus trees inhibit cucumbers; chrysanthemums inhibit lettuce, apple trees inhibit potatoes.

End of typing job.

I wonder if any more research has been done and other antipathetic plants have been discovered? If something you planted didn't do at all well, plant it in a different place [with different plants around it] and see if there's an improvement.

-- Old Git (, April 17, 1999


Old Git...there is a book published in the early 70s called COMPANION PLANTING. It is wonderful. Unfortunately I the move to Fl, I lost some books and that was among them. Am currently looking for a copy. There are several other books out on the same subject, but I liked that one best. In Tasmania, pine plantations have been outlawed as they spoil the ground and destroy the forage for the animals.

-- Taz (, April 17, 1999.

Hey Git, You asked, [Wonder if pine needle mulches cause problems???].

I have been using pine needles as a mulch for over 20 years on my garden and around my shrubs and in many of my flower beds. I'm the only guy in the neighborhood that doesn't have the city haul them away in numerous black garbage bags. My oldest daughter said she was embarrased by me as I was the only person she knew of that "begged for other peoples' pine straw". They do seem to raise the acidity of the soil a little, but not much. Most of my shrubs like a rather acid soil, so this isn't a problem. My garden receives the lion's share of the pine straw since I mulch it with about 10-14" of pine straw and allow it to remain all winter and into the spring. Much of it is decomposed by then, but what hasn't decomposed (the top layer) is raked off and reused. Before tilling the rest into the soil, I use the lawn mower set at it's lowest setting to chop really fine what wasn't raked.

Pine straw does a great job of controlling weeds and grasses except for some trumpet vines and nut grass. A sprig of bermuda grass will occasionally make it through. The nut grass is fairly easy to pull up (nut and all) through the straw. The nut is usually within the mass of straw itself. The soil is kept cool and the moisture is greatly conserved. I test the soil for acidity every year and add only a little ash from the fireplace to keep it down.

The pine straw does not decompose nearly as fast as grass clippings (which I usually feed to the chickens anyway) and makes for a neat and tidy appearance. No howing is necessary and my feet don't get mud on them when going into the garden after a rain.


-- Gerald R. Cox (, April 17, 1999.

Old Git, I learned the hard way that you shouldn't plant tomatoes and bell peppers next to each other, according to one of my organic gardening books.

And I get a lot of good information out of Helen and Scott Nearing's books, "The Good Life" and "Continuing the Good Life." One of the most helpful hints was on storing apples for winter. I tried it and it worked great. Store apples in dry leaves from oak tress, or other large trees and they will keep in a basement or cellar through the winter. I tried it and much prefer dry, clean leaves than other storage packing I've used.

-- gilda jessie (, April 17, 1999.

for companion planting

-- duffyo (, April 17, 1999.

I have a book on companion planting called "Carrots Love Tomatoes", twentieth printing 1985, copyright by Storey Communications,Inc.,1975. It's written in a dictionary type format; look up the plant you want and it will tell you what to grow with it and what to avoid growing with it. It also has information on biological insect control. Having not previously been a gardener, I don't know how good it is, but I do know that some of what I've read in it has been confirmed by other sources. ISBN : 0-88266-064-0

-- Tricia the Canuck (, April 17, 1999.

Carrots Love Tomatoes is in print -- see

Carrots Love Tomatoes : Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Paperback - 224 pages 2nd edition (March 1998) Storey Books; ISBN: 1580170277

-- Tom Carey (, April 17, 1999.

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