Garden Eye Candy: Charlotte’s Web and Companion Planting Guide

This lovely yellow garden spider has taken up residency in our garden.  That zig-zag pattern in her web is her stabilimentum, which sounds a lot like a Harry Potter spell if you say it forcefully while holding a wand.  We named her Charlotte and have been happy to host her especially since she’ll likely catch some nasty garden pests in her web.

It’s been hot here in Austin, but not nearly as bad as last year’s record-breaking brutal summer.  We also learned some lessons from a few seasons of growing and now have almost all of our plants on a drip irrigation system that we run every other day early in the morning.  So far the Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes have been the most bountiful summer providers.  We’ve also been able to harvest beans (pole and bush), herbs, carrots, and the last of our fall rainbow chard.  Our squash and zucchini are coming along.  There are a handful of peppers on our pepper plants.  The hot days and mosquito-filled evenings make it difficult to find time to work on the garden – luckily our raised beds and irrigation system mean reduced time weeding and watering.  It’s always worth braving the heat and getting a few bites for the reward of a quick harvest.

A while ago, I wrote up a Companion Planting Chart (click on the link to be taken to the document).  Companion planting is essentially a practice of planting specific crops adjacent to (or far away from) each other based on the principal that some plants assist others by repelling pests, providing nutrients, attracting beneficial insects, etc.  I was frustrated that there didn’t seem to be a comprehensive list of companion planting information, so I sat down and compiled a list from various sources.  Although this list is far from entirely comprehensive, I hope it’ll be a useful resource to gardeners.  Also, be advised that I’m by no means an expert in companion planting, just someone who spent some time doing research – there’s a good chance that some of the info on the chart is incorrect, and I know it’s far from complete.  If you come across any inconsistencies or information I’ve left out, please let me know.  Thanks and happy planting!

P.S. I just wanted to post links to a couple more handy gardening resources…

Travis County Planting Calendar: If you’re in the Austin area, this is a great month by month guide to what can be planted when.  Surprisingly, August is one of the months with the most crops you can plant, so get digging!

Carrots Love Tomatoes: The Companion Planting bible, available at BookPeople in Austin and probably at a local independent book store or public library near you… but don’t take my word for it!

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