Getting ready for spring gardening is important if you want to have a successful rich garden. If you are like me then you don’t like using pesticides or any harmful fertilizers when you grow a garden. Away to get around all the pesticides is to companion plant. I feel this a great alternative to using any pesticides to keep rodents and insects and anything harmful from ruining your plants.
I must have researched for months trying to come up with the right plan for my garden to keep my garden vibrant and full of life.
In my first year of companion planting, I had marigolds all around the perimeter of my garden that was compatible with all the fruits and vegetables that I had planted. In between my tomatoes, I had spinach and lettuce, and basil next to the tomatoes for better flavor.
What is companion planting?
By definition, companion planting is the close planting of different plants that enhance each other’s growth or protect each other from pests. Of course, there are some plants that you don’t want to put next to others and some that can go with any plant.
Plants That you can Plant Near Each Other
In one area you can plant tomatoes, basil, peppers, lettuce, spinach, and marigolds. These plants thrived very well in my garden the first year that I was experimenting.
In another area, you can plant onions, marigolds, green beans, garlic. (This worked great for me. However, the garlic I only planted two because I didn’t want my vegetables to taste like garlic).
Another area you can plant cucumbers. beans, celery, corn, lettuce, dill, peas, and radishes together. These did well next to each other. Not everything looked as vibrant as the other sections in my garden but they did well together.
I have read that celery should be by itself. I would experiment with your garden and see what works well together and what does not.
Make sure to document all of your investigations so your garden will thrive even better the year after. My zone where I planted is zone 6A hardiness.
Plants That you do not Want to Plant Together
Plants that do not work well with each other are squash with garlic, watermelon with squash, etc. Not only do they not go together but they can actually harm your plants with the fruit and vegetable not growing correctly. It has to do with the classification that they are under.
Potatoes don’t play together with other plants I would avoid planting potatoes near anything.
Both peas and beans have negative effects on some plants including all kinds of peppers, sweet and hot, and Beets.
Carrots do not like to be planted near potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, or any of the strong aromatic herbs like cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, or lavender.
In addition to companion planting, you can also use some spices from your pantry to sprinkle on your plants as well as the dirt to keep pests away, as well as preventing fungus. You can try cinnamon, Cayenne pepper, and so many more with added benefits.
Prepping for the Spring Garden
Typically in the winter, I like to prepare for spring and start my seedlings indoors. I will usually plant seeds in either seed starters or in planters.
I live in a climate where the weather is completely up in the air. One day it can be 70 degrees outside and then the next day it can snow. With this type of climate change, it can be hard to keep your plants alive.
During the winter months, I will put the seedlings near a window above a heater. With this type of set up, the seeds will have both warm and cold atmospheres. I did this totally unintentionally one year not thinking about keeping the seeds warm while they are starting out. But this method actually helped out during the freeze months.
When you think you had the last freeze of the year but you actually have 5 more freezes that pop up without warning.
Everything is a trial in error when your a beginner and first trying out to see what does and what does not work.
Knowing your climate in the area you live in also depends on what type of plants you can grow. For some climates, you have to wait until June to plant outside while in other climate areas you can plant outside year-round.
I have always had what is known as the “green thumb” ever since I can remember. When I was 12 I joined 4-H and was in charge of growing vegetables.
I wanted to be known as the best garden grower and I babied all my plants that grew. I must have had over a thousand tomatoes, enormous cucumbers, pumpkins, and massive amounts of spinach.
My crop that year was amazing and I have never seen anything like it before. I won first place for gardening and was able to donate a ton of fruits and vegetables to everyone I knew and sold some at our yard sale and made a killing. (As a kid $10.00 is like having a million dollars).
I did everything I could to grow the largest pumpkin and for me, I succeeded from the year before, now, of course, it wasn’t the largest pumpkin in our area but I was happy for how large it got. I have never been able to grow another pumpkin like that year.
My pumpkins now look like baby cantalopes. But I figured out what I did wrong. Believe me, everything is trial in error before you get a good setup that you enjoy having and knowing what can and cannot be together.
5 Best Tips to Prepare for Spring
This is what I do to prepare for spring the year before. You can check out this video here on how I accomplish getting ready for spring.
Tip 1: Getting rid of old Plants
You can check out the video above to see exactly how I do this.
Tip 2: Preparing the Soil
I actually prepare the soil twice. Once after crop season and again in the spring.
After crop season I will dig all the roots up that I can from the plants and all the weeds.
Next, I will rake or use a hoe to break up the dirt. After all the dirt is broken up and raked over I will add new soil to my garden.
I have raised garden beds so I need to add a lot of soil after each year. Now if I had a garden in the yard that wasn’t raised I would just use a rototiller to till the ground up.
Next, I will put the garden fabric down to help keep the weeds from growing. If they do continue to grow I will boil hot water and pour it on the weeds that are growing to kill them and to help keep other weeds from growing. This typically will work. Then over top, I will add mulch, and I am finished until next spring.
What to do During Springtime?
When it is finally spring I will take off the mulch, and the fabric, break up the dirt again and add natural fertilizer to the soil and rake it all up. I will also add spices that are compatible with all the plants that I will be growing for the season.
It may seem a waste of time to add the fabric and mulch at the end of last season but I want to keep all the weeds and grass from growing. My area is small so it doesn’t matter to me. However, if I had a large area I wouldn’t add this step.
The planters I would add new soil and fertilizer to as well and place them around my deck and the yard.
When it is time to put the plants in the garden and the yard I will add mulch to help keep the plants warm and to help with the pests.
Tip 3: During winter
During winter I will plant the seeds that I will be using and plant a couple of extra in case some die.
I don’t have an extravagant area where I put my plants or use the traditional grow lights. I usually just set up a table in front of the window to put the plants on.
I will have the kitchen table occupied as well as the living room with two windows. It can become overwhelming and that is why it is important to plan everything out ahead of time so you can make the best of the space you have.
Tip 4: Mapping your Space out
After the crop season is over I like to plan out the garden for the year after. Typically it is best to plant your plants in different sections of the garden than you did the previous year. For example, where I had the beans and carrots I will now put tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers.
This year I want to plant a tea garden. This will take a little extra time to research and plan out because a tea garden will have larger plants. For example lavender, and chamomile.
This is where looking at the back of the seed packets that tell you how large the plants get and if it is a perennial or not is important. I absolutely love planning out where I want to plant to go and what type of garden I want.
After planning out the garden for next year, I will set up a plant and water guide. Which will include what plants I have planted and how often I watered and when I use the condensation method. Get the free guide here to help you out with planning, knowing your zone that you live in, etc.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About
Preparing for the next season is so important so you don’t have any dead or rotting plants in the soil. Yes, some plants are good for composting and others are not. When your companion planting it is important to not mix plants with other plants that are not compatible with each other.
Leave me a comment below how you plan your garden out! Please let me know what you think of the video!