The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery
Do you envision a garden without pests? Where vegetables, herbs and fruits live in harmony?
Companion planting is your answer. The most famous companion planting trios are the three sisters. You have probably tried it in your home garden. Native American gardeners knew the benefits of growing the plants of corn, beans and squash together. The corn offers support for the beans; the beans capture nitrogen and release it into the soil. The squash leafs protect them all by creating living mulch that offers shade and keeps the soil cool.
In one way or another, companion planting has been used since ancient times by many different cultures. It still helps communities – and your garden – today.
In her book,The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting: An Easy, Organic Way to Deter Pests, Prevent Disease, Improve Flavor, and Increase Yields in Your Vegetable Garden, Josie simply explains how companion planting works. The split-page mix-and-match system is fun to use and creative, although it does take some getting used to. All you have to do is select your desired crop from the extensive plant directory, flip the strips, match the dots, and get ready for your vegetable garden to flourish! This is the first book I’ve read that started out with a “how to use this book” page.
Each plant is given a symbol, based on its companion planting strengths. It shows you how to use plant combinations to:
- Attract beneficial insects
- Use pollinator plants
- Choose plants that deter pests
- Prevent disease with plant combinations
- Use support plants
- Create ornamental combinations
- Lure pests with a Trap Crop
- Choose plants that provide shelter for other crops
- Supply nutrients to the soil
- Deter soil pests
- Plant a quick growing Catch Crop that can be harvested before slower crops mature
- Suppress weeds
- Improve flavor
- Choose plants that promote healthy and strong growth
- Improve soil through structure, texture or humus content
- Improve yield
Here’s how it works
Each card has planting instructions; location suggestions; growing tips; harvest, pest and disease tips, plus recommended cultivars. Choose a central crop from the middle cards. I chose:
Cucumber – Sow under cover mid-spring or plant outdoors in late spring or early summer when all danger of frost has passed. Plant in a sunny, sheltered spot in good draining soil. Keep the plants well watered, but keep the water away from the stem by making a mound of soil around it.
Chives – chosen from the top set of cards, will attract beneficial insects and pollinators. They also deter pests and prevent disease.
Radish – chosen from the bottom set of cards, is a catch crop that will quickly mature and improve the soil.
What I like about The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting
Josie gives us valuable information in the beginning of the book, not only about the history of companion planting but about the importance of fertilizing your garden, watering requirements and composting. There are sowing and transplanting tips, crop rotation guidelines and even suggestions about using the cycles of the moon and your garden.
I liked the individual cards and the suggestions for sowing, growing and harvesting on each one. That makes this book not only about companion planting but a useful book for gardening information in general.
I liked the feel of the book, the cover is not smooth but has texture. I imagined grabbing it with my gardening gloves and using it out in the garden.
Are there any drawbacks?
Sometimes the cards are hard to move around, they can get caught up in each other. I know I said I envision myself using it in the garden, but it’s probably an indoor book, best used as a reference while you are planning your garden. Even though they are made of card stock, I don’t think the cards will hold up under my grimy garden gloves.
Should you buy this book?
I think it is definitely worth the information it provides. Not only will you learn about companion planting for all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, but by following the guidelines set forth by Josie Jeffery, you can really create a garden without pests and have your plants live in harmony. Just think what that will do for your harmony too!
This book is a great addition to my gardening library.
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions are my own.