This year, inspired by Mother Earth News, I decided to give "companion planting" a try. This is something that Native American's practiced in the Northern States for years, but for some reason we have gotten away from it as we look for more efficient ways to harvest crops in bulk. Since that is not my aim, companion planting seemed like a great option for our raised beds. The idea is that there are some plants that grow well together and are mutually beneficial to one another as they share close space. The classic example is creating a bed that has pole beans growing up the stalks of corn while squash and zucchini grow beneath them.
In this bed, I have planted cucumber that will hopefully grow up the headboard, green peppers, eggplant (black beauty) and growing up the hammock are peas. On the edge of each raised bed, I have planted wild flowers to encourage pollinators to come and fertilize our garden.
In this bed, I have sun-gold tomatoes, green bell peppers, purple bell peppers, and big boy tomatoes. My old bike will offer some stability as these plants grow larger, ideally.
This bed is the home to a large variety of tomatoes: romas, speckled, cherry, etc. I used dried out okra stalks from last summer to give them support while they are young.
In this bed we have carrots, onions and cantaloupe. This is the first time I have tried carrots and onions and so far so good.
This bed still houses collards and swiss chard from the fall. They are still growing well and we are still enjoying them. I've since added kale, mustard greens, butter lettuce, arugula and beets. I have okra beginning in this bed and my hope is that these tall plants will shade my greens so that I can keep harvesting them well into the hot summer months.
Here we have squash, zucchini, corn and pinto beans. So far so good. It is important for us to remember that we are tending a garden that really isn't ours. The Source of all life and energy is the one who keeps us in veggies and for that we are grateful. For now, I am happy to keep dirt under my nails and fresh air in my lungs.