Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Inter-planting two different plants, because of the benefits each has for the other is called Companion Planting. Some plants need light and others require some shade. Some have deep roots that break up the soil and other short-rooted varieties benefit by having the soil broken up for them.

There are plants that are heavy nitrogen feeders and those that don’t require as much. Legumes, such as clover, peas, beans and alfalfa capture nitrogen from the air for assimilation. They have bacterial nodules on their roots that fix nitrogen from the air, thus building up the nitrogen content in the soil. As an added bonus, the lush root growth of a legume aerates the soil.

Corn, on the other hand, is a heavy nitrogen feeder. Inter-planted with a legume such as beans, the two are compatible. Let’s take it a step farther. Plant pole beans, corn and squash or pumpkin seeds in the same planting hole at the same time. The pole beans will grow up the corn stalks and squash or pumpkin plants will act as living mulch keeping the soil moist and suppressing weeds.

Beans also grow well with carrots and cauliflower. Lettuce grows well with beets.

The cabbage family of ‘cole’ crops include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi. Late cabbage and early potatoes do well together.  Dill, sage, rosemary, chamomile, and members of the peppermint family are companion plants to all members of the ‘cole’ crop family.

Chives are commonly taken for granted in the home garden. They are usually never attached by disease or insect. It is said that when chives are planted among roses, they repel aphids.

Cucumbers appreciate some shade and will grow well in alternate rows of early cabbage, early potatoes or corn.

The marigold gives off a substance from its’ roots that kills nematodes in the soil. It has also been reported that tomatoes grow better and produce more fruit with marigolds present. The odor of the foliage and blossoms of the marigold are helpful as a ‘natural’ insect repellent. Planting marigolds randomly throughout the garden is also very pleasing to the eye.

Planted near one another, some types of plants benefit from companion planting.

(c) Cindy Morgan   Permission to reprint – must include credit to author and link to webpage.       




The Clematis can be successfully grown as long as a few basic needs are met. It prefers a rich, well drained soil and a neutral PH. Our Pacific Northwest soils tend to be high acid. To sweeten the soil to a neutral level, add one handful of ground limestone to the hole before planting.

Most Clematis enjoys a sunny location with a root system that is cool and moist. To achieve this, plant the Clematis near a ground cover or some shrubbery.

Make sure it is in a sheltered area away from most wind and provide some kind of support for it to grow on. The Clematis will reach lengths of 12 to 20 feet.

A strong crown will develop if the Clematis is placed in the ground, a couple of inches below the old soil line on the plant.

Deep planting often prevents the Clematis from dying due to Wilt disease. Wilt fungus attacks at the soil surface and kills the plant tissues above ground.

Consider planting Clematis with a climbing rose. Both appreciate the same soil conditions and the rose will usually outgrow the strangling ways of the Clematis.

Many of our popular varieties were brought out 60 to 100 years ago, so the Clematis is not a ‘new’ plant.

Here are some small flowered varieties: Minuet, Venosa Violacea, Etoile Violette, Little Nell, Alba Luxurians, and Abundance. They flower from July until September and may be pruned to the crown after bloom.

C. cirrhosa balearica and Marie Boisselot enjoy a shaded north wall. If you have a Clematis that isn’t blooming, it may be planted in too shady of a location.

Spring flowering varieties need no regular pruning. Pruning should be done after flowering to remove dean wood and to shape the plant. Doing this will eliminate a ‘bird’s nest’ effect. Pruning now will provide ample time for the flower buds to develop for next spring’s show. Clematis armandii, C. macropetala, C. alpine, and C. Montana are all spring flowering varieties.

For varieties that start blooming in the middle of June, pruning should be done in late winter. A thick woody stump, not more than one foot high will result. If you want this type of Clematis to cover the side of a wall or a tree, pruning need not be so severe. Some varieties from this category are Victoria, Star of India, Jackmanii, Perle d’Azur, Comtesse de’ Bouchard, and Lady Betty Balfour. They are all hybrid varieties. Some species varieties classified under this bloom time and pruning conditions are C. flammula, C. Campaniflora, C. Viticilla, C. tangutica, and C. orientalis. All the above mentioned varieties flower on the tips of new shoots made in the current season. These shoots can be from 3 to 12 feet long.

Lastly, is a group of Clematis that flower on short, lateral growth made in the previous season. These are all hybrids and they will have large flowers between mid-May and mid-June. Examples are Lady Northcliffe, The President, Nellie Mosier, William Kennett, Lord Nevill and Belle of Woking. Prune only dead wood, After pruning, support the plants framework on a trellis for best display.

©1987 Cindy Morgan Permission to reprint – must include credit to author and link to web page.

Pre-holiday Trip to Oregon Coast

A pre-holiday trip to the Oregon Coast with my sisters, mom and aunt was restful and refreshing. We sipped chia tea lattes at a little coffee shop, in the early morning after walking the promenade at Seaside. We watched movies, ate good food and visited with one another. Some shopped, some napped, some walked in the surf. I can still hear the sound of the ocean waves pounding the shoreline.