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I am studying a book called Carrots Love Tomatoes which discusses companion planting. I am taking notes to make a chart with the plants that like and dislike one another with the intention of plotting out the perfect raised bed plant arrangement. Thoughout the book it talks about not planting certain plants close to one another. But it never mentions just how far apart these plants need to be. So how close is too close????
 

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If the tomato can reach the offending vegetable with a knife, he is too close. However, if he needs to aim down the barrell of a gun, he might be too far away. The ability to take out a cabbage with a slingshot in the heat of an argument is probably the right distance.

Sorry, couldn't resist!!
 

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And if the onions make the other vegetables cry it's probably much to close to them.

If the other veggies lean away from the garlic, the garlic is to close to them.
 

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Melissa, plant spacing in gardening is very much up for debate. Our native American ancestors used to plant veggies close together, close enough to climb and rely on one another for support and/or shade, such as in the 3 sisters method. Many people (including me) advocate double row spacing where you plant two rows (especially corn and beans and peas) within 3 or 4 inches of each other and separate the double rows by a couple of feet. In square foot gardening, plants are usually planted closer together than in any conventional "American" gardening system. Each method works equally well.
 

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I am studying a book called Carrots Love Tomatoes which discusses companion planting. I am taking notes to make a chart with the plants that like and dislike one another with the intention of plotting out the perfect raised bed plant arrangement. Thoughout the book it talks about not planting certain plants close to one another. But it never mentions just how far apart these plants need to be. So how close is too close????
It probably varies by region (based on moisture/fertility), so why not experiment in your garden this year. See what gets you the best yield for the area of land used.
 

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Melissa,

I'm right there with you! I have a couple of books, Carrots love Tomatoes should be here today too, but I square foot garden, so more complicated.

Here is what I've winkled out from pretty old hand gardeners and it seems to pass the logic test to me.

Whether you square foot garden or regular row garden or what not, spacing depends on the age of the plant. So, a tomato seedling that is getting into the ground at the start of spring doesn't actually need all the space that you've planted it in since that spacing is for the mature plant. Carrots on the other hand, have very close spacing but conveniently, also get planted earlier and are harvested, roots and all, while it is still spring.

So, for the standard of carrots and tomatoes, the advice I got was to plant carrot seeds around my tomato seedling at the carrots normal spacing. By the time the carrots are ready, the tomato is grown enough to start filling its space.

In SFG that is easier since I'm dealing with nice blocky square feet, but a row would work much the same I'm thinking if you put the carrots between the tomatoes.

Supposedly, this works for a lot of companions since many of them seem to have staggered growth and harvest times.

Good luck and please, share on here what you learn! How do you like that book?
 

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Melissa, for non compatible plants, I try and go with double the larger plant root zone.
Mainly about 3-4' apart, if the plant is fairly aromatic(herbs), I'll double or triple the distance.

Will
 

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You might want to take a look at the link below from the University of Arizona's cooperative extension site. It provides a brief overview of Navajo/Hopi planting techniques and includes a description of corn circles (close spacing within the circle but more distance between circles). I hope to try this technique this year with some heritage "blue" corn that originated with the nations of the desert SW...God willing and the rain comes this growing season.

http://ag.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/html/pubs/0603/corn.html
 

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Don Corleone always advocated that you shoud keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Seems counter intuitive to me. Also, it's worth noting that he died in a mater patch, so his gardening knowlege is suspect anyway.
 

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*laugh* I think you worded it perfectly Melissa, and we're just having fun with it ;-). There are some crops I literally space across the garden from each other, in a pinwheel pattern. Like potatoes and tomatoes. But while it has been observed that certain plants don't seem to have a harmonious relationship with other plants, it's been my experience that I do much better concentrating on what goes well together, than on what supposedly does not. No, I would not plant tomatoes and potatoes cheek by jowl, but would I plant them a row apart with something aromatic between them? Sure.

As someone pointed out, the trick to the whole thing is to try and get maximum use out of every square inch of soil, every bit of sunlight, every drop of water. Last year I grew sunflowers for the girl (and her sheep). Sunflowers are notorious space and water hogs. So under the sunflowers went early swiss chard. As the flowers went up the chard was replaced by squash (winter) and pole beans. The pole beans grew up the sunflowers, the squash rolled around the sunflowers, the weeds gave up... and I feel like I got my garden's worth out of that space, which yielded too many beans, too many squashes, and more than enough sunflowers to keep everyone happy. All in about a... I'd say 12' ish circle.

Likewise I'll do a salad blend and sow it quite thickly. In there I'll include radish and carrot.. maybe some turnips. As I pull the radishes they loosen the soil (and make space) for the greens. Pop the baby turnips and you make a little more space. About the time the leaf lettuce is starting to get a little bitter the head lettuces needs more space anyway..

I grow leaf lettuce under broccoli, which works very nicely for both plants, and stick my onions here, there, and in the corners, rather than trying to do an "onion bed" which seems to turn into a weeding nightmare.

The only thing I've been consistently unable to match crops with are snap peas. I've never been able to stake them robustly enough so I can grow something around their roots. They always collapse, escape, and take over every square inch of the space they're allowed.

My goal this year is to have something producing much earlier than our June vegetable arrival of last year (I was almost to the point of gathering spring grass for a salad!) and have protected beds to extend the season as far into fall as we can. I'm doing endive this year, something I haven't done in ages, because you can harvest endive from buckets for most of the winter months.

But my Big Goal is to do this all within a very modest budget, which doesn't allow for much more expansion into additional garden space. So we're going to have to get very organized and be on top of what we're managing in the space we have.
 

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I've gone back to the drawing board a few times now because I'm trying to do the same thing. My husband has given up on trying to talk to me if I have the seed catalogs, my various books, and the ruler in front of me. He leaves the room if I start erasing something. He doesn't want to be there when my head explodes. I think he is also trying to avoid me asking him to go dig up more of the yard, and I don't care if there is a foot of snow out there!

Right now I am trying to focus on a couple combinations I am either trying to avoid, and also a couple I want to do together. The space apart depends on the reason the plants shouldn't be near each other, for me. If it is an insect problem, I try to put them on opposite sides of the garden. If it is that they both draw the same nutrients from the soil, I put something between them and plan on adding more compost.

This is still all on the drawing board here though. :)

Kayleigh
 

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Melissa, when you are done with all the hard work of what needs to be next to each other and what needs to be on the other side of the garden, could you PLEASE post your findings, or where to find that info? I would love to know. Rose
I was going to ask this too. :shrug:
 

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Melissa, I used the chart for companion planting in this link last year and we had the best garden ever. Maybe it was just the weather, but maybe the planting had something to do with it,too. Here it is: http://attra.ncat.org/marketing.html I have a copy of the chart in with my seeds now so when I plant I have the chart right there.
Charliesbugs, I am not finding that chart at that url? I am sure I just missed something. Can you tell me which particular link on that page to use?

Thanks,
Cindyc.
 

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Oh I love that book, it's falling apart because of the many times I thumb through it.
In my experience,, since I have several areas to plant in, via the main garden, a raised bed here and there by buildings, and my containers, I can usually keep things that really dislike each other father apart. I haven't noticed things really hampered in their production, except for when I planted eggplant with the potatoes. The eggplant suffered horribly, in that it didn't grow well and din't produce anything, but it is supposed to keep the potato beetle at bay, so it was probably just for that control and not really expecting anything else from it. I do plant my eggplant in an old round rinse tub and they do very well.
I've planted peas and radishes in rows and then once they were established, set out my cucumber plants in amongst them. Advantages: every thing produced very well. I let some of the radishes go to seed and it seemed to keep the pests away from the cucumbers. What I would do differently? I would use a better, heavier staking method for the peas: I have a friend who does peas in a raised bed using the concrete wire for the plants to grow on. I also needed to space the rows a little farther apart. All in all, it was messy to look at, because I didn't allow enough space, but I got my peas, I had my radishes & cucumbers for my salads and I canned 50 quart jars of garlic dill pickles. There were also enough cucumbers to feed to the feathered fowl.
Since I have re-done my garden area with all raised beds this year--I'm so excited about this--One bed will be peas with a heavy wire fence piece, radishes and cucumbers. Although I plant the small pickle bush variety of cucumber, it doesn't spread much, it will be able to climb the fencing.
One bed will be a new space for strawberries and while I am waiting for them to fill in, I will plant spinach in among them.
My beds are made with concrete blocks, so in the two holes around the cabbage & broccoli bed I will plant, thyme, oregano & sage.
In the past I've had two small gardens, one on the south side of my house and one on the west side of my house. The west garden I planted cabbage & broccoli, grean beens, and potatoes. I wouls just rotate the rows each year. They liked it becuse I got all I needed for my family for the year. The other garden had the tomatoes, onion and garlic between the tomato plants. I had rows of carrots with pepper plants between the rows of carrots. Rows of beets, spinach & lettuce, with peas.
This year I get to put this all together in my raised beds. I am also going to plant some onions, parsley and garllc by my rose bushes.
One thing I am enjoying immensely, is the use of containers. I have been blessed to receive some old, about 4 feet tall, round baby pig feeders. Made of a cast iron base and steel tube, I have filled these halfway with soil, small sticks and leaves. Then filled the rest with potting soil. These containers grow the best tasting carrots I have ever eaten. Hardly any weeds, I don't have to crawl down the row weeding them, and they are right by my outdoor harvest sink, so I can clean them all outside, take the tops to the fowl and then bring them in to can. Other containers I have are round, agrculture seed sorters and old watering troughs for my spinach and lettuces. These are about 2 feet tall and about two feet across. It is so unbelievably easy to take care of them. Just keep them watered and I have all the salad I want and enough to share with my greens loving critters.
I think it's just a matter of trying the different things and finding out what works for you. Have fun.
jd
 

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Sorry I may have worded this poorly. I meant to ask how far apart to plant different crops that tend to dislike one another. For example the book says not to plant sunflowers close to potatoes, but how far apart should that be?
Check out post #8
 
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