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This month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work. In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.

 

This week I want to talk about another way to protect and nurture your plants.  I want to discuss companion planting.

 

What is Companion Planting?

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac defines companion planting as:

 

“Time-honored gardening wisdom says that certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and yields. For instance, some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, while other plants (particularly herbs) act as repellents. Additionally, plants that require a lot of the same nutrients as their neighbors may struggle to get enough for themselves, producing lackluster crops.”

Companion planting certainly makes sense when you think about it. Have you ever noticed that nature doesn’t grow just one type of plant in an area, but likes to throw numerous varieties together? It is not natural to grow a monocrop and a lot of the reason for that the variety supports the natural balance of nutrients in the soil.

 

The Benefits of Companion Planting

 

The benefits of companion planting include

 

1.       Shade Regulation where the taller plant shades a shorter more sun sensitive plant.

 

2.       Natural Supports where sturdy, fast growing taller plants provide natural support for vining plants.

 

3.       Improved plant health-one plant provides nutritional support for another plant species.

 

4.       Healthy soil-some plants have deeper taproots that prevent soil compaction.

 

5.       Weed suppression-planting sprawling plants around upright plants to suppress weeds.

 

Three sisters Gardening is the best-known form of companion planting.

 

Three Sisters Gardening Style

 

https://hubpages.com/living/A-Three-Sisters-Garden-Bed

 

Here are some related articles about the individual types of plants grown in a three sister’s garden.

 

Growing All Varieties of Winter Squash

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-All-Types-of-Winter-Squash

 

Extend Green Bean Harvest Upward with Pole Beans

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Gardening-with-Pole-Beans

 

For the Best Sweet Corn, Grow It in Your Own Backyard

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Raising-Your-Own-Sweet-Corn

 

Three sisters isn’t the only way we can use companion planting. Here are a few other articles that explain how other plants can be part of companion planting. 

Growing Beets in the Home Garden

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-Beets-in-a-Garden-Bed

 

Sweet Peppers Companion with Sweet Basil

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Plant-Sweet-Peppers-with-Basil

 

The Hottest Tips for Growing Hot Peppers at Home

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Hot-Peppers-in-the-Garden

 

Growing and Saving Seed from Heirloom Tomatoes

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-and-Saving-Seed-from-Heirloom-Tomatoes

 

 Simply Vegetable Gardening

 

These and many more tips can be seen in my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. Simply Vegetable gardening is available on Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JHV15G6

and in Print:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-brown/simply-vegetable-gardening-simple-organic-gardening-tips-for-the-beginning-gardener/paperback/product-21579298.html

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It is fun to garden by using methods used by the pioneers. Not long ago, I read about how settlers in the forests in Western Pennsylvania first cleared the forests. They didn’t have chainsaws and heavy equipment to excavate. Because they often lived as much as a hundred miles from the nearest large settlement they had to depend on their own self-sufficiency so planting a crop as soon as possible was always top priority. In order to get crops planted as early as possible, the men would arrive at their holdings in the autumn months. They would live in makeshift huts that they could build in a few hours and then set to girding the trees where they would plant their crops in the spring. Girding is done by cutting a swath of bark completely around the circumference of the tree so that when spring came the tree’s sap would run out and the tree would die. During the rest of the winter the men would clear brush around the trees and cut down some of the trees to build their homes and out buildings as well as to cut for fuel. In addition, they would go trapping.

In late winter after trapping season, they would return to civilization. There they traded back what they had trapped during the winter at the settlement where their wives and children remained while they were preparing their holdings. They would buy corn for planting and took their families to their new land. There they planted the corn often in the three sister’s tradition of the Native Americans in the moist soil around the now dead trees. Plowing was not necessary. They simply pushed aside the leaf litter on the ground and buried the seeds in the rich dark loam. During those first early years, hoeing and cultivating was not necessary which was good because there was more than enough work to keep the settlers busy.

The Three Sisters Gardening Use by the Early Settlers was an adaptation of Native American techniques.

The settlers learned how to garden from the Native Americans. Many Native American tribes grew Indian corn. This is the history of the Iroquois and their way of growing corn. http://hubpages.com/education/Iroquois-Corn

 

Three sisters gardening is an age old technique that utilizes the synergy between corn, beans, and pumpkins or winter squash.Click here to read my article about this technique http://hubpages.com/living/A-Three-Sisters-Garden-Bed

Friday’s Video- Not Quite early pioneers, but here is video of how the farmers farmed in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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