26 August 2010

Companion Planting

2010 08 26_0745

Recall if you please, the Guinness Girls in the Three Sisters garden, summer last. The Guinness Girls are currently stacking split fir in the woodshed but here stands the 3 Sisters now.

Note the beans (‘Kentucky Wonder’) wrapping around the stalks of corn (‘Sugar Dots’) whilst the pumpkin (‘Howden’, ‘Big Max’) keeps the ground from drying out (from the angle of the above photo, I can assure you, this soil is loamy and moist). This planting strategy requires little water. Beans help to anchor corn and increases soil nitrogen which corn eagerly devours. Though corn is delicious and we eagerly await for September harvesting, it has very little nutrition for the amount of nutrients it robs from the soil. Companion planting in season and mulching, regenerating soil off season, in the corn bed, is crucial. Corn proved also, to be an excellent transplanted vegetable.

2010 08 04_0552

The PNW has been quite cool this summer. Marine air flow off the Pacific coast keeps most mornings misty and overcast. Anytime between 10 and 2 the sun shows himself and warms up considerably. This is lovely enough for personal comfort but keeps the potential heat from accumulating each day along with needed length of direct sunlight necessary for ripening some produce.

Many plants are a fortnight or so behind schedule however, our consistent Indian Summers ( and a floating row cover) should finish off tomatoes tolerably well, and bring pumpkins to rich, smooth orange globes.

2010 08 04_0549

Try, next spring, alternating rows of bush beans with strawberries. Both plants will thrive and throw off better yield.


Daisy said...

Sounds like quite a science to get all the combinations just right. Those strawberries look delicious! Have a nice weekend!

Mildred said...

I can't wait to see your pumpkins. When John and I first married, he carefully chose seeds for GIANT pumpkins. We waited eagerly......we had one pumpkin the size of my fist!!! We still laugh about that.
Interesting to see all your companion plants. Like Daisy said, the strawberries are beautiful.
Have a great Sunday.

Lanny said...

Hope you're right about our Indian Summer, I need one for ever so many reasons, including and not the least of which is my tan, uh, I mean Vitamin D intake. I am heading to my Market Garden (in the morning) to squeeze the four ears of corn to see how much bigger they are than last time I squeezed 'em and to pick a couple of tomatoes and haul in five wheelbarrow loads of zukes. Gad Zukes! The zukes clearly grow in any weather!

A. Joy said...

Terrific post! I sure do hope our summer drags out! We deserve to have our tomatoes turn red!!! KN wants red tomato sauce for the freezer - not green. Great photos!!!!