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"... informative, illustrated and practical guide ..."-Baltimore Evening Sun
Excerpt from 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. Delving deeply into this fascinating aspect of gardening can provide for us both pleasure and very useful information. I hope that what I have written here will give you many of the tools to work with.
Vegetable growers find that companion planting provides many benefits one of which is protection from pests. A major enemy of the carrot is the carrot fly whereas the leek suffers from the onion fly and the leek moth. Yet when leek and carrot live together in companionship the strong and strangely different smell of the partner plant repels the insects so much that they do not even attempt to lay their eggs on the neighbor plant. They take off speedily to get away from the smell. This is why mixed plantings give better insect control than a monoculture where many plants of the same type are planted together in row after row. Even when plants are affected by diseases a mixed plant culture can usually alleviate the situation.
It is important to remember that not all "protective" botanicals act quickly. For example marigolds to be effective in nematode control should be grown over at least one full season and more is better for their effect is cumulative. One should also realize that certain companion plants will diminish each other's natural repelling ability as they grow together. All through this book you will find "what to grow with" and "what not to grow with." Both are equally important to gardening success.
The effects of plants on one another are important outside the vegetable garden among trees and shrubs as well as grains grasses and field crops. These have chapters to themselves as do herbs the group of plants most widely used as protective companions.
Wild plants also play a vital part in the plant community. Some are accumulator plants those that have the ability to collect trace minerals from the soil. They actually can store in their tissue up to several hundred times the amount contained in an equal amount of soil. These plants many of which are considered weeds are useful as compost green manure or mulch. Some are "deep diggers" sending their roots deep into the ground to penetrate hardpan and helping to condition the soil and some have value as protectors of garden plants.
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