Vegetable companion planting chart

Although not entirely plant propagation related, these companion plant charts are extremely useful when planting vegetables.

The charts are broken down for common vegetables with a column for the plants that will grow well near them and those that should not be planted close by.

Beans
Good Bad
Beets Chives
Broccoli Garlic
Cabbage Onions
Carrots Peppers
Cauliflower  Sunflowers
Celery
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Peas
potatoes
Radishes
Squash
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Cabbage
Good Bad
Beans Broccoli
Celery Cauliflower
Cucumbers Strawberries
Dill Tomatoes
Kale
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Sage
Spinach
Thyme
Carrots
Good Bad
Beans Anise
Chives Dill
Lettuce Parsley
Onions
Peas
Radishes
Tomatoes
Corn
Good Bad
Beans Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Melons
Peas
Potatoes
Squash
Sunflowers
Cucumbers
Good Bad
Beans Aromatic herbs
cabbage Melons
Cauliflower Potatoes
Corn
Lettuce
Peas
Radishes
Sunflowers
Lettuce
Good Bad
Asparagus Broccoli
Beets
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Onions
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
Onions
Good Bad
Beets Beans
broccoli Peas
Cabbage Sage
Carrots
Lettuce
Peppers
Potatoes
Spinach
Tomatoes
Peas
Good Bad
Beans Chives
Carrots Garlic
Corn  Leeks
Cucumber  Onion
Parsley
Peppers
Spinach
Squash
Strawberries
Peppers
Good Bad
Basil Beans
Coriander Kohlrabi
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Radish
Good Bad
Basil Beans
Coriander Kohlrabi
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Tomatoes
Good Bad
Asparagus Broccoli
Basil Brussels sprouts
Beans Cabbage
Borage Cauliflower
Carrots Corn
Celery Kale
Chives Potatoes
Dill
Lettuce
Melons
Onions
Parsley
Peppers
Radish
Spinach
Thyme

Where do new plants come from?

Have you ever wondered where new plants come from? I have.

With today’s technology, plants can be engineered to look and perform a special way. Plants created this way are called Transgenic plants, GMO’s and Cisgenic plants. (Visit Wikipedia for more information about these types of plants)

I am not going to go into the artificial manipulation of genetic material to produce a new plant. I don’t have too; it happens naturally!

Variegated plants are called chimeras but other plants may have abnormal growths called sports. The basic explanation of variegation is the lack of chlorophyll causes a discoloration in the leaves of the plant. This discoloration is what we call the variegation. This variegation will not carry through to the seeds. Seedlings will grow with the normal coloring of the parent plant. Sports are typically a stem, branch or other part of a plant that is growing differently than the parent. Some sports have very desirable traits and are propagated to maintain the traits and produce more plants with the same characteristics. For example, the nectarine is a sport from a peach tree.

So how do we get a new plants if not from seed?

Typically cuttings or division, depending on the plant. If the variegation is on a tree or shrub, cuttings would normally be used to create new plants that would have the variegation. The cutting is allowed to grow and more cuttings taken. For herbaceous plants like Hosta, dividing the plant is typically the method used. Continually growing and dividing  the plant results in the variegation being retained. However, even after all this work is done, the desirable traits may revert back to the original characteristics of the parent plant. This is one reason it takes a very long time to get a new plant to market. (Don’t get me going on patenting plants, another reason it takes a long time, and something I don’t personally believe in…) Once there is enough quantity of a plant, the propagator can then bring it to market.

Here are a few pictures I have taken over the years of plants I have found that had sports or variegation. Unfortunately, I did not get to propagate any of the plants. The only plant I have access to now is the Hosta. The privet was at an old job and the maple was unfortunately cut down by my neighbor. I would have liked to see what would have happened to those plants if I had propagated them.

Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Hosta variegation

variegation on privet

Variegated maple leaf

And here is a picture of my favorite lilac. It is called Sensation. It is patented, so no propagation allowed without paying a royalty! I assume it is a form of variegation but it may well have been a sport, I am not sure.

Sensation® Lilac

Stunning isn’t it?
And for those of you who want your own Sensation Lilac…

Three quick announcements! (Hint; they are good resources on misting systems, locating manure, and raising chickens)

I have three quick announcements I would like to share.

  1. The misting system e-learning course is now live and doing quite well. The course is available in a few different forms; as a 45 day newsletter or an immediate PDF download. Also available are individual chapters on various subjects. If you are interested, check out the Misting System E-learning website.
  1. If you play around with plants you are sure to need manure. A new website is available where you can find manure in your area. However, it also needs your help if you have manure to share. Here is how it works:If you have extra manure at times and are willing to share, you can create a listing. When someone needs your type of manure in your area, they contact you through a link on the website to check for availability. If you have some, great, if not, that is fine too; no pressure! If you are searching for manure, do a search in your local area and contact the provider. Great idea huh? Visit Take My Poop for more information. Also visit the Take My Poop Facebook page and like it to spread the ….well, word!
  1. If you are thinking about raising chickens or already have them, visit the Backyard Chicken E-learning website. There are some great articles there to help you on your journey (like a chart that shows how large a coop you need, how to tell if your eggs are fresh enough to eat) and a forum where you can connect with fellow chicken lovers. One great feature of the website is the ability to send an article you may like to your kindle at the press of a button; awesome idea! Backyard Chicken E-learning is also on Facebook, go ahead and like the page!

Oh, one more thing: I now have multiple Kindle books available on Amazon. Some titles include: Why Your Nearing Frame Must Face True North and Not Magnetic North and How To Properly Do It, How to grow your own Japanese Maple tree from seeds in 5 easy steps, 45 Tips That You Just Can’t Ignore Unless You Want To Work Harder In Your Gardens And Landscapes, and more. Check out my Kindle books on Amazon.

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem, you don’t need one to read a Kindle book!  You can read a Kindle in your browser or use an app for your specific device like iPhone, iPad, Android phone, etc. here is the best part; they are all free!

Misting System E-course available soon!

This E-course covers everything! (There are currently 58 topics and more info is added as I go!)

Only 50 slots will be available so pre-register today to reserve your spot! *

Here are just a few of the topics covered:

1) What is a misting system

2) 10 reasons you should own a misting system

3) Why a misting system is important when rooting softwood cuttings

4) Types of propagation beds

5) Rooting media

6) Do you have enough water for your system?

7) Can you use softened water for misting?

a) 11 reasons NOT to use softened water

8) Can you use rainbarrels to provide the water?

9) What parts are needed for a misting system?

a) Tools required

b) Misting timers

i) Mechanical

(1) Wiring the timers

ii) Electronic

(1) Electric timer

(2) Battery timers

c) Solenoid valves

AND MUCH MORE!

Pre-register Me!

* E-course will be a low, one time fee of $25. Sign up today!

 

Misting system nozzle calculator

Here is a handy calculator I developed to help determine how many mist nozzles you can safely use per misting zone. It will also show how much water will be used each day. This figure comes in very handy if you are on water restrictions and for those folks who are thinking about using rain barrels or totes to provide water to their systems.

Please read this article if you are thinking you can use rain barrels or totes to supply water to your system without a pump. Stay tuned though, I am testing a simple system that is solar powered, can pump almost 4 gallons of water per minute, and provide 40 psi. This is a great setup for providing water to your misting system or drip irrigation system and use rain barrels or totes as the water supply. Oh, there is also a provision to ensure your system still gets supplied with water even if you have had no rain for awhile!


STEP 1.

Input the flow rate of your water supplying your misting system in the first box and the flow rate of a single misting nozzle in the second. Hit the submit button and you will be shown the safe number of misting nozzles you can use per misting zone. Be sure both are figures are input as Gallons Per Minute. To learn how to convert the number, see below.**


STEP 2.

To see how much water your misting system will use per day, fill in the rest of the boxes and hit the submit button.


*Required for both calculations

** To convert Gallons Per Hour (GPH)into Gallons Per Minute (GPM), simply divide your figure by 60.

What is eating my tomato plants?

It is most likely called a Tomato Hornworm, and boy can they eat! They are also extremely hard to find.

How hard? Find the one in this picture:

Did you find it? Here is a closeup of one so you know what to look for:

So how do you know to look for the Tomato Hornworm?

Simple, look for these signs:

  • stems chewed off
  • droppings

These suckers can strip a stem very quickly, so keep looking at your tomato plants for eaten stems/leaves and droppings. Controlling them early will help keep your plants healthy and keep them producing.

So how do you get rid of them?

You can treat the plants with chemicals like Sevin dust, but then the beneficial insects will also be killed.  The best way is to pick them off. You can then squish them to kill them, put them in a bowl of water mixed with dish soap, or do what I do; feed them to my chickens like this:

A great book on identifying what insect or disease is affecting your plants is What’s Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?): A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies

Have questions? Ask!

I recently added a frequently asked questions section that uses your questions and my answers as topics.

Simply ask a question about misting systems, propagation, or other general areas and I will respond with my answer.

Here is the best part: you will receive an email telling you that your question has been answered and the question and answer will automagically be added to the FAQ page for everyone’s benefit.

Go ahead, ask away!

Bill Holt of WillowMist Grasses answers 7 questions about Ornamental Grasses

I recently purchased some ornamental grass from Bill Holt, owner of Willowmist grasses and asked if he would be kind enough to do an interview by email. He agreed and what follows are my questions and his answers. Thanks Bill!

Q. How long have you been growing ornamental grasses?
A. We brought our first grasses in the spring of 1999.

Q. What got you interested in growing them?
A. We were looking for something unique, and Teresa saw a TV program about Kurt Bluemel’s grasses nursery in Maryland. He studied under some of the iconic European grasses pioneers, and brought the concept of ornamental grasses here to the US.

In addition to their uniquely casual beauty and elegance, the grasses appealed to us because they require virtually no chemicals or fertilizers, which meant that we could grow them here without any worries about impacting the abundant wildlife: deer, turkeys, fox, coyote, weasels, Great Blue Heron, mallards, bats, various hawks, osprey, muskrat, pheasant, and more.

Q. When is the best time to to divide grasses?
A. Most grasses can be divided well into late August, but the sooner the better. A divided grass needs to regrow root mass to survive the coming winter (i.e. “reestablish” itself), and the sooner that process begins, the better. The more weeks the grass has to regenerate root mass before winter, the better. Some varieties are pretty tolerant fairly late into fall, such as Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens’ (Flame Grass) and most of the Switch Grasses, but generally speaking, sooner is better.

Q. What is the biggest mistake or misconception people have when it comes to growing ornamental grass?
A. In the early days of the ornamental grasses industry here, many grasses proved to be aggressive spreaders, and soured many people on the idea of grasses in general. That is very unfortunate, and was simply the result of ignorance in choosing varieties. The most spectacular ornamental grasses are very well-behaved clump-forming varieties, which rarely (if ever) self-sow, and are very easy to control.

Q. Can ornamental grass be grown over a septic tank or leech field?
A. Our ornamental grasses generally only put down about a 15″ root ball, so they can be used safely over a septic tank, and in most cases over a leach field.

Q. Which grass is your personal favorite?
A. My personal favorite grass is Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus.’ It is a cultivar (“cultivated variety”) developed by Ernst Pagels, one of the industry pioneers, and is superior in every respect for New England gardens. It blooms earlier than any of the other Miscanthus, is most reliably upright, has a very elegant form, and bears the most spectacular variety of fall colors. Every color of the grasses fall rainbow is visible in Malepartus – including deep blood red stems.

Malepartus Ornamental Grass

Q. Do you have one tip that you can share that most people may not be aware of?
A. My best tip for grasses is a technique I developed called “coring” for keeping plants vigorous or restoring them in the center as they age.

Like many perennials, grasses typically develop a “doughnut” effect as they age. The center loses vigor, and can die out to the point of rot. You end up with a ring of new green foliage around the perimeter, but nothing in the center.

Most texts advise digging out such plants, dividing them, and putting back some piece of the original to start over.

This is a lot of work, and costs you at least 3/4 of the plant you’ve been nursing along for 3-4 years.

Instead, use a Sawzall or axe to cut up the center of the plant, removing the dying portion, all the way to the bottom of the root ball.

Backfill the hole with good soil and water like a new plant. The younger growth at the outer edges will regenerate into the middle, and be very vigorous.

Better yet, don’t wait for the center to start dying. Every spring when you do your cut-back, make stimulating cuts through that center. It’s GRASS. Cutting just makes it grow faster. If you stimulate the center every spring, you’ll probably avoid the doughnut effect entirely, and never need to resort to a full coring.

Visit Bill’s website, Willowmist, for more great information on ornamental grass.

Want to keep your misting system running during a power outage? Now you can!

-100% free! No signups, nothing-

I just finished my report on how you can keep your DIG 5006-IP electric misting system timer operating during a power outage. And no, it isn’t an expensive generator! It is a whopping 23 pages long and explains what you need and shows how I did it. For the time being, I am offering it free of charge but will be charging for it real soon so grab it while you can! Hurry, offer will expire on March 9th, 2012 and the link will magically disappear!

[expires on=”2012-03-09″]How to get your DIG 5006-IP propagation timer to work during power outages[/expires]

Remember, this report will be free only for a short time so grab your copy now.

Stay tuned, as I was writing this report I came up with two other ideas similar to this. One will surely rock your world if you have a DIG 5006-IP electric misting timer.

New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Released

Have you been thinking that it is much warmer where you live than it used to be? Have you wanted to plant a tree, shrub, or perennial that was not rated for your zone?

Well, it seems things have changed a bit according to the new USDA Zone Map. Yep, things are a bit warmer than they used to be. Now that doesn’t mean you can start growing tropical plants in states like Maine, but you may be safe buying plants that survive a zone or two warmer than what you used to.

According to the zone map, I went from a zone 4b to a 5a. Of course, I am on the side of a hill with it’s own micro-climate so I am sure I am still a zone 4b, but I have noticed I can get away with planting trees and shrubs (like the Wolf Eyes Kousa Dogwood I planted a few years ago) and they survive even though they were rated for a zone or two warmer,so maybe I am in fact in zone 5.

Here is a link to the new USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

One nice feature is the ability to figure out your plant zones by zip code to get your personal USDA hardiness zone.

Will you be trying new plants because of the new map?