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S2 Episode 10 – Plant Partners: Science Based Companion Planting

Helping Gardeners Grow: The Podcast
Helping Gardeners Grow: The Podcast
S2 Episode 10 - Plant Partners: Science Based Companion Planting

Guest: Jessica Walliser, Savvy Gardening

Big Idea:

Combining Plants to boost success in your vegetable garden

Topic Today: 

“The biggest target goal that anybody can do [to boost garden success] is to increase the biodiversity in your vegetable garden. I want everybody to stop planting everything in straight long rows, which are basically runways for pests.”
Jessica Walliser is a gardener and an author.  Her latest book (Plant Partners) updates Companion Plants (1966) by Helen Philbrick and Richard Gregg. This is a good thing, because the old book, long a part of my library, left me wanting. Not enough science, too much guesswork and so much fake news. With extensive research and science, Jessica changes all that.
Jessica really dug in to the research and found out there is some fact to the fiction on companion planting. Walliser tells us about trap cropping, cover crops and plant partners such as beans and potatoes, peas and lettuce and my favourite onions and marigolds.
“The one [study] that stood out to me the most as useful for home gardeners was combining marigolds with onions and marigolds with cole crops. And in both cases, what the presence of the marigolds did is to limit the egg-laying behavior of the onion root maggot fly for onions and the cabbage root fly for those cole crops. [The marigolds] mask the presence of the host plant so that those pests could not find them.”
For the most current and accurate info about companion planting get Jessica’s book, Plant Partners: Science-based  companion planting strategies for the vegetable garden (Storey Publishing 2020.)
Instagram: @jessicawalliser

Donna is Helping Gardener’s Grow through her interviews with various growers and gardeners. Want to build soil, grow food in extraordinary ways or raise the world’s most expensive spice? Listen in, rate and subscribe.

In every podcast we talk about food or how to grow better food. To ask a question about the current or past episodes send a voice memo from your phone to [email protected]. In the voice memo tell us your name and where you garden first and then ask your question.

Music in every episode is by Donna’s son, Brennan Anderson, a musician in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada. Season 2 has all new music so thank-you Brennan!


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