August 29, 2013

Planting a Garden for Maximum Efficiency

In order to maximize your garden's efficiency, make sure you are companion pairing your plants. Don’t know what companion pairing is or how it works? No problem -- keep reading to find out.

Companion Pairing – So, for starters, what is companion pairing? Companion pairing is the act of planting individuals of the same or different species, depending on their relative needs, in groups. Now, at first, this may seem simple, like planting shade plants in the same location; however, this isn't really what we’re getting at. Companion pairing is all about placing individuals together so that they will reap benefits from their neighbors. Figuring out which species should be planted together and which should not is the hard part, as some will reap benefits and others could suffer potential harm if placed too close to their neighbors.

The Benefits of Pairing – So, what are these special benefits that neighboring plants reap from each other? Well, for example, if you have plants that require natural pollination for survival or to bear fruit, plant them near African Blue Basil. African Blue Basil attracts bees, which will help pollinate your other nearby plants. Here’s another example: For sensitive plants that are prone to catch diseases and fungi, make sure you surround them with species that are disease resistant. That way, you don’t have to worry about diseases spreading easily to your weaker plants. For individuals that need plenty of shade, why not plant them next to larger plants like corn and tomatoes? And for those plants that require a generous amount of watering, group them together; that way, they’ll all get a generous amount when you turn on a localized sprinkler system.

Companion pairing is all about making your garden work for and not against you. If you know what species are going to benefit from each other, plant them in groups; this way, you won’t have to worry about an individual getting too much sun or a plant being exposed to diseases. Plant smarter -- not harder. 


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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