We have June, summer is pounding on the gates, and we can enjoy the first fruits of (your) gardening. The weather is good (except for the storms and flash floods at the turn of May and June, right ?!). Nevertheless, I firmly believe that your gardens are full of colors, life and joy.
And again the diversity
Companion planting. What is it all about? There are various definitions and interpretations that share a common principle. Yes, that is, you guessed it, diversity again. Natural diversity can generally be considered as one of the main pillars that is key to the health of the habitat (of our world in general). In nature, everything is in constant interaction with everything, which creates a so-called complex life force. This force can be understood as an exchange of energies in all its forms - a kind of engine of life and diversity in your garden (on planet Earth) and as another supporting pillar for the proper functioning of the ecosystem. Something is constantly happening, day, night, every second, everywhere.
In comrade cultivation, the exchange of these energies between species in various forms is widely used. Such as smells, colors (lure or repulsion based on a certain wavelength), nutrient transfer or, conversely, the transfer of toxins as a deterrent or killer using various forms of transmission, etc. Quite logically, this method finds an analogy in nature. Comradical or fragmented (if you will) cultivation can practically be considered as an artistic field in horticulture, in which the systematic arrangement of individual species of plants is used using their abilities and characteristics.
Each garden is unique
In the temperate climate, where our beautiful land is located, we are limited (enriched) by all four seasons. This means that conceptually it is possible to use the same pattern, which is determined by our location. However, like any habitat or biocorridor, your garden is its own unique place. And, as in other sustainable systems, it is above all necessary to know what it lacks, what it needs and what it does not. Learn to "listen" to her. More specifically, the most important thing is somehow generally to feel a wide benefit for all creatures and plants, which can be obtained from the methodological distribution of selected crops, trees and the composition of the individual elements of the garden. This benefit must be spread evenly among all participants, not just for your harvest. This is one of the key factors in a successful sustainable system.
Several of Holmgren's principles can be broadly applied to comrade cultivation. Namely: Watch and act. Prefer integration over separation. Use small and slow solutions. Take advantage of diversity and respect it. Use the changes creatively, react creatively and positively to them. So if you respect them, your garden will undoubtedly reward you with a healthy and nutritious harvest.
All the knowledge gathered around this method was obtained on the basis of patient experimental procedures performed by growers in recent decades. And as mentioned above, each garden or system, if you will, is its own unique place, which needs a somewhat different approach. That is why it is very popular to call comrade cultivation a form of art
The last release was a natural protection against pests with the help of other animals. By the way, I had a lot of fun (and I firmly believe that you too). In comrade cultivation, the goal is to find the ideal balance between repelling, pests, or supporting allied animals and organisms.
Some crops can secrete specific chemicals that effectively repel pests and thus protect neighboring plants. For example Marigold and various species velvet they secrete through their own root system a specific chemical repellent that effectively repels various species of nematodes that normally parasitize plant root systems. The infested plant usually dies.
Further Rosemary is a great helper to repel the Kovosklec caterpillar and other species of caterpillars, snails and snails. Peppermint is an excellent repellent that will effectively drive away Dřepčík, a beetle whose larvae like to enjoy the roots of your crop, and Molica, the eater of plant juices. Heron (a very rare herb in the Czech Republic) is extremely effective at repelling hares, mice, moles and voles. The arsenal offers a range of other crops. In short, I present the most common representatives, whose abilities you may have no idea about, and in parentheses are pests that would rather avoid them. Basil (Housefly, mosquitoes, but beware of Molice!). Coriander (aphids, Mandelinka potato, Sviluška snovací). Dill (aphids, caterpillars of butterflies, eg beet white). Garlic is an herb of herbs (all worms that attack roots, caterpillars and your cabbage greedy hares and wild rabbits). And many others.
Lure of beneficial animals
Lemon balm, a very popular herb for its wide use, effectively attracts bees, which are necessary to pollinate most crops that provide us with food. Important representatives can be found in the family Miříkovité, as Dill, Fennel, Parsnip sown, Loin anise, Parsley or Carrots. These effectively attract predators, such as hoverflies, whose prey are aphids, caterpillars, etc. The inflorescences of these herbs provide food to adult predators, which at this stage of development feed exclusively on nectar. However, their larvae are a bane for thrips, aphids, caterpillars and other pests.
If you own a smaller army of ducks, do not hesitate and occasionally allow them to "walk" in your garden. In this case, you do not need any attractive plants, because seeing them graze in a garden full of insects is attractive enough for these birds. Ducks are really handy helpers just like a hedgehog (see my article in the last issue). In return, they fertilize the flowerbeds and give you meat or eggs. Vineyards in South Africa (Vergenoegd Wine Estate in Stellenbosch) use help from about eight hundred such helpers. You can watch a video of their parade on the Internet. Very fun spectacle, which has become a local tourist attraction. I recommend checking it out.
Deception and lure of pests
The best example of how to deceive a pest is planting Lichořeřišnice around tomatoes, which will act as a deceptive target for aphids. Once the Lichořeřišnice is infested, it needs to be removed from the flowerbed before the young aphids develop their wings. Then it is best to burn the infected plant. Borage offers a similar effect against lichen caterpillars, which like to enjoy tomato leaves.
Interesting properties are offered, for example, by legumes such as peas or beans. Then clover, alfalfa and various trees. They are united by a common ability to bind atmospheric nitrogen very easily through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria of the genus Rhizobium. This ability provides enough nitrogen, an important element needed for healthy growth and disease resistance, not only for your own use but also for neighbors. A similar effect can be achieved by using combinations of beans or peas, which you can plant among the already mentioned corn, cucumbers, parsley, carrots and a whole range of chestnut vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, etc.).
In comrade cultivation, it is important to master the regular rotation of crops. Most of the vegetables we like to consume vary in soil requirements. For example, all cherries, tomatoes or corn have high nutrient requirements that require soil rich in phosphates, nitrogen, calcium and other important elements. While, for example, root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, radishes, beets, etc. are less demanding, they do not mind "poorer" soils. And then there is the third group of so-called "donors". These are crops that can increase the concentration of nitrogen in the soil and thus enrich it. These representatives include the (above-mentioned) legumes. As a result, you will get the best results in crop rotation if you alternate between the following categories: low-soil vegetables are replaced by high-demand ones, followed by "donors". Such rotation should have a beneficial effect on rejuvenating the soil and restoring nutrients in it.
A few words about the diagrams or the landscape architect a little differently
Comrade cultivation is a technique of planting selected crops that are mutually beneficial. In addition to the energy exchange mentioned in the introduction, the method also uses characteristic crop structures. For example, shade-preferred crops such as lettuce can be planted with sun-loving crops such as sunflowers. Spilling beans will welcome corn in the neighborhood when they are very happy to wrap themselves around its stalk, etc. The diagrams show the proposed layout in 2D. However, you (logically) have to reckon with the fact that your project activity also requires a third dimension (head up) and possibly a fourth one - time. Take into account, for example, how the young walnut tree you have just planted will cast a shadow in ten years and how much of its crown will cover the areas below it. Due to the characteristic properties of walnut, it has an antagonistic effect on most common garden crops. It is therefore better to drop it on the edge of the system. You will also find a similar one with some conifers and shrubs (eg Vejmutovka Pine or Hawthorn). So plan based on location, area, altitude (overall; differential if your land is hilly) and time. Don't worry, it's not such "alchemy".
Specifically to the diagrams. In blue you will find the layout of herbs and vegetables. For example potatoes they like society beans, maize, crystal vegetables or eggplant. if you decide paprika to get out, she loves to sit in the company basil, Borage medical, beans, onion, salad. But be careful to get into your hair just with potatoes or eggplant. Well, the relationships between potatoes, cucumber, cherry vegetables and tomatoes are clear from the diagram. You fight. It's like sitting at a table in a pub "ultras boys" from Sparta and Slavia. That would be a chirp. Beans scarlet Like other types of beans he likes in society maize, peppers, a crystal vegetables. However, he can't stand enough for an as yet unexplained reason sunflower whose beets (The relationship is generally known; but unfortunately I have not found any study or similar justification for why, ed. note). Most herbs are generally tolerated with any vegetable. But beware, there are exceptions!
As for the yellow diagram, vratič he likes to be surrounded apricots, peaches, apple trees, blackberries, blueberries, In the meantime grapes they prefer to grow together with garlic whose watercress. An interesting exception is the fruit trees. All those mentioned in the article are perfectly fine with chestnut or eggplant vegetables (aubergine, pepper, tomato) except for apricot. It is better to place it further away from the named ones.
And last but not least, it is generally known that growing herbs around fruit trees and orchards very positively promotes biodiversity, where interactions between species over time increase flexibility and resilience. Just like in the wild (zone 5 according to the permaculture diagram). Note that everything is freely modifiable and it's up to you and your imagination.
Promised recipes for natural pesticides
Because promises are to be fulfilled not only at Christmas. One thing is important to realize at the outset before you decide to use them. Even if you use ecological and environmentally friendly means from natural raw materials, it is still a relatively hard intervention "from the outside". In organic gardening, it is necessary to take note and accept the fact that you have to give up a certain volume of crops in favor of pests. This helps to maintain such an important balance. Never try to kill everything and at any cost. Sometimes the imaginary boundary, when it comes to natural development and when it is already an infestation, is wrong to look for. So it is best to listen to intuition. Therefore, evaluate the situation as carefully as possible and dose any pesticide use in reasonable amounts.
Wormwood tea - Cook a stronger time from dried wormwood. Let it cool down and dilute with water as needed. Apply the product by spraying on flower beds. Scared snails, snails and aphids.
Smelly repellent sprays - Many pests do not tolerate specific odors. Or target by scents. Eucalyptus or garlic sprays confuse or discourage them altogether.
Eucalyptus - Put 12 ml of eucalyptus oil and a few drops of detergent (detergent or jar) in one liter of water. Mix thoroughly and leave to rest. When most of the foam has subsided, apply the product.
Garlic - Chop about 120 g of garlic (may be peeled) and infuse in about 30 ml of mineral oil (or liquid paraffin) for 48 hours. Add ½ liters of water and about 7 g of pure soap bars. Stir, let stand and then strain. Stir the resulting filtrate in 25 liters of water and spray on the flower beds. Both products help well in the regulation of aphids, thrips and, in general, all pests with a so-called soft body structure.
Multi-purpose spraying - In a suitably large pot, mix 2 liters of used cooking vegetable oil with two liters of water, 90 grams of lye and about 10 grams of washing powder. Boil the mixture gently for about three hours. Let cool. The mixture should solidify. Divide the resulting "soap" into 25 pieces and always dissolve one in 2-3 liters of water and apply as a spray. The product is mainly popular among gypsumers. It works effectively on various mites, thrips and aphids and appears harmless to spiders.
Baking soda solution - Dissolve 125 g of soda in 6 l of water with 63 g of pure soap. Use the product as a spray. Avoid use on hot days. Spraying helps to get rid of various fungi and scabies.
Above all, gardening should be fun and responding to change should be a pleasant challenge. Sometimes a physically very difficult activity must bring a feeling of satisfaction from a successful work, etc. Rub it with a nice feeling of a job well done. That's what fills most of us. Then you will find satisfaction not only in yourself but also in your gardens.