Companion planting
“Are you trying to get to the root of it?” joked LJ.
Annie was standing in front of the newly mulched vegetable patch. They had spent the past few days cleaning it up in preparation for the fall garden. She gave him the side-eye.
“Do you mind helping with the layout of our winter garden? I’m having a hard time planning which vegetables make good companions for growth.”
“What you are describing is companion planting, and there’s a lot of wisdom in that idea. It means deliberately pairing plants that will fight disease and insects for each other, and in some cases, help boost growth. The right partnership can assist vulnerable veggies to grow and thrive. One plant can attract pollinators for both while its plant partner can repel pests.”
“Really? I thought we might plant beets, leeks, carrots, brussels sprouts, and Kohlrabi.”
“That will be a substantial and hearty garden. Let’s include garlic next to the beets because several creepy critters that like to feast on them are repelled by garlic. And, growing it improves the flavor of beets. Garlic also produces a sulfur, which acts as an antifungal that prevents disease in beets.”
“Can we use garlic bulbs that we bought from the farmers market?”
“Sure, we need to make sure we plant each clove pointed side up and water them consistently every few days. I like the idea of growing some garlic too because one clove is only 4.5 calories, but loaded with vitamins B1 & 6 and C, along with calcium, potassium, iron, and copper. It has a reputation for boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
“Okay, how about putting the leeks and carrots together?” said Annie
“That works. Did you know there were carrot flies and leek moths? Each repels the other’s pests. The carrots, an excellent source of beta carotene (the antioxidant that our body converts to vitamin A), will need full sunlight and good watering. The leeks also need full sun in well-drained soil, but the stem must stay underground, not exposed to light for the bulb’s blanching process, the edible portion to be successful. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and K, as well as iron and manganese.”
“What about the brussels sprouts and Kohlrabi?”
“We can plant the brussels sprouts on the other side of the beets, because they add magnesium to the soil, a boost for brussels sprouts, and put a Chamomile plant on the opposite side, which will enhance the flavor of the sprouts, and encourage faster growth through a unique chemical it releases. But only one because chamomile spreads fast. I am a bit surprised you want to plant Kohlrabi. It’s not a plant we’ve previously incorporated in our diet.”
“I know, but I’ve been reading about it and learned that it is easy to grow. The bulb, stems, and its leaves are all edible. It can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, or roasted. It is high in fiber, calcium, and potassium. Nutritionally, Kohlrabi is good for the digestive system and is known to help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and risk for heart disease. It is only 36 calories per cup, 2 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs of which 5 are dietary fiber, and it is a good source of vitamin C, B6, and potassium.”
It sounds like we need to get familiar with Kohlrabi by planting some, and by the way, have I told you recently how much I appreciate you?”
“LJ,” sighed Annie, “That is sweet, now let’s get to work.”

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced to the readers of the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy
eating and earth-friendly practices.


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