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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.


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