How Companion Planting Can Improve the Health of Your Garden WUWM 89.7 FM
If you’re a gardener in the city of Milwaukee, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Venice Williams. She is the executive director of Alice’s garden and a strong supporter of urban agriculture. Through her work, she has created a community dedicated to the health and benefits of organic gardening.
Now she joins Lake effect for a regular segment, we call Dig! – this is an opportunity to talk about gardening, herbs and preparing healthy foods. This month, Williams talks about the importance of growing plants that work well together through companion planting.
“Companion planting is one of the many things nature teaches us about how to get along,” she says. “When exploring companion plants, matching what comes from the earth for the benefit of both species or for multiple species is one of the most beautiful things that happens in nature. “
Williams says growing plants in isolation is not a natural practice and something that was created to create uniformity in commercial farming. She says the history of the United States is linked to slavery as well, and the plantations would grow food in clean rows to easily monitor the slaves while they worked.
Williams says gardens that implement companion planting see many benefits. “So many different things, it saves space in the garden, it decreases pest control issues, it helps reduce disease issues,” she says.
Especially when it comes to deterring harmful pests from attacking plants, finding an effective companion can be essential. Williams lists a few common companions to try in the garden:
- Basil placed near leafy greens, peppers, or tomatoes can repel mosquitoes and flies.
- Planting marigolds around the edges of the garden helps scare off rabbits that come for a snack or when placed near beans, they can protect from Mexican bean beetle.
- Rosemary protects carrots from carrot flies.
- Lettuce and chives grown in tandem help keep aphids away.
- Garlic planted alongside the beats can help improve the health of the beaten plant.
Williams says this is just the beginning of the endless combinations that can help protect a garden. For gardeners who want to learn more, she recommends the book Carrots love tomatoes: the secrets of companion planting for successful gardening by Louise Riotte.
“Not only does she go through so many recipes, I’ll call them, for the accompanying planting, she also has all types of wonderful grills. She does all the work for you, she has examples of a postage stamp garden that’s all about the accompanying planting, ”she says. “Louise Riotte has always been my reference. “
Williams says she browsed through several copies of Carrots love tomatoes over the past three decades, either from constantly lending the book to other gardeners or seeing copies of it breaking down from constant use. She says there are a few times in Alice’s Garden where she doesn’t have a copy on hand.