What we put in the earth as pesticides, chemicals and prevention will come back to bite us – even when it’s done with an eye toward prevent insects chowing on our plants or weed competition. Healthy plants rarely suffer from infestation. Good soil, ample water and hand weeding can keep most small vegetable gardens hearty. Still, there are easy ways to provide extra protection naturally.
There are tons of tomes (many of them free or low cost) offering ideal combinations for repellent and nutrient symbiosis, so if you’re serious about getting up to speed on creating an ecology that’s serves your needs, do some reading. Still, there are some easy ways you can help your vegetable garden grow with a layout plan.
Plant ground cover herbs, fruits and vegetables near or among taller producers. Strawberries, oregano, cucumbers (these do great with corn), squashes, watermelons and pumpkins (careful where you pant these – they take up tons of room but can be great around a large sunflower planting) are all great at crowding out weeds. Most crops (given a head start before the cover crop become prolific) can cohabitate with a a ground cover seeding – provided they get a head start and aren’t competing at the same soil level for water and nutrients. There are also some plants that tend to discourage others from blooming, so it makes sense to do some research before you craft a plan, but mistakes can be good learning experiences too.
Many flowers attract bees or repel harmful insects. Merigolds and nasturtiums are some of the most celebrated.
It’s critical to ensure adequate and appropriate water supplies to your garden plants if you want them to stay healthy (and more resistant to insect or weed incursions). Soaker hoses are best to provide deep water penetration and long roots.
Companion planting can be a lot of fun not only as you witness natural pairings that save you time and increase your harvest, but also in how they introduce you to new tastes, sights and insights. It’s fun learning to use nature to help you grow in so many ways.