Monday, April 16, 2012

What to Plant Where

About a year ago I posted about companion planting.  Now that it's garden planing time again, I thought that I would re-visit that post.

Companion Planting

This year, however is going to be a little different for me.  Not only am I in a different growing zone, but I also plan on saving as many seeds as I can.  After researching how different plants are pollinated, I can better decide on what veggies that I can have multiple types of, how far they need to be from each other, etc.  Just a note, if you use a bag or covered cage this will keep out the insects needed for pollination.  In this case hand pollination would be needed.

Below I have listed several types of veggies that are good for beginning seed collectors.

Beans- Green Beans are self-pollinating, therefore they generally don't get pollinated by insects.  But because cross-pollination is possible, you should plant different varieties at least 100 feet apart.  If space is an issue, planting other flowers nearby can divert bees away from bean flowers.

Carrots (these are generally not for beginners but I am going to give them a-go anyways)- Members of the carrot family are pollinated by bees and can easily be cross-pollinated by wild carrots or Queen Anne's Lace.  Different varieties of the carrot family that are grown for seed should be at least a 1/2 mile apart.  Of course this isn't feasible for most home gardeners, so if you plant other varieties or have wild carrots nearby, a covered cage or bagging would be necessary.  Another alternative would be to rotate year to year which varieties you allow to flower.
  • celery and celeriac.
  • dill.
  • chervil.
  • coriander, cilantro.
  • carrot.
  • fennel.
  • parsley.

Broccoli/Cabbage (another one not really for beginners)- Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and can cross-pollinate with other members of the cabbage family.  These plants require up to a mile of distance isolation.  Since these seeds will stay viable for 4 years, alternating from year to year, which plant you allow to flower, is probably the easiest way to save these seeds.
  • mustard greens.
  • black mustard.
  • rape, Siberian kale, rutabaga.
  • broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale.
  • turnip, Chinese cabbage, Chinese mustard.
  • arugula, roquette, rocket salad.
  • radish, daikon.

Lettuce- Separate this self-pollinating vegetable at least 20 feet from other varieties to ensure purity.

Peas- Peas are self-pollinating.  If another variety is flowering at the same time, separate with about 50 feet of space or use a covered cage or bag.  However, because pollination happens before the flower opens, cross-pollination shouldn't be an issue.

Peppers- Peppers are another plant that produces self-pollinating flowers.  Just like Peas, separate with 50 feet of space or cover when they are flowering.

Tomatoes- If you are planting heirloom tomatoes, it is best to plant at least 100 feet away from other varieties, with another flowering crop separating them.  If the variety you have is a newer tomato variety then 10 feet should be good.  I am not sure why there is such a difference, but why argue with the pros?

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