Weatherford Democrat


November 23, 2007

Gardening is the purest of human pleasures

Jo Anne Boudreau, Democrat Columnist

Putting plants together that enhance the growth of one another is called Companion Planting. In nature, there are dry land plants, wet land plants, shade loving plants and sun lovers. As the song goes; roses love sunshine, violets love dew .... angels in heaven know I love you ...

There are ground covers, mid-range plants, accent plants and the canopy of plants. This wide diversity of plants help ward off pests and diseases, enhance fragrance and flavor while increasing yields by supporting one another. Some plants protect their neighbors from insect pests. Most of these emit a scent that pests avoid. Lavender, rosemary, sage, epazote and artemisias such as wormwood, estafeate and powis castle protect other plants from insects, birds and animals. Plant chives, leeks, garlic or onions around tender cool weather plants of lettuce, peas, parsley and cilantro. Another kind of pest control plant acts as a “trap crop.” A row of fennel alongside the tomato patch will keep worms off the tomatoes as will shrubs of rue on corners of the patch. Plant horehound on each corner of the tomato patch to protect and prolong their yield. Lantana and nasturtiums trap aphids that damage roses and other tender plants.

Legumes (plants of the pea family and this includes mesquite trees) fix nitrogen in the soil and store nitrogen in their roots. This is why we want to leave the roots buried and just cut off the plants when they are finished producing. Nearby plants can continue to use the nitrogen. Yarrow growing in and around the garden is like giving your garden a big shot of vitamins. It is loaded with potassium that plants need to thrive. Make yourself a cup of yarrow tea to drink at bedtime and you’ll get a peaceful nights rest because yarrow will keep your blood sugar and blood pressure stable while you’re in deep sleep and you’ll wake up with plenty of energy to take on the day.

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