You can see from the picture on the right that using this method creates a very non-traditional vegetable garden. But look how beautiful it is.
Take the Three Sisters method, this is where you plant corn, beans, and squash together. The beans not only crawl up the corn for support, but they also supply nitrogen into the ground for the corn to thrive. The squash also places an important role as its big leaves prevent weeds from growing. However, this is only one example of how of plants help one another.
Let's take a look at the Marigolds, these are great to plant around the border of your vegetable garden. Not only do they attract bees which is vital for pollination, but also deter other pests from the garden. However, it is not with out fault as some pests are attracted to the Marigold, and will devour it, but better the Marigold than your herbs, and vegetables.
Some insects are welcome in the garden and help to avoid others that could destroy garden. Take the lady bug for instance, they can consume up to 50-60 aphids per day. To attract lady bugs to your garden plant yarrow, cilantro, dill, or flowers such as scented geraniums or dandelions.
Planting herbs near vegetables can enhance the flavor like peppermint enhances the flavor of cabbage, kale, broccoli, and kholrabi. Basil is great to plant near tomatoes, not only does it enhance the flavor, but also deters the horn worm, and other pests. Also plant basil near sweet and hot peppers to enhance the flavor.
Many plants are great to grow just for the benefits they give to the soil in your garden like the beans. Borage is an excellent source of calcium, use the leaves as mulch around your zucchini, it also attracts bees. Some plants should be planted before planting your herbs, and vegetables like alfalfa. Alfalfa is said to be the farmer's plant of choice for natural pest control, but it also is high in nitrogen, and other minerals that benefit the soil.Alfalfa, oats, wheat and others should be planted before and after the growing season than incorporated into the soil.
As you can see there are a variety of ways to garden naturally, yes it takes planning, but it is worth it to get healthy vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. If you look at the top of the page you will see I added a new tab for organic gardening links. I will continue to add as I continue on my new adventure of companion planting.
Do you use companion planting in your garden?