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Companion Defenses for Your Garden

Updated on February 7, 2015

Basics for Organic Garden Defenses

Let me start with one of the defenses that I know and have used throughout the years.

My Mother loves roses. It is one of the few things that she remembers today. She has forgotten her children's names but show her a rose or a dog and she can tell you the type of rose or breed of dog as well as the history of each.

Some of the information on this Lens comes from memories of growing up working in the garden, but all of the information comes from what I do in my garden today. It works for me and it will work for you as well.

Roses and Garlic - When, Where and Why - Mostly Why

Roses and Garlic together
Roses and Garlic together

Anyway, we always had rose gardens when I was growing up. The roses were amazing. The blossoms were huge (unless they were supposed to be small.) The back yard always smelled of the fragrance of the roses. Mother cut roses for the house and for the neighbors. She had more than enough to share with anyone who wanted some roses.

The other thing that was always present in her rose garden was garlic which she planted close to her beloved roses. Now, since she was a great cook, I never thought about asking why garlic in the rose bed since her other herbs were grown in containers on the back porch. It turns out that garlic is one heck of a natural pesticide and has been used for centuries to keep roses save. Whereas we love the taste of garlic, the scent is enough to send aphids flying. Garlic also repels other rose pest, such as Japanese Beetles.

In general, roses and garlic seemed to have been made for each other.

By the Light of the Moon - When Do You Plant Potatoes?

Full Moon Rising by Night Sky Info
Full Moon Rising by Night Sky Info

One fun memory is about planting potatoes. First we took the best potatoes and cut them up with each section having at least two ‘eyes’ ( I do not know why the bud is called an eye) We always planted the pieces in prepared ground at night in the light of the full moon. I think now it must have been a timing thing, perhaps that is when the spring ground was warm enough to be right for the plantings.

Anyway, my Mother is a very well educated woman and yet, we planted potatoes according to an old wife’s tale. I don’t know, but Mother’s potatoes were always the best in the neighborhood. People would want some of her crop for seeding their crops in the next year. But she never told them about planting by the moon’s light.

Better Tomatoes

Tomatoes and French Marigolds
Tomatoes and French Marigolds

One really pretty combination either in the garden or in pots is tomatoes and marigolds. Marigold is the giver here. They kill root knot nematodes as well as ward off the dreaded white fly. Besides, the yellow and gold colors of the marigolds are great with the bright red or yellow of the tomatoes.

Tomato plants seem to grow better with more fruit when marigolds are present. The rule of thumb is to plant two or three marigold per tomato plant.

There are other traditional combinations that have used in home gardens for many generations. For example, Carrots and onions are often planted together. The scent from each drives away the other's pests; so they are good neighbors

Coffee Grounds - Do Not Throw Them Away!

Corn with coffee in the ground
Corn with coffee in the ground

Mother also used coffee grounds (after she had brewed a pot of coffee in the morning) to cover the earth beneath the flowering plants around the outside of the house. She said that the grounds would help keep the soil from drying out too quickly under the plants. The coffee grounds also kept ants away from the roots of our plants. I do not know what that says about coffee and our bodies, but ants will not go near them.

Also when the flowers beds were prepared for the winter, we would get straw mixed with mature and work it into the ground. I know there are many different matures and fertilizers that are now available, but this was back many, many years ago and we used what we had. Amazing, now they call it organic gardening, then we just did whatever we could to make our gardens grow.

Cabbage in the Flowers

pix by porchside gardening Cabbage and Nasturtiums
pix by porchside gardening Cabbage and Nasturtiums

I love cabbage but have always hated the terrible green and white caterpillars that come galloping after it. So I had always stayed away from growing it until a friend suggested planting nasturtiums in amongst the cabbage. Seems that even caterpillars like flowers and love nasturtiums! The cabbage is now bug free and I love it.

Books for the Organic Gardener

Amazon has an amazing selection, so help yourself. All profits go to charity.

Will You Try One of These Methods

Which Combination appeals to you?

See results

What Goes with What

I found a web site that has two great charts on it regarding companion growing. I have no idea where this person came up with the information for the charts but they appear to be very accurate.

How About Place to Store Your Tools

Now that you are a dedicated gardener, you will need a place to store the tools of your new (or old) trade.

Friendly Bug List

A friend wrote an article regarding friendly bugs to have in your garden. It is really quite good, filled with all sort of information.

As Always, Please Leave Your thoughts

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 2 years ago from United States

      I had not heard the cabbage-nasturtium tip but remember an old landlady of mine always planting nasturtiums in her vegetable garden. I thought it was just to add to her salads! Thanks for the good info.

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 2 years ago from Canada

      Now we can plant cabbage next year. I always put coffee ground in the garden, but I never new they kept the ants away. Enjoyed reading your article.

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 4 years ago

      @GardenIdeasHub LM: Thanks for your time GardenIdeasHub - comments are always welcomed and encouraged

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed your article about organic garden defenses thanks for the tips!

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @ItayaLightbourne: Thank you ItayasDesigns - my Mother was a wise old woman - ahead and behind her times LOL- hope you enjoy your garden!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I learned some wonderful gardening tips here! Thanks very much. :)

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @GypsyPirate LM: Enjoy both the fresh garlic and the beautiful roses - thanks so much for the like and the commnet

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 5 years ago

      Okay, I knew about the marigold and tomato combination, have done that for years. But roses and garlic was new for me and I will try it this summer!

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @JoanieMRuppel54: thanks - your comment and time are most appreciated!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      This is right up my alley! We have tomatoes and marigolds together but no garlic around the roses and the carrots and onions are near by. Next year I'll put them side by side. Nice lens!

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @bjslapidary: Thanks bjslapidary - I loved the things that Mother did too! Your time and comments are appreciated

    • bjslapidary profile image

      bjslapidary 5 years ago

      Love your lens. I'm bookmarking it, so that I can come back. Love that these were things that your Mother did.

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @SoSimplyStephanie: Thanks, Stephanie - just saw your visit, thank you for your time and comment.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Well written - thanks for sharing. Blessed and featured on my "Wing-ing it on Squidoo" lens.

    • SoSimplyStephanie profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago from DeFuniak Springs

      Great lens. I love the tomato and marigold idea and the garlic for my rose bed. Will have to try those two for sure.

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @chezchazz: thank you for your kindness

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @gressaaudrina: gressaaudrina - I am glad you did found it and stayed awhile!

      Thanks,

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      gressaaudrina 5 years ago

      nice article. glad to find it.^^

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @Rangoon House: Thank you for your time, your comments and your blessing

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @Rangoon House: Thank youthe LifestyleChanger - for your time, your comments and your blessing

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I am a great believer in old wive's tales - in this case, your mother's tales. Spring Blessings.

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @Ram Ramakrishnan: Thank you so much for your blessing

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens on gardening ... Blessed.

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you - it is an honor to be featured. thank you for your blessing and comment

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congratulations for being featured on Squidoo's 2012 Spring Gardening Showcase and Blessed by a fellow Gardener and Squidoo Angel

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @lbrummer: thank you for stopping by - the marigolds work like magic!

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      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Never heard of garlic with the roses - have to give it a try.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 5 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Lots of great tips....I'll be trying the garlic and marigolds this year. Thanks for the info.

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @Steph Tietjen: I hate those big green bugs that you get with cabbage - the nasturtiums saved my cabbage Good luck

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @RinchenChodron: Glad to share some old knowledge . . . LOL

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Good information. I didn't know about cabbage and nasturtiums and I'll be growing cabbage this season. Thank you

    • tricomanagement profile image
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      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      @julescorriere: Thank you for your kindness - hope the roses and garlic works for you - it has for me for many years

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      I've used coffee grounds, and I had heard sometihng about garlic and roses-- but the picture you provided really helped me get the idea of how to plant them. Congratulations on making the Best of Squidoo 2012 Gardening Lenses. Blessed!