Symbiosis in the garden


We think that they are growing in the area where individual plants and trees are planted, without affecting the surrounding plants. But plants have some effect on each other in the wild and in our gardens. Driving in the Napa Valley Wine Country, you will notice that there are many vineyards around the vineyards. Although this enhances the beauty of the countryside, they are not there. They are planted to attract grapes that improve the quality of the wine.

In his book “Hidden Trees Life” (Copyright 2015 by Ludwig Verlag, Munich), Peter Wahleben describes the amazing interconnectedness of the forest. There is a complete supply of groundwater fungi that provide sugar and nutrients to the trees. The trees, in turn, supply fungi with carbohydrates. This symbolic connection is called the “wide web of wood.” This web has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.

We sow in the garden from season to season, so there is very little time to develop such a web. But we can create a kind of symposium by planting partners – giving each other shade, nutrients, or attracting pollen. Some plants also repel unwanted or harmful insects. For example, marigolds are excellent insect pests and help keep plants away from plants such as kale, parsley and Swiss chard.

Some Native American communities have traditionally grown the “Three Sisters”, corn, beans, and pumpkins. They grow together and support each other in the garden and in the diet. It provides straw as a structure to keep the beans from growing so that they do not compete with the squash vines.

The beans provide nitrogen in the soil and stabilize the maize during strong winds. Beans are nitrogen-fixing agents that take up nitrogen from the air and convert it into rhizomes (rod-shaped bacteria) on their roots that can be absorbed by plant roots. Corn leaves and fig leaves cover the ground and, therefore, help maintain moisture.

According to the website, “Indigenous Seed” The Iroquois used these three plants as their main food. “The diet of corn, beans and squash is complete and balanced. Corn provides carbohydrates and dried beans contain protein and amino acids that are not found in corn. Squash provides more vitamins and minerals than corn and beans. ”

Companion plants for vegetables include a mixture of flowers and vegetables. If there are flowers that attract beneficial insects to the garden, pests are more likely to find vegetables.

Beans include marigolds, nasturtium, rosemary and summer flavors.

The corresponding plant for beets is any kind of garlic. Carrots help with planting baskets and sages nearby. Celery plants are protected by onions, garlic and nasturtium, which protect against bugs and lice.

Pumpkins use marigold, nasturtium and oregano. Chamomile and summer flavors improve the growth and taste of onions. Caliopsis is a good companion for tomatoes, peppers or spring crops. You can find a complete list of pairs on the Burpee site, www.burpee.ocm / blog / article10888.html.

So before you start gardening, it is wise to look at shrubs and flowers that can benefit vegetables. Not only are the fruits and vegetables useful for planting, but the flowers brighten the look of the garden.

Sources: “The Great Gardeners” by Sally Jean Cunningham, Chief Gardener, Cornell Cooperative Expansion.

Frances McGuan is an extension gardener in the Tulumin County California Cooperative Extension Master.

UCC’s major gardeners in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties can answer indoor gardening questions. Call 209-533-5912 or complete the easy-to-use problem question here. Check out our website here. You can also contact us on Facebook.

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