Companion Planting!

Happy 4th of July weekend! We hope you are able to enjoy a relaxing weekend filled with food and fun!

As many of you know, we practice organic farming here at the Dexter Farm to School Program. One of the important practices we do to combat common pests and weeds is to use companion plants!

What are Companion Plants?

Companion planting simply means to grow complementary plants in the same bed for their potential benefits. For example, certain plants can help ward away common pests, attract pollinators for your vegetables and fruits, help trap nutrients (mainly nitrogen) in the soil to enhance growth, and to prevent unwanted weeds from growing. Through companion planting and monitoring our beds, we are able to not rely on pesticides!

However, not all vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers can be planted together. So make sure to do a quick Google search on what are compatible plants to plant in the same bed!

Companion Plants to Help with Pests in Your Garden!

In our gardens, we love using marigolds and nasturtiums to help deter pests. Here is a list of great companion plants that are compatible with most if not all garden plants!

Nasturtiums: Not only do they grow beautiful red, orange and gold flowers but they help to repel aphids, potato bugs, squash bugs, Mexican beetle bugs, white flies and pumpkin flies!

Basil: Improves the flavor of tomatoes and lettuce, while also repelling mosquitoes! Compatible with most plants except rue.

Marigolds: Naturally repels many pests including Mexican flea beetles, aphids, potato bugs, squash bugs, nematodes and maggots. We love to plant them near kale but they work near all garden plants!

Oregano: This amazing common herb repels many pests including aphids, spider mites, and leafhoopers.

Sage: Repels carrot flies and cabbage moths. Great to plant near tomatoes as they stimulate growth! Compatible with most plants except for cucumbers.

There are a ton of resources online to identify great companion plants for your gardens. Here’s a guide from Mother Earth News

Oven Baked Parmesan Zucchini Crisps
From The Stay at Home Chef

We all know that the 4th of July is fried food season! But maybe you can convince your kids to give these a try for the same crisp and yum!

Ingredients:
2-3 large zucchinis
1 cup of buttermilk* see instructions for substitution
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 freshly grated parmesan
1 teaspoon or Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Marinara sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Slice washed zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices. Pat dry with paper towel
  3. Whisk buttermilk and eggs together and pour into a plate or shallow bowl. You can substitute buttermilk for 1 tbsp of lemon juice (or white vinegar) and top off with whole milk to make one cup.
  4. Mix breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning (or choice of dried herbs), parmesan, garlic powder on a 2nd plate or shallow bowl.
  5. Pour flour into a 3rd plate or shallow bowl.
  6. Coat each slice of zucchini in the flour, then buttermilk mixture then breadcrumb mixture. Spread them out on a baking sheet on a single layer (this is important to get the right crunch)
  7. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Serve with a side of marinara sauce!

Sources:
Mother Earth News

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