?? Companion Planting

    Anybody put any stock in the notion? Anybody know of any actual data?
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Derald
FL USDA zone 9a
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Derald wrote:

what do you mean by companion planting?
i have garlic growing in the middle of the alfalfa/trefoil patch and it looks to be doing just fine.
i don't have a control patch in the same soil nearby so i wouldn't be able to do a direct comparison this season. perhaps i can line something up for next season in some other patches since i am redoing anyways and will have garlic scapes and seeds to plant of the alfalfa and trefoil...
let you know what i come up with... :)
songbird
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Derald wrote:

It depends on what you mean by it. Plants can influence other plants in a variety of ways. The clearest example where there is hard data is I think allelopathy. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allelopathy
Also you could call some forms of intercropping companion planting where different plants share the same area and benefit each other in some way, for example one supports then other or shades the other etc. Rotation could be interpreted this way if you allow the companions to be sequential not simultaneous.
That is not the same as the "rules" that you often see published in tables where X "loves" Y, or W "hates" Z. Such tables often give no reason whatsoever for the supposed effect. This doesn't mean that there is necessarily no effect but in many cases it is unproven. Gardeners over many generations have told each other many tales of what makes plants grow or fail. Some of them are probably true but I wouldn't be rigidly following any of the compatibility tables without corroborating evidence.
D
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I like having basil planted in with the tomatoes. I don't know that they help each other, but picking is easier for me as I often serve them together. I've had marigolds in with the beans a couple of times, doesn't seem to deter the bean beetles at all. Radishes are a good trap crop for other plants that are prone to "flea beetle" attacks and make a decent "nurse" crop for carrots. I think you will find lots of circumstantial evidence for both sides of the question. Steve
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    Yes, I am familiar with the phenomenon, although, it, too is much-bandied about in the popular gardening press with little factual support. The indigenous (N.A.) black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) is notorious for its debilitation of a number of food plants. I've had my own purely anecdotal bad experience with wheat straw as mulch for leafy greens (mustard). You may find this item from my state's regional land-grant university to be of passing interest: <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs186 .

    I intercrop relentlessly wherever practicable with primary consideration to similarities of nutrient and water requirements and with maturation and succession secondary but still important. I have a very tiny raised-bed garden and the good fortune to live in a climate that, with a little planning, allows for year-'round productivity.

    I had not thought of rotation or succession planting in those terms but you make a good point, IMO. I try to follow one crop with a second of complemetary needs but that's not a hard-and-fast rule because of how the gardening season works here. For example, it is possible to follow a spring planting with a late summer planting of a "heavy feeder" and make a second crop before chilly weather takes it out (curcurbits are good examples) and then follow it with something like ("English") peas which will come in around Nov.-Dec. and, with a little care, overwinter most years.

    Which lead to my original post. Found myself unexpectedly having available space in a bed of peppers and aubergine and considering planting round snap beans under them. Contradictory "information", sometimes on the same Web site, about the companionability(?) of beans and peppers prompted my query. Of course, I planted the beans, anyway (19-6, my date), and they're doing well so far.
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Derald
FL USDA zone 9a
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Derald wrote:

without a control test patches in the same soil it is hard to tell. the two small gardens i have growing peas and greens (one leaf lettuces and the other spinach) i don't have enough space to do a control test patch. it looks like the peas are shading the greens and that provides some help on the hot days, but the greens probably do nothing at all for the peas and probably take away some of the moisture that they'd like to do better. we've been enjoying the peas this year so i will probably plant them again a few more times in various places to keep them going.
the garlic i have planted right in the alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil looks to be doing fine, but i have no nearby test comparison plots for them either. once i have some scapes ready i'll be able to set up a test for the next garlic growing season. i have enough space left in the garden i'm redoing now. this will be fun. :) just gotta wait until the scapes are ready...

do half and compare.

will they fry in the heat?
songbird
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My peas shrivel up and die in the July heat, no matter how well tended they are. I'll be planting squash on their trellis in the next few days.
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- Billy

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I plant tall with tall next to each other. When they begin to bear fruit they tend to shade each other from the hot sun. My beds face north and south. One side has tomatoes and the other might be cucumbers both on trellises. When plants are young both sides get lots of sun in the late spring. When the plants are larger the amount sun is reduced, one side gets the sunrise the other gets sunset. At noon both share the sun and both get some shade.
Might work with peas also. But not sure what is hot?
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    This far south (28, N), relative height might be a factor for wintertime gardens but largely is irrelevant for most of the year, as is bed orientation. Five of my beds are N/S; three are E/W, one is "on the bias". I've not detected any light-related differences in yields among the beds. In fairness, a significant portion of my garden space is light-deprived in the winter due to proximity of native trees and, during that season, the advantages of early-morning light are clearly apparent in the E/W beds. I do make an effort to put shade-tolerant veggies in those areas, although, I'm not obsessive about it. My primary consideration when interplanting is given to selecting "companions" of similar nutrient and watering needs with succession a secondary consideration.
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Derald
FL USDA zone 9a
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    If "peas" means "English" garden peas (Pisum sativum), then "same here". Except for the squash: I'd never consider planting squash this late, although, a early autumn planting sometimes does well. Down here (peninsular FL, USDA zone 9a), depending on prevailing daytime temperatures, English peas may be planted from late Sep.or early Oct. through early March. Fall/winter plantings must be protected from freezing when mature, although, young plants don't seem to be particularly cold-sensitive, and they're particularly susceptible to frostbite once they begin to blossom. This year, I optimistically planted as late as March 26. That's the planting which I removed on 6-19 and the yield was not satisfactory. Additionally, quality of the fruit really suffers at higher temperatures. So-called "heat tolerant" varieties exist but none IME is particularly so and have bland flavor; on the whole, unsatisfactory.     In the US South, the generic term "peas" usually refers to some variety of cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata), a form of shelly bean brought to North America from Africa as fodder for livestock and slaves. Although delicious, they in no way resemble classic European or "English" peas and they thrive in the South's hot summer sun and, if picked frequently, have a long productive season. I planted mine a little late this year (5/18) and they are just now laden with immature pods.
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Derald
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    LOL. If I did that, the "study" would be purely academic because there'd be so few planted: My raised beds are tiny -- 3'X8' Besides, one planting or even one season ain't exactly a trend. .

     If you recall, in another thread, I indicated that it was past time to remove a spring planting of "English" peas that had been planted among peppers and eggplant (peas trellised, of course). I went ahead an planted the beans the same day that the peas were removed (6-19). Notice this morning they've begun to peek through the soil so should be fully up by day's end.

    Oh, no. Although, the shade (from the peppers) may be beneficial to the bean seedlings, most beans (including cowpeas -- Vigna unguiculata) thrive in the heat. Down here, at least, if kept watered, the beans are more likely to suffer from incomplete pollination, a side effect, than directly from the heat. However, the peppers, eggplants (aubergine), curcurbits, and thyme do better if shaded from late morning onward. At this lattitude (28N), that lucky old Sun is in-tense. I use the same homebrew hoops to support the shade cloth that supports the wintertime freeze protection.
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Derald
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Derald wrote:

:) always glad to help in the humor department...

sorry, way too many different things going on lately for me to remember from thread to thread what's going on.

ah good deal. i'm hoping most of the beans i just planted will work for shade, cover and nitrogen fixing. if i get any beans from them at all it will be a bonus. since i know the soybeans will come through in some way and the pinto beans can be eaten as a green snap bean i suspect i'm going to have plenty of trouble on my hands. :)

have you ever tried lima beans for mid- summer shading?
songbird
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    I regularly grow "baby" lima beans which are a compact bush variety. As a general rule, my beds are planted quite densely. The available space under the peppers this year is, I suppose you'd say, unplanned if not serendipitous: I planted some "English" garden peas far too late in the season and accompanied by a number of peppers and eggplants. After finally putting those poor peas out of their misery, I found myself with vacant space under long-season heat lovers that are likely to last until October or early November. It remains to be seen whether enough light gets through for the beans to do well or whether they just get leggy and pitiable.
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Derald
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Even eaten as a shell bean, refried beans (pinto beans) taste pretty good, and have a have a GI of 39, and are about 27% carbs (refried beans include onions and cheese, plus other optional ingredients).
<http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl
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- Billy

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