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I love using companion plants in my garden.  

Companion or complementary plants have qualities that help other plants in the garden.  They can repel bad bugs, attract pollinators and good bugs, fertilize the soil, prevent plant disease and in some cases – improve the flavor of fruit and vegetables.

I am a huge fan of using companion plants in the garden.  Nasturtiums and marigolds are planted among my vegetables and help to repel damaging insects.
I also plant garlic and onions, not only to eat, but also to help keep the bad bugs away.
The other day, I was researching an article that I was writing for a magazine and I found out that companion planting has its roots in early American history.
Native Americans would practice the “3 Sisters” method of companion planting.  They would grow beans, corn and squash in the same area.
All of these plants help each other:
– The corn provides support for the bean vines to climb upon.
– The beans take nitrogen from the air and convert to a form that the corn and squash can absorb in the soil.
– The squash shade the soil, helping to maintain moisture and keeps weeds from growing. 

So, my daughter, Gracie and I decided to adapt this plan for our garden and called it the “Two Sisters”.


We decided to plant some of our Kentucky beans (that we had been growing indoors in Starbucks coffee cup sleeves) next to the young corn in our garden.
(Gracie was happy to help me.  Please ignore the unbrushed hair, but it was an early Saturday morning and we had better things to do – like PLANT!)
You can see how big the beans had grown.
They grew quickly in the 2 weeks on my windowsill – just look at all the roots.


We planted them next to our corn, keeping the cardboard sleeve around them.  (The cardboard will disintegrate in the soil).

Just 3 days later, I can see the beans already climbing up on the corn.

I realize that we did not plant any summer squash to complete the “3 Sisters”, but to be perfectly honest – I don’t like squash.

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I spent 4 hours this morning, helping to add a hummingbird / butterfly garden with a pathway and benches in an area that is dear to my heart.

I can’t wait to share it with you soon.

On another front – we have been told that our insurance company will replace our carpet and paint some of our walls.  They took a piece of untouched carpet and padding and sent it to Florida to a place that will determine the quality of what we had, so that they can replace it with carpet/padding of comparable quality.

So, our living room is full of furniture of the kids rooms and other stuff.  We aren’t sure how long we will have to wait for our lives to get back to normal, but I am so grateful that insurance is covering the damages.

I hope you are off to a good start.

What are you doing in your garden this week?

Believe it or not, it is time to plant certain kinds of vegetables right now.  

Yes, I realize that it is August and it is hot and the last thing you probably want to do is have to plant seeds out in your vegetable garden.  


But, just keep telling yourself that by working a little bit now, you will reap the rewards of fresh vegetables in just a few months when the temperatures are cooler.

So what seeds can you plant now?  Here are some of my favorites….

Sweet Corn…
Yes, we can grow two crops of corn here in the desert – once in spring and in the fall.  Aren’t we lucky?
 
Cucumbers…
Mine are still going strong from the spring.  Mostly due to the shade cloth.  I am still getting cucumbers.  It is amazing what a difference shade cloth makes 🙂
Leaf Lettuce…
I think this is my favorite vegetable.  I love going out in the garden with scissors and clipping our dinner salad.
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There are also other vegetables that you can plant now from seed and they include:
Basil (okay, this is a herb, but I do grow it in my vegetable garden)
 Cabbage
Celery
Green Snap Beans
Head Lettuce
and 
Summer Squash

It’s important to remember to start these from seed when planting this time of year.  However, if you prefer using transplants, you will need to wait until fall to plant.
So, do you have any plans for planting vegetables soon?
I would love to hear what you will be growing 🙂