Planting combinations of plants together for function.

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by MountainGaurdian, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. MountainGaurdian

    MountainGaurdian Songster

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    I like to intermix plants and use the traits of one to benefit another.

    I like to plant zucchini, squash pumpkin etc on the north side of my potatoes. The potatoes are planted earlier and grow faster, by the time the potatoes go to flowering my other plants are climbing over them using them as a support system. While potato plants are not prolific flowering plants they do create more flowers to help attract pollinators to the blooming plants growing over the top of them.
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    Over the years I have often had trouble with my radishes bolting straight to seed, even if I plant when there is still snow on the ground they just grow so slowly in the cold spring weather that they aren't much of anything by the time it warms up. When it warms up they tend to grow fast but go straight to seed. I stumbled across the answer to this about a decade ago reading an article that mentioned the most popular bar snack in Germany was radish seed pods. Up to that point I had never heard of eating a radish seed pod before. So rather than let plants go all the way to full grown seed I started harvesting the young seed pods and voilla. In a bad year where all my radishes go to seed I can get a basket full of juicy tasty seed pods instead of a single radish... Honestly I have come to prefer the seed pods over the one singular radish.
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    In a good year when I get radishes I just harvest them down to where I am left with a plant about every square foot or so which leaves me a fairly thick growth of radish plants to collect pods from.

    After doing this for some years I realized that once a radish is to the point of seeding it doesn't really need much light or water etc. This got me to thinking of using the plants as a support system for other plants ie cucumber, squash, zucchini, peas, beans etc.
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    Another handy thing about radishes going to seed is that they produce a prodigious amount of flowers and continue to do so through out the summer drawing pollinators for the secondary plants growing within them using them as support.
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    I am always on the lookout for new combinations that work well together, anyone else have any combos that they use?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    I never knew that about radish seed pods, so going to look for those next season instead of just pulling out the flowering radishes. The only radish "trick" I knew of was to seed it with carrots, to help mark the carrots, as radishes can get pulled just about the time when the carrots are starting to sprout.

    One of my plans this year was to use my tomatoes to provide some shade to the lettuce as it tends to wilt in hot summer sun, though I didn't space the tomatoes well so most of the lettuce is getting too much shade. Will work on resolving that next year.
     
  3. Sueby

    Sueby Songster

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    I wish I liked radishes, that's a neat idea!

    I plant onions & scallions throughout the garden, some pests don't like them. I also plant lettuce under the cuke trellises & tomatoes for the shade.
     
  4. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

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    :popThe only things I've planted together are corn, pumpkins and beans but I'm very interested in this as I live in the desert and think this type of thing would help a lot!
     
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  5. MountainGaurdian

    MountainGaurdian Songster

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    That would be one thing about these seed pods, they aren't much like eating radishes. They are sweet like a sweet and juicy like a pea pod, have the crunchy texture of a pea pod and then have the mildly spicy radish flavor along with. Less hot and a better overall flavor than a radish in my opinion, although I am quite of fan of radishes as well.

    P.S.. One can also collect the seeds and sprout them on the kitchen counter in a jar as you would bean sprouts and make a zesty sprout for salads and whatnot. I also like to use the radish greens in soups and stir fries as well, it is basically like spinach for flavor.
     
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  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    Thanks for the info about the pods! I tried radish greens but wasn't a fan. Radish sprouts are good though... I should try sprouting some when they go to seed.

    In a similar vein I use carrot greens as both chicken treats and as a substitute for parsley (especially in cases where the parsley is just "something green" on top) and chopped chive flowers make for a pretty take on ranch dressing (purple speckles) while imparting some of that chive flavor.
     
  7. MountainGaurdian

    MountainGaurdian Songster

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    I grow carrots in the house in winter for a source of salad greens in the winter. I also sprout out garlic cloves and onions for fresh greens as well.
     
  8. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    On the subject of things going to seed, let a couple of them do that. You'll have a lifetime supply of radish seeds if you just let one radish go to seed every time you plant. Same for carrots and everything else that's normally harvested before it seeds.
     
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  9. equusgdess

    equusgdess Chirping

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    I am going to have to try radish seed pods next year, they sound yummy.

    I planted nasturtiums near my cucumber, pumpkin, and rosemary to act as "bait plants" for aphids and spider mites. Plus, having the pest bugs is bringing in beneficial bugs like ladybugs and lacewings.
     
  10. Sarahs Hens

    Sarahs Hens Chirping

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    Great ideas guys! I love radish and do several plantings each year. I like them best in fall because they're a little less spicy. I will definitely try the pods!

    I love planting marigolds and alyssum throughout the garden to bring in pollinators.. tucked in with the potatoes, tomatoes, on the corner of beds, etc. This year I've planted corn, beans, squash and cucumbers together. The setup kept my corn from frying in the heat last week.. the ground stayed cool and damp. But, I intend to plant less next year as the cucumber is taking over. I'm going to have to learn to pickle!
     
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