Ask a Question forum→Pairing plants in Vegetable Garden

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Massachusetts
dairyfreechocolate
May 12, 2020 11:34 AM CST
My seeds have arrived! I'm about to start my first vegetable garden! (in zone 5b)

Basically, my mom found some seeds in the basement, and turns out I miscalculated the amount of space I needed for carrots, so I have free bed space! I know some plants act as mineral/nutrient fixatives, or might compete for the same good stuff in the dirt, and wanted to make sure I don't pair anything I shouldn't.

I've got chives, scallions, parsley, and basil, and of which I could add to the raised bed I'm putting my carrots in. Would any of these be particularly good (or particularly bad) to plant with the carrots? I'm also thinking of adding a cucumber plant or two to the raised bed (yeah I did the math very badly).

If its all the same then I might as well go wild haha.

I hope everyone is safe and well!
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 12, 2020 12:22 PM CST
You're thinking about the chemistry.. but none of that growth happens without sunlight. Sun and temperature is going to be key to 99.9% of crops
The best way to work it out is to consider expected maturity size and timing.
Competition for sunlight (or avoidance of intense August sun for germination and seedlings of fall crop of cool weather veg) not nutrients, is the best way to do it.

For example carrots are cool weather crops, and will be long gone by the time your peppers start coming into fruiting season, so you can plant baby peppers in between your carrots. Basil and eggplant are similar. Tomatoes, expecially Indeterminate varieties get really tall, and should be behind (north of) the stuff that will stay shorter. Zucchini mature around the same time as tomatoes but can be planted in front (as the sun shines, so south of Tomatoes) because they won't get tall enough to shade the tomatoes, but they will get fat and bush and high enough to shade basil, and peppers, which should be in front of zucchini. In Late August you can plant sugar snap peas in between your tomatoes. The tomatoes will keep seedlings shaded from temps that would otherwise be too hot, and by October, when the tomatoes are dying back, your sugar snaps are climbing the same trellis or cage that kept your tomatoes upright, and as temps cool off the tomato foliage will die back giving more sun to the peas. At the same time, you can plant lettuce seeds around the base of your shorter summer veg,

Does that make sense? Think access to sunlight, maximum height/spread and harvest timing. Don't Worry about anything else

The plural of anecdote is not data.
[Last edited by Turbosaurus - May 12, 2020 12:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
May 12, 2020 12:30 PM CST
One of the most successful historic methods of planting is 3 sisters,
In a mound you plant corn, beans and squash. The corn grows tall, providing a trellis for the beans, and because they are skinny they don't shade the squash, but the fat squash leaves shade the earth around everyone's roots so it doesn't dry out.

Crops are about sun water and temperature. While nutrients can boost yields, they're almost never the limiting factor,
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Massachusetts
dairyfreechocolate
May 12, 2020 12:33 PM CST
Awesome, thank you so much!
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
May 12, 2020 12:47 PM CST
Just one thing, I'm almost sorry I mentioned corn. To get a decent harvest you need cross pollination which means lots of plants. To grow corn successfully, you need a pretty big Patch..

It will grow like crazy as long as it gets sun, but less than ~50 plants you're just growing stalks and your harvest will be skimpy to non-existent... corn alone can be grown pretty close but 3 sisters needs a lot more space.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
[Last edited by Turbosaurus - May 12, 2020 12:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
May 12, 2020 1:26 PM CST
With What you mentioned, chives scallions and parsley all tolerate cold weather, they could have gone out 3 weeks ago.
Chives stay short... 8-12" they don't spread, so give them a nice upfront spot. Scallions get 2 ft. I kinda shove them into any gap in the garden. Pinch off flowers to sustain growth all summer.
Parsley will bolt when it gets hot, but be patient. Pinch the flowers all summer, and once it cools off in September, an established parsley plant will come back like crazy, survive early frosts. If you get a little mini dome/greenhouse to put out around first frost you'll have Parsley through December.

My grandma used to mulch these "tender perennials" (also including thyme and rosemary) high with lots of leaves through the late fall. Then throw an old moldy pice of carpet over the top After they died back around Christmas to keep the root from freezing. Ash Wednesday you take the cover off, fluff the mulch/compost and there was usually white parsley and allium sprouts waiting... our Easter dinner was seasoned w herbs from the garden. She was zone 5.

As I understand it, allium family ( onion, garlic, scallion, chive) have a nearly indefinite life span until you get a flood or pestilence. Parsley should be planted every year because even if you keep the roots from freezing, it only thrives through two summers, at the end of the second summer you harvest the root, which is now fat and delicious, like a branching turnup, only tasty! They'll continue to grow, but the end of the second summer is their peak

I have no data to support any of these claims beyond what I witnessed, what I ate, and "Grandma Rosy said so" Although she did feed her family and neighbors from the Great Depression through 2015
The plural of anecdote is not data.

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