Vail Landscape Logic column: Planting patterns for your garden
if you grow your own favorite salad ingredients, then you might want to consider a new planting pattern this year that lets you toss the salad when you plant it. The results will yield a healthier harvest and more flavorful combo when you grow your own garden this spring.
Plant the same staple ingredients as always — tomatoes, lettuce and herbs — but this year, toss your salad plants and herbs into a different growing pattern, allowing them to help one another.
Plant lettuce underneath tomatoes
As tomatoes mature, they will create shade for the lettuce, which is a cool-season crop. Lettuce leaves will like being kept cooler and shaded as temperatures continue to warm.
Plant basil nearby
Basil and tomatoes are companion plants that are beneficial for one another. Basil improves the growth and flavor of tomatoes and helps repel thrips — a common Colorado garden pest.
Add traditional herbs to the mix
Include common herbs of parsley, oregano, chives, tarragon and thyme in your garden mix. They enhance a winning garden combo because they promote health of other plants and repel common insects — not to mention their versatility in the kitchen.
Parsley repels harmful insects and attracts beneficial ones. If left to flower and go to seed, then parsley will attract predatory wasps and hoverflies that will kill caterpillars and other garden pests. (Note: Avoid planting mint and parsley close together as they are not good companions. Planted in proximity, neither plant will thrive.)
Oregano is not only a flavorful herb for salads and sauces, but it provides pest protection throughout the garden.
Chives repel aphids from tomatoes.
Tarragon is especially useful because few pests like it. If space permits, then plant it throughout the garden as it enhances growth and flavor of vegetables while repelling pests.
Keep your veggie garden pollinator friendly
Allow some herbs to flower to attract pollinators into the garden.
Plant lavender to attract butterflies and bees — but plant it away from doorways, walks and places where people gather. At the end of the season, collect dried flowers for fragrant potpourri and sachet pouches.
Plant zinnias to attract hummingbirds, bees and other insect pollinators. To promote more blooming, snip them to use as cut flowers in bouquets.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.