by Charlene Burgi
Did you ever notice your garden’s response to its growing conditions? If you plant a $30.00 plant in a $5.00 hole, will it thrive as well as planting a $5.00 plant in a $30.00 hole? Is the plant growing without mulch as healthy as the plant with mulch, or as big? Is the stressed plant fighting more diseases and insects than the plant with great growing conditions?
Plants may not be able to use our form of communication, but they do speak to us if we pay attention. Some other indicators are less obvious. While some may dispute this theory, planting by the moon works for me. If I plant seeds for radishes, beets, carrots or any crop growing below ground in a full moon, I am sure to get great tops and nothing but a thin root supporting the vegetation. However, if I plant the seeds during a dark moon, I get a bumper crop. What are the seeds telling me?
And did you know some plants don’t want to be planted with other species of plants? In fact, it is harmful if they are in the same area. This phenomenon is known as allelopathy and the study is relatively new. Plants such as black walnut will emit a chemical that is detrimental to anything growing around them.
On the other hand, some plants will thrive by growing with other plants. These companion plants may help each other by attracting beneficial insects to ward off the “bad” ones. For example, tomatoes are protected from tomato hornworm if planted with borage. Some plants produce more if they grow with others that will not deplete nutrients. There are some great websites that talk about companion planting. Check it out . . . or check in with your plants. They are talking.
One more note on the subject of to irrigate or not: One of our gardening friends admonished me for not sharing that container plants dry out faster than plants growing in the ground. Ernie is right . . . those plants will wilt (another form of communicating) and require more water than other plants.