Did you know that your veggies have friends and foes? True story! Tomatoes and basil are BFF. And fennel will definitely not be getting a second date with eggplant.
Soil Mates: Companion Planting for Your Vegetable Garden by Sara Alway is a new book about pairing plants in your garden to boost harvest, reduce pests and avoid chemicals. All good stuff right?
The book pulls off being cute, yet informative. It includes 20 common pairings. Each plant section includes: “turn-ons,” “turn-offs,” “needy alert,” “stalker alert” and “love triangles.”
There is a nice section covering basic garden preparation, plant care, beneficial insects, composting, seed starting and planting guidelines. There are recipes for each plant pairing if you are wanting ideas for what to do with your harvest as well!
I found the book to be on the heteronormative side with the author presuming a heterosexual female audience. Masculine/feminine attributes are ascribed to plants all the while the straight ladies in mind. Dill for instance is described as your garden’s loverboy. “Once he’s happily settled in, he’ll reward you by sowing himself throughout your veggie patch. … He’ll usually seed in anywhere he feels comfy.” Which can be loosely translated to: once you snag your guy and keep him happy he’ll surely give you lots of babies but watch out ladies, he’s gonna roam.” Ahem. “Female” plants (ed note: not in the botanical way) are described as dainty, delightful, demanding and mild-mannered. Those given male pronouns are vigorous, fast-growing and often “can’t be tied down.”
The material, however, is presented in an easily accessible manner, has cute graphics and would make a fun gift for the gardeners in your life. It would definitely be a nice resource for a newer gardener!
Enter to win a copy of the book (courtesy of Quirk Books) by leaving me a comment with your best gardening tip or a companion planting story or something new you are planning on growing in the garden this year! Choices! Enter by February 14th at midnight (PST). Winner will be randomly selected. Please leave me your email address (will not be shown).
Update: February 15th. By random generator the winner is Lacy over at http://ourgardeningadventures.blogspot.com/ Be sure to pop over and visit her on her gardening & chicken adventures! Congrats Lacy!