Since becoming a master gardener in 2013, I frequently give workshops at local community gardens. Today, I had the opportunity to give a workshop at Ute Trail Garden in Lakewood where several of my friends garden. I am sharing the outline of my program for those who could not attend or would also like to learn about seasonal, companion and succession gardening.
The following are methods used by successful gardeners to maximize their harvest, minimize pests and promote healthy soil.
- Some plants grow well together, others do not
- Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.
- Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and 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.
- Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes — praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders — that dine on insect pests.
- 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.
- Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn
- Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.
- Cold season vs. warm season crops
- Last frost date – keep track – generally mid-to –late May in Colorado
- Cold season crops can be planted before the last frost and some can overwinter under mulch examples: lettuce, kale, carrots, spinach, radishes, onions, sweet peas
- Warm season crops are planted after the last frost and some need the soil to be warmer examples include pumpkins, squashes, many flowers, beans, basil, corn, sunflowers, tomatoes, peppers, melons
- Benefits of succession plantings: maximize space, extend harvest window, maintain a continuous supply
- Make the most efficient use of space and timing to increase productivity
- Two or more crops in sequence.After one crop is harvested, plant another in the same space. Plant lettuce every 3 weeks; two crops of carrots
- Interval succession planting. Make repeated plantings of the same crop, planting the same variety at timed intervals. Succession Planting Interval Charts.
- Two or more crops concurrently. Plant several different varieties, typically with different maturity dates Sometimes referred to as “intercropping” and “companion planting.”
- Same crop, different maturity dates. Plant several varieties, with different maturity dates — early, mid season, and late — at the same time. As they mature over the season, you harvest them one after the other.
Handout on Companion Planting:
4 X 4 Plot Planting Plan with Cold and Warm Season Crops:
Vegetable Companion Planting Chart:
Pictures of Ute Garden: