Companion Planting

May 27, 2009


In the children’s book, “Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes,” by Bruce Koscielniak, Bear and Bunny take two different approaches to gardening.  Bear is anal and raises monocultures devoid of other plants, (weeds).  Bunny is a more relaxed individual and gardens with the weeds.  Bear has bumper crops.  Bunny has crop failures.  Bear shares his harvest with Bunny so Bunny doesn’t starve in the winter.

My ex-girlfriend tells me I am exactly like Bunny.  I, however, usually don’t experience crop failure.  And I have a method to my madness.  It’s called “Companion Planting.”  Some plants grow better together. 

In the excellent book on this subject, “Carrots Love Tomatoes,” Louis Riotte explains this principle in detail.  This  is his introduction.

“The magic and mystery of companion planting have intrigued and fascinated humans for centuries, yet it is a part of the gardening world that has never been fully explored.  Even today we are just on the threshold.  In years to come I hope that scientists, gardeners, and farmers everywhere will work together in making more discoveries that will prove of great value in augmenting the world’s food supply.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, plants that repel insects, even plants that repel other plants – all are of great practical use.  They always have been, but we are just beginning to find out why.”

In my last post, I wrote that I am striving to be “Umami.”  I’ll bet my choice of companions will have a huge effect on this.

Backyard Food

March 12, 2009

Do you have a backyard?  Do you do anything with it besides maintain a lawn?  Home-gardening is increasing.  It is rewarding to grow your own food.  Have you ever thought about growing something that moves?

A young guy and his mom visited me yesterday.  They live near Madison on a small acreage.   They are interested in starting pig production.  I envy them for how much fun they are about to have.  There is nothing quite like beginning animal husbandry.

They plan to buy three feeder pigs in May and butcher them in November.  They will be backyard pig-raising experts by December. 

The increased level of serotonin in their brains from this accelerated learning and human-animal interaction will cause them to remember 2009 as a great year.  The year of the PIG.

I am excited by anyone willing to grow their own food.  There is a back-to-the-land movement.  Sometimes it’s happening inside city limits.  Madison passed an ordinance allowing people to keep a backyard flock of chickens.  The people responsible for this even have their own organization, “Mad City Chickens.”

Are you expanding your backyard food production?  Is 2009 the year you start?