– All right, Tonya, let’s
talk a little bit about companion planting, and
I get a lot of questions about companion planting,
so first of all, what is it? – Companion planting simply
means that you’re planting two different crops
near each other, and you’re trying to
influence pest pressure, maybe reduce insects,
or get better yields, better tasting fruit,
something like that. – Okay. Now can you give us some
examples, because that’s what folks wanna know,
some good examples. – Well, companion planting,
the most famous example, is from Native American history. Many, many years ago the
Native Americans figured out that they could grow vegetables
in a companion planting setting and get good results. They called it
the three sisters. So they would grow corn,
beans, and squash together. The corn would provide support
for the beans to climb, and the squash at the
bottom of the plant would provide shade and weed
suppression for the plants, and would help with
moisture loss prevention. And then the prickles on the
squash would keep the raccoons out of the corn, and also,
because those beans fix atmospheric nitrogen, it
provided a nitrogen source for the corn, and
corn’s a heavy feeder, so they really had
this thing figured out. – Yeah, I tell folks that
all the time, I mean, they really figured that
thing out, and Walter, you talked about that, the
three sisters, a time or two, I’ve heard. – Yes, yes, during the Master
Gardener I talk about that. – Good deal. So how can a home gardener
know which combinations to try, because of course they’re
gonna wanna try this one. – Right. Well, unfortunately, if you
just simply go on the internet and type in companion planting,
you’re gonna get a whole bunch of information, and
maybe some of it’s not right, actually, a lot of
it may not be right. There were a lot of lists
circulated through the 1960s and ’70s, and it’s like, this
plant likes this other plant, and dislikes this plant. And if you see a list like that, most of it has been
debunked by research, in the last couple,
three decades. So those aren’t reliable,
but there have been a few combinations that have kind
of withstood the scrutiny of the research. So one of those is
basil and tomatoes. Now, basil and tomatoes taste
great together on the plate, and they also are really
good to plant together in the garden. For some reason, basil,
when planted with tomato, will give you better yield
in your tomato plants, and you could also get
better tasting fruit. And the basil will keep
away thrips and help control the hornworms. Another one you can try,
same kind of concept as the three sisters, is
planting your potatoes with your beans or peas. Because potatoes like a lot
of nitrogen, and the beans and peas fix the nitrogen
and put it back into the soil for the potatoes. And then also onions,
the aroma of the onions kinda can keep away
some insects, and so, one of those is
onions and carrots. If you put onions
and carrots together, the onion can kinda keep
away the carrot fly. – (Chris)
I’ve heard that one. You heard some of those
before too, Walter? – Yeah, I’ve heard
of some of those, but that’s a new one on me,
the carrot fly with the onions and carrots, that’s a new one. – That’s good stuff. But this is one we always
hear about, though. What about planting
those marigolds? What about them? – Yes. That’s probably the most common
one that people will try. Marigolds can get rid of
nematodes, soil nematodes, in your garden, however, if
you really have a nematode problem that you’re trying
to use marigolds to control, it’s better to plant
your marigolds a season or two before, so that they can have time
to get rid of the nematodes. So you get the best
results not with a true companion planting. If you plant ’em at the same
time as the rest of the crops in your garden, you’re not
gonna get as good a control. So it’s not a true companion
plant to get the best results. Now if you wanna try that,
there’s some cultivars that work better for that,
like Nemagold, Golden Guardian, things that have Nema in
the titles (laughing). – That gives you an
idea of what it controls. – Marigolds, yeah,
that’ll take care of the nematode problems. And you know, there’s been
a study with marigolds thinking that they could
ward off some insect pests. – I was gonna ask
you about that, okay. – Yeah, so some researchers
planted green beans, some next to marigolds, and
some not next to marigolds, to see if they could control
the Mexican Bean Beetle. As it turns out, the
beans near the marigolds had fewer bean beetles, but, they also produced
fewer green beans, because the marigolds can
exude a chemical to inhibit the growth of other
plants near them. It’s kind of like an
allelopathic situation. Marigolds can try to reduce
competition by stunting other plants’ growth and that’s
what it did with the beans. So you kinda have to
be careful, you know, when you’re gonna use marigolds. So yes, it did control
the beetle, but, you didn’t get the
result that you wanted. – Ooh Tonya that’s good. I did not know that. So, but you need to plant
the marigolds, again, what a couple of seasons before? – Before, before, to get
the nematode controlled, to really get the
nematodes out of there. – How ’bout that. ‘Cause folks are runnin’
out now to the stores, nurseries, big box stores,
to plant the marigolds, thinking that, “If I
plant ’em this season, “it’ll get rid of all the
bugs for this season.” – But maybe not. – But maybe not. – Well they’ll be in good
shape two years from now. – That’s good stuff, okay. Is there a big picture
idea for the home gardener regarding companion planting? – Yes, I’d say the big picture
with companion planting is, you wanna think polyculture
instead of monoculture. Poly just means many. You can kinda confuse your
insects when they’re flying by, they’re trying to find
their favorite host plant, and if you have a jumble
of stuff out there, you’ve got things mixed
together instead of everything in just nice, neat little
sections or a grid or a row. If you’ve got things mixed
up that has different aromas, different bloom times,
different ripening times, you can kind of confuse or,
they’ll maybe miss or overlook their favorite host plant. And I’ve successfully
hidden parsley in my garden from caterpillars by
puttin’ it in the middle of a whole bunch
of other things, and making it a
little bit harder for the caterpillars to find. – So it actually worked
out pretty good for you. – Yeah, so think polyculture
instead of monoculture. And then the other
thing you can do is plant lots of flowers,
which I always love to plant flowers anyway, but you don’t
even need to plant the flowers right next to your garden, they
can be just in the vicinity, and we call these insectories. What an insectory is,
it’s like a nursery for your beneficial insects. So you want beneficial
insects in your garden, because things like ladybugs
and lacewings kill your aphids, and keep your vegetables,
a lower insect pressure. So you wanna keep
those things around, and the way you can do that,
because they have wings and they can fly off if
there’s no aphids to eat. But if you have a whole bunch
of different flowering plants nearby then they can go
there and they can pollinate, and they can kind of
munch on stuff there, it’s a place for them to live
until you have a pest problem, and then they’ll fly over
there and take care of those, and come back to your flowers. It’s also good just to
attract bees and pollinators to your garden. – Wow. Tonya, it’s good stuff, we
appreciate that information. Thank you much. – Thank you.