Choosing the Right Plants

When planning a garden, selecting the right plants for your patio garden depends on several factors. The amount of sunlight or shade your patio gets, may also limit your selections.

Most people choose plants based on their visual appeal, as with flowers i.e. color, bloom size or shape, or on their usefulness as with vegetables and herbs. But consider this: choose plants that will help each other grow and you will create a healthier, more abundant garden.

The theory is that certain plants can benefit others when planted in close proximity. Plants offering some mutual benefit are called companion plants and their interactions contribute to the creation of a balanced eco-system in your garden.

Companion planting has evolved from historical observation, horticultural science and gardeners’ ingenuity coupled with trial and error experimentation. Early settlers were taught by Native American gardeners to plant the “Three Sisters” – corn, beans and squash – because of their symbiotic relationship. Corn provided the structure for the beans to climb; the beans replenished the soil with nutrients; the squash leaves conserved water and controlled weeds.

In our modern vegetable and flower gardens, there are many benefits to be derived from the symbiotic relationship of companion plants: Plants with strong odors attract, deter and even confuse certain insect pests. Planting something that is particularly attractive to damaging pests distracts these pests from the main crop.

Certain herbs both attract beneficial insects and repel insect pests, making them ideal companions for both flowers and vegetables. Sage, thyme, oregano, tansy, rosemary and mint protect neighboring plants with their strong scents while their flower nectar encourages pollinators to visit the garden. Dill attracts the tomato hornworm, so plant it away from your tomato plants to keep them free of this hungry pest. Dill is also a food plant for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar.

In addition to attracting good insects and repelling bad ones, some herbs actually improve the yield and flavor of other plants. Bee balm with its showy flowers and aromatic leaves attracts bees and beneficial insects as well as improves the flavor of tomatoes. Basil, a garden favorite, improves the flavor of tomatoes and lettuce and repels flies and mosquitos. Another common herb, marjoram, can be liberally planted in the garden to enhance the flavor of vegetables and other herbs.

Harnessing the powerful benefits of companion plants will give you a more diverse garden, which in turn means a stronger, more disease-free garden. Why not let your plants get by with a little help from their friends?

Below are a few types of plants that we recommend because we've grown them ourselves...and with GREAT results!

Fruits & Vegetables
Citrus (dwarf type)

Parsley - coming soon!
Chives - coming soon!
Tarragon - coming soon!
Thyme - coming soon!

Marigold - coming soon!

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