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Friday, May 17, 2013

Companion Planting: Carrots Love Radishes

Companion planting is more of an art than a science.  Take my garden, for instance.  Contrary to what a very popular book would tell us, my carrots don't love tomatoes.  (Presumably, other people's carrots do -- that's why the book is popular.)  My carrots, on the other hand, love radishes.

Carrots can be a pain to grow, especially in the clay-y soil that we have in Ohio.  They take so long to sprout, and if that ground gets rained on and solidifies, it is hard for the fragile little carrot seedlings to break through.  Plus, carrot seedlings look like grass, and they take a long time to get those characteristic frond-like tops, so it is very hard to weed the carrot bed until it is almost too late.

Enter the radish.  Everything carrots lack in speed, the radish has.  They sprout quickly and finish quickly, often up and out within a month.  Along the way, they provide some shelter to the fragile carrot seeds and loosen the soil while displacing weeds.  Plus, you will yank and eat the radishes just when the carrots are needing the room to form their roots.  Finally, planting carrots with your radishes lets you start two crops simultaneously in the same space, so less use of your precious garden space and less effort spading or tilling or broadforking up the land.

What companion planting works in your garden?
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