A GARDENER’ DIARY: Bees are busy pollinating

Jocelyne Sewell shares her tips for companion planting in your North Okanagan garden

Although we got into spring just over two weeks ago, after last week it seems that we jumped right into summer. I am not complaining, but some of the plants might get a bit confused. The good news is that the bees are all over foraging for pollen and even bumble bees are at work.

I have been busy transplanting and transplanting some more. All my peas and sweet peas are in and in front of them, some lettuce which will be ready for picking in no time. The spinach is in and a bunch of arugula plants. All the geraniums and plants I had in the house are out during the day and now spending nights in the greenhouse except for basil and peppers which come back in the house after supper. Onions from sets should also be going in. Tip from West Coast Seeds: most of the bulb should form on the surface of the soil, so don’t transplant too deeply. Bulb size is dependent on the size of the tops: the bigger the tops, the bigger the bulb.

I planted some carrots in containers and they are up also. I will be transplanting some broccoli this week. According to the book about square foot gardening, you should have them spaced at 12 inches or five cm from each other. I noticed some little white butterflies already looking for spots to lay their eggs. They love cabbage and broccoli so I will have to cover them with row cover or practise companion planting. Consider the following pairings (and a few that dislike each other) when making your garden plans.

Beans get along with most veggies, but not onions.

Cabbage and broccoli love celery, beets, spinach and chard. This is a good place for your onions, too.

Carrots do well with peas, lettuce and tomatoes, but keep the dill at the other end of the garden.

Cucumbers like to be near beans, peas and radishes, but far from potatoes.

Tomatoes will thrive near carrots, cucumbers and onions.

If you plant some radishes close to cucumbers, you can let some go to seed. The seed pod is very tasty and good in your salad. If the radishes are not hybrid, you can even save some seeds.

Back to broccoli and cabbage, to avoid diseases, plant in soil that has not had a crop grown in it for at least four years. Years ago, I experienced club root in my cabbage on Vancouver Island where the soil is much more acidic. I could not grow them in that bed for seven years. When we think of the brassicaceae family, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower jump to mind. I came across a list of this family which also includes mustard, rapeseed, canola, rutabaga, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, rapini, turnip, Chinese cabbage, arugula and radish.

It is better not to plant different vegetables from the same family next to each other. They are attractive to the same pests and problems. If they are heavy feeders, they may deplete the food supply of your soil. Make sure you top dress your plants with compost. They also love rain water which you can harvest yourself with rain barrels.

For more information: 250-558-4556 or plantlady1@shaw.ca

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.