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‘Minnesota Gardening’ Category

  1. Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

    June 6, 2009 by Jocelyn

    Last year my garden neighbor had a beautiful garden with flowers, herbs and veggies all mixed together.  It got me thinking, and this year I’m doing some research on companion planting.

    As it turns out, certain vegetables will do better or worse depending on what plants are growing around it.  It makes sense when you think about it.  Certain plants take more of different nutrients, or even attract or repel pests.

    For instance, basil is a great companion for tomatoes and peppers, as they help improve growth and flavor.  Basil is also known to repel flies and mosquitoes (not particularly beneficial for the plants, but nice for us!)  Another combination that I’m going to try is planting dill and radishes near my cucumbers. Radishes are supposed to repel cucumber beetles, and dill supposedly helps attract “beneficial predators.”  I’m hoping this will work because last year my cukes didn’t fare too well against the pests.

    Here are the charts I used from Tinker’s Gardens:

    Vegetable Companion Planting Chart

    Plant Good Companions Bad Companions
    Basil Pepper, Tomato, Marigold
    Bush Beans Beets, Cabbage, Carrots,
    Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chard, Corn,
    Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leek, Lettuce, Parsnip,
    Pea, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Strawberry,
    Savory, Sunflower, Tansy, Marigold
    Basil, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Onion
    Pole Beans Carrots, Cauliflower,
    Chard, Corn Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce,
    Marigold, Pea, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Savory,
    Strawberry, Tansy
    Basil, Beets, Cabbage, Fennel,
    Kohlrabi, Onion, Radish, Sunflower
    Beets Bush Beans, Cabbage family,
    Lettuce, Lima Bean, Onion, Radish, Sage
    Mustard, Pole Bean
    Cabbage Family Bush Beans, Beets, Carrot,
    Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Lettuce, Mint,
    Nasturtium, Onions, Rosemary, Sage, Spinach,
    Thyme, All Strong Herbs, Marigold, Nasturtium
    Pole Bean, Strawberry, Tomato
    Carrots Beans, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage,
    Chives, Lettuce, Leek, Onion, Peas, Radish,
    Rosemary, Sage, Tomato
    Celery, Dill, Parsnip
    Celery Almost everything except
    —> —> —> —>
    Carrot, Parsley, Parsnip
    Corn All Beans, Beets, Cabbage,
    Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Melons, Parsley, Peas,
    Early Potatoes, Pumpkin, Squash
    Cucumbers Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Cabbage
    family, Corn, Dill, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigold,
    Nasturtium,  Onions, Peas, Radish, Tomato,
    Savory, Sunflower, No Strong Herbs
    Eggplant Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Peas,
    Peppers, Potato, Spinach
    Lettuce Everything, but especially
    Carrots, Garlic, Onion and Radish
    — none —
    Melon Corn, Nasturtium, Radish Potato
    Onion Beets, Cabbage family, Carrots,
    Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Parsnip, Pepper,
    Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Tomato, Turnip,
    Asparagus, Beans, Peas, Sage
    Parsley Tomato — none —
    Peas Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Carrots,
    Celery, Chicory, Corn Cucumber, Eggplant,
    Parsley, Early Potato, Radish, Spinach,
    Strawberry, Sweet pepper, Turnips
    Onion, Late Potato
    Potato Bush bean, Cabbage family,
    Carrot, Corn, Horseradish, Marigold, Onion,
    Parsnip, Peas
    Cucumber, Kohlrabi, Parsnip,
    Pumpkin, Rutabaga, Squash family, Sunflower,
    Turnip, Fennel,
    Radish Beet, Bush Beans, Pole Beans,
    Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Melons, Nasturtium,
    Parsnip, Peas, Spinach, Squash family
    Spinach Celeriac, Celery, Corn, Eggplant,
    Squash Corn, Onion, Radish
    Strawberry Bush Beans, Lettuce, Nasturtium,
    Onion, Radish, Spinach
    Cabbage, Potato
    Tomato Asparagus, Basil, Bean, Cabbage
    family, Carrots, Celery, Chive, Cucumber,
    Garlic, Head lettuce, Marigold, Mint,
    Nasturtium, Onion, Parsley, Pepper, Marigold
    Pole beans, Corn Dill, Fennel,

    Herb Companion Chart

    Herb Companions Bad Companions
    Pests Repelled
    Basil Tomatoes Rue Flies, Mosquitoes
    Borage Tomatoes, Squash, Strawberries Tomato Worm
    Caraway Loosens soil. Dill
    Catnip Eggplant Flea Beetle, Ants
    Chamomile Cabbage, Onion
    Coriander Aphids
    Chervil Radish
    Chives Carrots
    Dead Nettle Potatoes Potato Bug
    Dill Cabbage Caraway Carrots
    Fennel Most plants dislike
    Feverfew Roses attracts aphids away other plants
    Flax Carrots, Potatoes Potato Bug
    Garlic Roses, Raspberries Japanese Beetle, Aphids
    Horseradish Potatoes Potato Bug
    Henbit Insect Repellent
    Hyssop Cabbage, Grapes Radishes Cabbage Moth
    Lavender Southernwood, rosemary, wormwood
    Moths –
    Marigolds Plant everywhere in garden Mexican Bean Beetles, Nematodes,
    Mint Cabbage, Tomatoes Cabbage Moth, aphids, flea beetles
    Nasturtium Radishes, Cabbage, Cucurbits, fruit
    Aphids, Squash Bugs, Striped Pumpkin
    Pennyroyal Roses Flies, Mosquitoes, Fleas, others
    Petunia Beans
    Pot Marigold Tomatoes Tomato Worm, Asparagus Beetles,
    Pyrethrums Dried flower, repels insects
    Rosemary Cabbage, Beans Carrots, Sage Cabbage Moth, Bean Beetle, Carrot Fly
    Rue Roses and Raspberries Sweet Basil Japanese Beetles
    Sage Rosemary, Cabbage, Carrots Cucumbers Cabbage Moth, Carrot Fly, Flea
    Beetle, Slugs
    Southernwood Cabbages Cabbage Moth
    Sow Thistle Tomatoes, Onion, CornPlant sparsely


    Summer Savory Beans Bean Beetles
    Tansy Fruit Trees, Roses, Raspberries Flying Insects, Japanese Beetles,
    Striped Cucumber Beetles, Squash Bugs, Ants, Flies
    Thyme Cabbage Cabbage Worm
    Wormwood Plant as a border to repel animals
    Yarrow Plant near aromatic herbs, enhance
    essential oils.

    *Data courtesy of  The Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

    After a bit of puzzling, here is the chart I devised for my garden.  (click to see the larger version)


    This is my rough draft, and I may end up changing things a bit as I go.  I just put my tomatoes and peppers in the ground on Wednesday, and have also planted some onion sets, lettuce, basil, and bean seeds.  Hopefully our cold weather won’t persist for too long so my plants will finally have good growing conditions!

  2. My First Landscaping Design

    June 3, 2009 by Jocelyn

    I just got done moving into a new house, and wanted to show you what I had done to the gardens in my last house. The landlord was fine with paying for all of my gardening supplies, which is understandable since I was increasing the curb appeal of his home.


    Here is a before (more like middle) photo of the back yard garden. There actually wasn’t even a garden there at all when we moved in. I had our landlord come over and cut the branches of that pine tree up to about 4 feet so I could put in a nice shade garden.  I framed it and added a bunch of dirt and perennials.  I used hostas and a bleeding heart, both of which are shade lovers.


    And here is the after photo of the backyard garden.  Every plant came back this spring, even though I neglected to cover them last fall.  I pulled all the weeds out, added weed liner, and some brown organic mulch.  Viola!  I think they look pretty nice!  It’s just too bad that I won’t be able to live there when they are at their peak.  I guess I’ll just have to be a creeper and drive by to look at them.

    It’s so nice that even the simplest outdoor landscaping projects like these can make such a big difference in the look and feel of your yard.  Putting these gardens in was surprisingly easy, but I think that they really added a lot to the house.

    Now that it’s finally warming up here, I’m on to finishing my containers and my vegetable garden!  I’ll keep everyone updated!

  3. Let the Countdown Begin!

    January 30, 2008 by Jocelyn

    It’s official, there’s only 112 days left until May 21st! What’s the big deal about May 21st? Oh, nothing much, except that it’s the estimated date of the last spring frost in my gardening zone! The weather outside has been more than frightful, with wind chill temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees below zero. I pretty much feel like I’m living in the Arctic Circle right now. But on the bright side, it’s supposed to be a balmy 25 degrees this weekend, and I’m hoping for an early spring.

    I’m very excited because we’ve signed a lease to rent a big house starting on June 1st, and the landlord is going to let me do all the gardening I want! He also said he will pay for any perennials or supplies that I want to buy. I’m going to be drawing up a garden plan within the next few months. I’m going to keep it simple since I’m sure he doesn’t want to be spending hundreds of dollars on my springtime projects.

    As for right now, I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself. I’ve made a list of plants, including fruits and veggies that I want to grow, along with different color combinations to try out. I’m still planning on doing a few containers of annuals, and I’m also thinking of renting a plot at the community garden for my fruits and veggies.

    I checked out the Minnesota Gardener’s Guide: Revised Edition book from the library to help me with my plan. Once I’ve gone through the book, I will have a better idea of what I’m going to do. I’ll keep everyone posted about my ideas!

    Thanks, and happy gardening!

  4. End of Summer Review

    September 28, 2007 by Jocelyn

    I would like to give all of you a summary of everything I’ve learned during my last 4 months of gardening adventures. My containers of annuals are gone by now, and since we’ve been seeing 40-50 degree days for the past few weeks, I am finally convinced that the cold season is here.

    In May, I posted when I got a lot of my plants; all of them made it through the entire summer. After 3 months with these plants, here is what I’ve found:

    Most Impressive Plants

    • Vincas are very hardy, and mine withstood a lot of abuse. During my move, they got left in my car for an entire 90 degree day- and they were fine. This summer was my first time growing them, and I was very pleased with the continuous blooming of their simple flowers.
    • Super Elfin Impatiens are gorgeous; mine really filled out, bloomed profusely, and were always a treat to look at. I will definitely be using these every summer! I was not a fan of Impatiens at the start of the summer, but my opinion of them has since completely turned around!
    • Alyssum is an awesome filler plant! Most of the Alyssum I had this summer was what I started from seed (it was one of the few seed started plants of mine that actually survived). I never pinched them back when they were growing; they got quite large and looked fantastic!

    Most Disappointing Plants

    • Wax Begonias are a shade annual, but mine never filled out or looked very healthy. They kept flowering through the summer, but the leaves frequently turned brown. I was so excited for these plants, and they never did very well.
    • Ageratums are supposed to be low maintenance annuals, but only half of mine survived the summer. I really have no idea what happened to them, but some of them were continuously turning brown and crispy. It may have been an issue with the soil mixture having too much manure in that specific container.

    Tips I’ve Learned Over the Summer

    • Do your homework before investing in a new plant. It sucks if you buy a great new plant, and proceed to kill it within 2 weeks.
    • Pay attention to the weather reports. This is especially important in cold climate areas like Minnesota. Springtime freezes are very spotty, and even when you think it has warmed up, there is no guarantee.
    • Be patient. Give your plants time and good care, and you will be rewarded!
    • Don’t be afraid to admit defeat! Learn to know when you need help. I use the UBC Botanical Garden Forum or the GardenWeb Forums when I have questions. These are large online communities, and you will get a fast response!

    Let Me Know!

    This is a short summary of my Minnesota summer gardening experience, and I will be posting pictures of my annuals sometime next week. I’d love to hear any comments or questions from all of you!

    How did your annuals perform this summer? Let me know what worked (or didn’t) for you!

    Until next time, Happy Gardening!

  5. Life is Good.

    June 3, 2007 by Jocelyn

    I am tired, smelly, and bug bitten- and I couldn’t be happier! Even though this weekend was a complete washout, my mom and I still managed to seek refuge under the deck to get all of our planting done. We completely underestimated the number of plants that we had, so each of us ended up with about 5 more containers than we originally planned on (which is fine with me).  We went to the greenhouse on Saturday and Sunday, just because we didn’t get enough dirt to plant everything in.  I have a lot of beautiful containers on my patio now, and it looks wonderful!

    I also took a lot of pictures this weekend that I will post later, and I have a new plant of the week coming up for you guys in the next few days!  Keep in touch, I’ll be posting again soon!