We invite you to use this guide in spring as you prepare your gardens for planting. These tips are brought to you by our gardeners and experienced green thumbs.
Just to note that on average the last spring frost for most locations occurs on May 16th. This is according to the LINDSAY ONTARIO, climate station.
PREPARING YOUR GARDEN FOR PLANTING
Remove all weeds as soon as all frost is gone and the soil can be worked, usually in early April.
Apply a 2 inch layer of well-rotted sheep or cow manure or well-rotted compost to the surface and then turn over the top 6 inches with a garden fork, breaking up the soil,and working the manure or compost into the soil. Rake the surface smooth.
Consult the Companion Planting Guide below and prepare a map of where you want to plant your vegetables, following the guide to ensure that you plant vegetables that grow well together and not with those that don’t. You will want to keep this map to use as a guide to planting in the following years, as well as maps for the following years, to avoid planting the same vegetables in the same place, two years in a row. This helps to avoid insect pests and viruses that are common to certain vegetables that will multiply in the soil and infect your next year’s crop. Note that the planting guide also suggests herbs and flowers that can be planted around certain vegetable plants, to help discourage insect pests, or improve flavours.
Follow the Planting Guide below, to determine what you intend to plant and when various seeds need to be planted, either early inside and transplanted when the soil is warm, or directly into the garden, because they require cooler soil temperatures to germinate, or have a long growing season. Disregard the Fall planting dates, unless you plan to plant a second crop, as space is freed up from harvest of the first crop.
These guides may appear daunting, but to simplify the task at hand, simply put a tick or X in the margin beside the veggies that you plan to grow, which helps to sort out what’s relevant to your garden and what is not.
Companion Planting Guide: Companion Plants
What is Companion Planting?
How much do you know about companion planting? See our tips on which vegetables to plant near each other—and which to plant far away—covering tomatoes, basil, potatoes, beans, and more vegetable crops!
What is Companion Planting?
It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Plants have to grow well with one another. Yes, some plants are friends and some just don’t get along, similar to some people!
Which vegetables should you plant next to each other?
Which can be planted with tomatoes?
Which can be planted with potatoes?
Let’s get started learning about best companion plants.
Vegetable Companion Plants
Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, with their strong odors, confusing insects that feed on some vegetable plants. Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms.
Sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.
Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.
Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
Bush beans tolerate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.
Plants that are not compatible with each other are sometimes called combatants. Here are a few:
One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combinations and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends. Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.