Companion planting continued from last month.
ALOE VERA - Aloe is a vegetable in the lily and allium family. Because of the bitter taste of the aloe gel it is virtually free of pests and diseases. The gel can be used for bums, as a laxative, for stomach ulcers, and can be used as a tree wound dressing when pruning trees. Aloe powder sprinkled over plants will repel rabbits and when the plants are thrown into chicken drinking water improves their health.
CATNIP - Fresh catnip steeped in water can be used as a spray to repel flea beetles as it contains an insect repellent oil. Fresh catnip will also repel black ants.
CHERRY - Potatoes are less resistant to blight when grown near cherries. Wheat also dislikes cherries.
CITRUS - Guava and live oak seem to have a protective influence on citrus trees.
CLOVER - Clover is a great way to add nitrogen to the soil and is drought resistant. Consider planting clover with your lawn, in the orchard, the paths in your garden, and between rows of grapes. Clover dislikes henbane and the buttercup family.
DUSTY MILLER - Said to repel rabbits when planted around flowers and veggies.
FRUIT TREES - Benefit from plantings of mustard and clovers as ground clover. Also likes the allium family, horseradish, and stinging nettle.
GERANIUM - Geraniums are not only pretty but come in a large scented assortment that can be made into jellies and pot pourris. They repel cabbage worms and when planted around grapes, corn, and roses repel Japanese beetles.
HYSSOP - Plant with grapes to increase their yield. Bees love hyssop blossoms but some insects, like the cabbage butterfly, find it a repellent. Radishes dislike hyssop.
MARIGOLD - Probably best known for its stinky foliage, it's perhaps the best control for nematodes. Marigolds control nematodes by producing chemicals through their roots which slowly kills them. Studies have found that the African marigold which has the strongest odor works best. At the end of the gardening season let the marigolds go to seed and till them in. They self-seed readily and next season you'll have plenty of "golds" growing everywhere.
RASPBERRY - Raspberries and blackberries dislike each other. It is also best to grow red and black raspberries apart as the reds can carry a disease that will harm the blacks. Potatoes dislike raspberries.
ROSE - The allium family planted around roses is said to repel aphids and protect them from mildew and black spot. Alliums are used in Bulgaria to induce roses to produce a stronger perfume. Parsley helps repel rose beetles and lupines improve the nitrogen content of the soil and attract earthworms (please call me if this happens!).
SYCAMORE - Sycamore roots inhibit the growth of any plants underneath it. The good news is that if you boil the bark and make it into a poultice it is good to use for poison ivy.
WALNUT - Black walnut trees produce a substance in their roots and leaves which, like the sycamore, inhibits the growth of many plants therefore mulching or composting the leaves may not be wise. But on the other hand the leaves are said to repel fleas so try scattering them around the dog kennel. Plants that dislike walnut trees include apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and blackberries. English walnut trees do not have any root/leave inhibitors.
WELD MORNING GLORY - You have probably noticed that catalogs will often state that they cannot ship morning glory seed or plants to Arizona. It is rampant is some parts of the state although the Indians often grew it with corn. Morning glory can be killed by spraying a little white vinegar into the center of each vine.
WORMWOOD - Also commonly known as Artemisia, wormwood is an excellent repellent for moths, flea beetles and cabbage worm butterfly. A wormwood tea bath will rid cats and dogs of fleas. Sage, fennel, and most herbs dislike artemisia.
If you have enjoyed this series about companion planting and would like to learn more, Louise Riotte's Carrots love Tomatoes, 226 pages, published by Storey Communications, Inc. is considered by many to be the essential companion planting guide. Happy Planting! It is available in the Cochise County Library District.