Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Magical Marigolds

Marigolds have a special place in the garden. Many gardeners swear by planting them with tomatoes to keep away aphids, tomato worms, and other pests. My neighbor claims that they also keep rabbits away, which is wonderful if true, for we have a very large bunny population around here! If you do a google search, you will find mixed opinions on if this pairing actually does anything beneficial. However enough people who've been gardening for years swear by it, and I feel it's worth a shot. In the Little Hands Garden, we planted marigolds along with our transplants back in May. The bugs may find the marigolds stinky, but Brady enoys their scent:

By the way...take a look at those tomato plants, just under two months ago. And then, take a look at them now!

Wow!!! We all forget how much growing has been going on until we look at some older pictures.

So far, we haven't seemed to have issues with pests on the tomatoes, and I'd like to think that the marigolds have something to do with it. There are so many tricks of the trade to be learned when it comes to gardening organically, and of course, marigolds shouldn't be counted on exclusively. But what a simple trick! And they are pretty!

On the other side of the garden, we have peppers growing (green, jalepeno, and habenero...yes, a few of these kids actually LOVE hot stuff, but I will admit, those habeneros may be for the grownups only . When we first tranplanted all the peppers, we noticed within a week that something had started feasting on them. We did not like the sight of munched-up leaves!!!

We thought about trying an all-natural recipe to resist bugs, and soon we will be making a batch of the spray and sharing the recipe with you. However, at the time I suggested maybe we could just try putting some marigolds by the peppers. Why not? And you know what? The newly planted flowers seemed to deter whatever little creature had set up camp. Within another couple weeks, the munching had ceased, and the peppers thrived.

By now, the peppers are even bigger, and seem to be doing well.

There is a wealth of collected knowledge about companion planting, or making neighbors out of different plants that benefit each other. You could spend hours reading different gardening sites (I have) and different books (yep, I've read a few of those too) and gain countless ideas. Wikipedia has a good chart to get you started. Chart of companion plants

It's also important to realize that some plants do NOT do well together at all. For instance, my magical marigolds? I have read they are not good for cabbages or beans at all.

It's also believed that companion planting can enhance the flavors of your fruits and vegetables.This link explains the idea briefly.

We will be experimenting with more companion planting each year as our garden expands, and as our knowledge expands!

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