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Com Plant

Com Plant

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Published by Shoshannah
companion planting, best free thing I've seen so far on the subject, good source.
companion planting, best free thing I've seen so far on the subject, good source.

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Published by: Shoshannah on Apr 12, 2008
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: B: B: B: B: B
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ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center funded by the USDA’s Rural Business--Cooperative Service.
Companion planting is based on the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted in nearproximity. The scientific and traditional bases for these plant associations are discussed. A companion planting chartfor common herbs, vegetables, and flowers is provided, as is a listing of literature resources for traditional companionplanting. An appendix provides history, plant varieties, and planting designs for the Three Sisters, a traditionalNative American companion planting practice.
By George Kuepper & Mardi DodsonJuly 2001
is a project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology
Traditional Companion Planting
Companion planting can be described as theestablishment of two or more plant species inclose proximity so that some cultural benefit(pest control, higher yield, etc.) is derived. Theconcept embraces a number of strategies thatincrease the biodiversity of agroecosystems.Generally, companion planting is thought of asa small-scale gardening practice. However, inthis discussion the term is applied in its broad-est sense to include applications to commercialhorticultural and agronomic crops. ATTRAhas another publication,
Intercropping Principlesand ProductionPractices
, that provides additional informationon larger-scale applications.While companion planting has a long history,the mechanisms of beneficial plant interactionhave not always been well understood.Traditional recommendations (see summarychart provided as Table 1) used by gardenershave evolved from an interesting combinationof historical observation, horticultural science,and a few unconventional sources. For ex-ample, some of the recommendations forcompanion planting, made around the middleof this century, were based on the results ofsensitive crystallization tests (1).Originally developed by Dr. EhrenfriedPfeiffer, sensitive crystallization testing entailsthe mixing of plant extracts with select saltreagents like sodium sulfate or copperchloride. The resulting solution is placed in acontrolled environment chamber and allowedto evaporate slowly. The process results in aprecipitate that often takes on beautifulgeometric forms and patterns. Thecharacteristics of the pattern are studied andinterpreted to establish whether the plants arelikely to interact well with each other (1).Sensitive crystallization appeals to practitio-ners of Biodynamics
(BD) and others whotake a more metaphysical approach to nature.Conventional science is much more skeptical ofthis process as a means to evaluate plantassociations.
Traditional Companion Planting............................................1Companion Planting Chart...................................................2The Scientific Foundations for Companion Planting ...............3Options For System Design..................................................4References.........................................................................4Resources...........................................................................4 Appendix: Ancient Companions ...........................................6
 // Companion Planting: Basic Concepts & ResourcesPage 2
(compiled from traditional literature on companion planting)
AsparagusTomato, Parsley, BasilBeansMost Vegetables & HerbsOnion, Garlic, GladiolusBeans, BushIrish Potato, Cucumber, Corn,OnionStrawberry, Celery, Summer SavoryBeans, PoleCorn, Summer Savory, RadishOnion, Beets, Kohlrabi,SunflowerBeetsCabbage & Onion Families, LettucePole BeansCabbage FamilyAromatic Herbs, Celery,Dill, Strawberries, PoleBeets, Onion Family,Beans, TomatoChamomile, Spinach, ChardCarrotsEnglish Pea, Lettuce, Rosemary,DillOnion Family, Sage, TomatoCeleryOnion & Cabbage Families,Tomato, Bush Beans, NasturtiumCornIrish Potato, Beans, English Pea,TomatoPumpkin, Cucumber, SquashCucumberBeans, Corn, English Pea,Irish Potato,Sunflowers, RadishAromatic HerbsEggplantBeans, MarigoldLettuceCarrot, Radish, Strawberry, CucumberOnion FamilyBeets, Carrot, Lettuce,Beans, English PeasCabbage Family, Summer SavoryParsleyTomato, AsparagusPea, EnglishCarrots, Radish, Turnip,Onion Family,Cucumber, Corn, BeansGladiolus, Irish PotatoPotato, IrishBeans, Corn, Cabbage Family,Pumpkin, Squash, Tomato,Marigolds, HorseradishCucumber, SunflowerPumpkinsCorn, MarigoldIrish PotatoRadishEnglish Pea, Nasturtium,HyssopLettuce, CucumberSpinachStrawberry, Faba BeanSquashNasturtium, Corn, MarigoldIrish PotatoTomatoOnion Family, Nasturtium, Marigold,Irish Potato, Fennel,Asparagus, Carrot, Parsley, CucumberCabbage FamilyTurnipEnglish PeaIrish Potato
 // Companion Planting: Basic Concepts & ResourcesPage 3
The Scientific Foundations forCompanion Planting
While conventional agriculturalists and BDpractitioners may disagree over the validity ofsensitive crystallization research, there isgeneral agreement today on the validity ofseveral mechanisms that create beneficial plantassociations:
Trap cropping.
Sometimes, a neighbor-ing crop may be selected because it is moreattractive to pests and serves to distract themfrom the main crop. An excellent example ofthis is the use of collards to draw the diamondback moth away from cabbage (2).
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
Legumes—such as peas, beans, and clover—have theability to fix atmospheric nitrogen for theirown use and for the benefit of neighboringplants via symbiotic relationship with
bacteria. Forage legumes, for example,are commonly seeded with grasses to reducethe need for nitrogen fertilizer. Likewise,beans are sometimes interplanted with corn.On request ATTRA can provide additionalinformation on
Biochemical pest suppression.
Someplants exude chemicals from roots or aerialparts that suppress or repel pests and protectneighboring plants. The African marigold, forexample, releases thiopene—a nematoderepellent—making it a good companion for anumber of garden crops. The manufacture andrelease of certain biochemicals is also a factorin plant antagonism. Allelochemicals such as juglone—found in black walnut— suppress thegrowth of a wide range of other plants, whichoften creates a problem in home horticulture.A positive use of plant allelopathy is the use ofmow-killed grain rye as a mulch. Theallelochemicals that leach from rye residueprevent weed germination but do not harmtransplanted tomatoes, broccoli, or many othervegetables.
Physical spatial interactions.
Forexample, tall-growing, sun-loving plants mayshare space with lower-growing, shade-toler-ant species, resulting in higher total yieldsfrom the land. Spatial interaction can alsoyield pest control benefits. The diverse canopyresulting when corn is companion-plantedwith squash or pumpkins is believed todisorient the adult squash vine borer andprotect the vining crop from this damagingpest. In turn, the presence of the prickly vinesis said to discourage raccoons from ravagingthe sweet corn.
Nurse cropping.
Tall or dense-canopiedplants may protect more vulnerable speciesthrough shading or by providing a windbreak.Nurse crops such as oats have long been usedto help establish alfalfa and other forages bysupplanting the more competitive weeds thatwould otherwise grow in their place. In manyinstances, nurse cropping is simply anotherform of physical-spatial interaction.
Beneficial habitats.
Beneficial habitats—sometimes called
—are another type ofcompanion plant interaction that has drawnconsiderable attention in recent years. Thebenefit is derived when companion plantsprovide a desirable environment for beneficialinsects and other arthropods—especially thosepredatory and parasitic species which help tokeep pest populations in check. Predatorsinclude ladybird beetles, lacewings, hover flies,mantids, robber flies, and non-insects such asspiders and predatory mites. Parasites includea wide range of fly and wasp species includingtachinid flies, and
andichneumonid wasps. Agroecologists believethat by developing systems to include habitatsthat draw and sustain beneficial insects, thetwin objectives of reducing both pest damageand pesticide use can beattained. For detailed information on estab-lishing beneficial habitats, request the ATTRApublication
Farmscaping to Enhance BiologicalControl
Security through diversity
. A moregeneral mixing of various crops and varietiesprovides a degree of security to the grower. Ifpests or adverse conditions reduce or destroy asingle crop or cultivar, others remain to pro-duce some level of yield. Furthermore, thesimple mixing of cultivars, as demonstratedwith broccoli in University of California re-search, can reduce aphid infestation in a crop(3).

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