A Quick Guide to Companion Planting

companion planting

Growing a garden organically requires a little more thought and planning than your standard garden, I think.  You have to really nurse your soil with compost and crop rotation.  Companion planting is another way to get the most out of each plant’s properties, without having to chemically blast them when something goes wrong.  It’s not a sure-fire safe-guard, but it does provide some added protection and nurturing.

basil plant

Companion planting is basically planting certain plants next to each other because they compliment each other in some way–their root systems don’t interfere with one another, one provides a natural insect repellent for the other, one gives nitrogen to the soil and the other taketh away–see where I am going with this?

Companion planting can feel a bit overwhelming, but all  you really need to know likes to go together and what should be kept apart.  A few years back I made myself a handy-dandy little chart {and posted it}, and since nothing has changed, I thought I would re-post it for you to reference when you are planting your garden over the next few weeks.

Plant Name

Plant Close To:

Keep Away From:


Basil Most Garden Crops–especially tomatoes and lettuce Rue Mosquitoes
Bush Beans Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Catnip, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Potatoes, Savory, Strawberries Fennel, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Shallots
Pole Beans Corn, Marigolds, Potatoes, Radishes Beets, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Onions, Shallots
Beets Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Bush Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Kohlrabi, Onions Charlock, Field Mustard, Pole Beans
Borage Squash, Strawberries Tomato Worms
Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts Beets, Buckwheat, Calendula, Carrots, Chamomile, Dill, Hyssop, Marigolds, Mints, Nasturtiums, Onions, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Wormwood Strawberries
Cabbage and Cauliflower Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Chard, Spinach Strawberries
Cantaloupe Corn
Carrots Cabbage, Chives, Early Potatoes, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Rosemary, Sage, Salsify, Wormwood
Chives Apples, Berries, Carrots, Grapes, Peas, Roses, Tomatoes Aphids and Japanese Beetles
Corn Beans, Cucumbers, Early Potatoes, Melons, Peas, Pumpkins, Soybeans, Squash  Tomatoes
Cucumbers Beans, Cabbage, Early Potatoes, Radishes, Sunflowers Late Potatoes
Dill Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Lettuce, Onions Carrots
Eggplant Green Beans, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes
Garlic Cabbage, Cane Fruits, Fruit Trees, Roses, Tomatoes Peas, Beans Japanese Beatles and Aphid, Ermine Moths, and Late Potato blight.
Kale Aromatic herbs, Buckwheat, Cabbage Family, Marigolds, Nasturtiums Pole Beans, Strawberries
Kohrabi Cabbage/Cauliflower Companions {except tomatoes} Fennel, Pole Beans, Tomatoes
Lettuce Beets, Carrots, Parsnips, Radishes, Strawberries Cabbage Family
Marigolds All Garden Crops Bean Beetles, Aphids, Potato Bugs, Squash Bugs, Nematodes, and Maggots
Marjoram All Garden Crops
Mustard Alfalfa Cover Crops, Fruit Trees, Grapes, Legumes
Nasturtiums Apples, Beans, Cabbage Family, Greenhouse Crops, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Squash Aphids, Potato Bugs, Squash Bugs, Striped Pumpkin Beetles, and Mexican Bean Beetles.  Destroys whiteflies in greenhoues.
Onions Beets, Cabbage Family, Carrots, Chamomile, Lettuce, Parsnips Beans, Peas Many insects/pests–especially maggots
Oregano All Garden Crops Many insects/pests
Parsley Corn, Roses, Tomatoes
Parnips Onions, Radishes, Wormwood
Peas Beans, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Early Potatoes, Radishes, Turnip Garlic, Leeks, Onions Shallots
Peppers Basil, Carrots, Eggplant, Onions, Parsley, Tomatoes Fennel, Kohlrabi
Potatoes Basil, Beans, Cabbage Family, Corn, Eggplant, Flax, Hemp, Marigolds, Peas, Squash Apples, Birch, Cherries, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Raspberries, Sunflowers, Tomatoes, Walnuts
Radishes Cervil, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Melons, Peas, Nasturtiums, Root Crops Hyssop Cucumber Beetles
Rosemary Beans, Cabbage, Carrots Bean Beetles, Cabbage Moths, and Carrot Flies
Sage Cabbage Family, Carrots, Tomatoes Cucumbers Cabbage Moths and Carrot Flies
Soybeans Corn, Potatoes
Spinach Celery, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Strawberries
Strawberries Borage, Bush Beans, Lettuce, Pyrethrum, Spinach Cabbage Family
Sunflowers Cucumbers Potatoes
Swiss Chard Bush Beans, Kohrabi, Onions Pole Beans
Tarragon All Garden Crops
Thyme All Garden Crops Cabbage Moths
Tomatoes Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Gooseberries, Mustard, Parsley, Onions, Rosemary, Sage, Chives, Bee Balm, Celery, Pepper Fennel, Kohlrabi, Potatoes, Walnuts, Dill, Corn
Turnips and Rutabagas Peas Knotweed, Mustard


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How to Make Your Own Flower Box Out of a Wood Pallet

How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden
Every year for Mother’s Day, I like to go pick out a boatload of flowers for the yard.  It’s kind of my thing.  I call it my Mother’s Day present to me, and the kids and HH are pretty content that they don’t have to pick anything else out.  Everyone wins.

Every year, I admit, I go a little overboard, though.  I pick out way more flowers than I have space for…initially anyway…because I always find a way to make more space.  In fact, a few years back, during one of my “I need to make more space” for flowers moments, I decided to make a flower box out of an old pallet.

The project turned out to be sooooo easy, that I thought I would re-share it with  you.  In fact, I’ve decided to re-share a couple of my old projects and gardening tips/tricks with you each week, because one, I love to do cool things like that for people :) and two, if you haven’t been following my blog for awhile, it might be a chance to see if for the first time.

So, without further ado {I have always wanted a reason to type that}, I give you the DIY Pallet Flower Box…

wooden pallet

First, you take your basic old pallet…

This one was headed for the burn pile.  It was very sad looking, but that’s the beauty of this project, it doesn’t have to be in great shape.

wooden pallet  t

I had the Handsome Husband break out his skill saw and chop it up for me.  In hindsight, I could have done this part myself, but I’ll admit, I am a sucker for a man and power tools, so I chose to sit back and watch him do it ;).

wooden pallet saw

The HH cut the pallet just above the 2 slat mark, and then knocked off 2 boards from another {unusable} part of the pallet.  Look how manly he looks wielding his saw?  Adorable.

wooden pallet planter

Just a few quick cuts, and it’s already starting to take shape.

how to build a wooden pallet planter

Then, I came in and nailed 1 board to the bottom of the planter, and another to the top.  {That was a very technical step, so I’ll pause while you soak it in.}

How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden

Now all you need to do is shove that baby full of potting soil and flowers.  It’s nearly instant project gratification.

Pretty cool, eh?


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Gardening is Better Than Therapy



Is it just me, or are those hosta plants GORGEOUS? Holy canolies people, they make me smile every time I walk past them. I only wish the 2 packets of allysum seeds would hurry and and grow some flowers because right now, it looks like I have a bunch of weeds growing under my hosta plants.


Yesterday The Girl and I made a trip out to Watson’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Puyallup to look for espalier trees for the backyard. While we were there we spotted an Amethyst Falls American wisteria plant and I had to snatch it up. I’ve planted purple wisteria alongside almost all my garden gates in our previous homes and I just LOVE it’s delicate flowers.

grafter espalier pear tree

Originally I was looking for both a grafted apple and a grafted pear espalier tree but all Watson’s {and surrounding stores} had left were pear trees. So I grabbed the last two they had. These particular pear trees will produce Bosc, Anjou and Bartlett pears. I’m not sure if we will get any pears this season, but we should get a few next year for sure.

Finding fruit trees this time of year can be tricky as most nurseries get their bare root trees in around January or February. Had I known we would be installing a fence, I would have jumped on the snatch up all the cool fruit trees bandwagon sooner. However, I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for an Italian plum and a Fuji apple tree.

seedling trays

I need more space. The back patio is starting to fill up!


Benefit #1 of having a college student home for the summer. They need money and are willing to dig holes and plant trees on the side yard where nosy neighbors pass by 10 million times a day. Oddly enough, nosy neighbors don’t stop to chat with teens doing yard work. OH HAPPY DAY.

New Goal – Have The Girl plant everything on the side yard for me before the fence goes up. Then I’ll be able to hide behind the fence and garden in privacy.

Pretty genius if you ask me.


Note to self: I probably should have waited for The Girl to build a teepee as it is visible from the road. If questioned I could claim my Indian heritage {I am 25% Cherokee after all}. This could however prove problematic if HOA discovers pictures of me in pilgrim costume. Hmmm. Maybe teepee should be dismantled until the fence is installed.

Have a great day everyone, and get out there and plant something {or have your kids do it for you}.

~ Mavis

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Declining Bee Population and Pesticides

bee on raspberryMost gardeners go out of their way to invite bees into their gardens.  We know that they mean more veggies, more flowers, etc.  I guess what I mean is that we know that they are pretty dang essential to our food supply.  Over the last few years, the bee population has been on the decline–pesticides have been largely to blame {another reason growing my garden as organically as possible appeals to me}.

Still, I don’t really have any control over massive single crop growers, and according to an NPR article I read, the type of seeds are sometimes to blame.  Seeds treated with neonicotinoids {say that ten times fast} for crops like corn, soy and canola expose bees to pesticides as they feed from the resulting plants.  Neonicotinoids are derived from nicotine and while they do protect the plant {the plant absorbs the pesticide as it grows and it helps to ‘protect the tissues’ of the plant for the duration of its lifecycle.  The only problem is that the bees also take in the nicotine derivative and literally get buzzed {pun intended!}.  The result is that it basically poisons their nervous system.

In Europe, some of the neonicotinoids have been banned temporarily, until they can sort out the full extent to which they affect the bees {of course, wouldn’t you know that if it isn’t a good idea, Europe would be on board with banning in looooong before we even get around to consider it}.  Canada is also working on regulating it more carefully.  The EPA has announced that they would probably not allow any NEW neonicotinoid pesticides, but no word on regulating the ones that already exist.

I thought the whole article was pretty interesting, just because you know that the pesticides you use on your food affects bees, but I have never really stopped to consider that treated seeds would have longterm effects on the health of the bee population.  Guess it is a good thing I use untreated seeds.

What are your thoughts on the issue?


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The Washington State Farmers Market Directory

Washington State Farmers Market Directory

Most Farmer’s Markets in Washington state and around the country are now open for business! Here is a list of all the farmer’s markets in Washington as well as links to their sites.

Don’t live in Washington? No problem. Go to FarmersMarket.com and enter your zip code to find your local market.  Supporting your local farmer is cool!


Anacortes Farmers Market {Skagit County}
Arlington Farmers Market {Snohomish County}
Auburn International Farmers Market {King County}
Bainbridge Island Farmers Market {Kitsap County}
Bellevue Farmers Market {King County}
Bellingham Farmers Market {Whatcom County}
Bothell Farmers Market {King County}
Bridgeport Farmers Market {Douglas County}
Burien Farmers Market {King County}
Camas Farmers Market {Clark County}

Carnation Farmers Market {King County}
Centralia:  Historic Lewis County Farmers Market {Lewis County}
Chelan Evening Farmers Market {Chelan County}
Chewelah Farmers Market {Stevens County}
Deer Park Farmers Market {Spokane County}
Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market {King County}
Duvall Farmers Market {King County}
Ephrata Farmers Market {Grant County}
Everett Farmers Market {Snohomish County}
Friday Harbor:  San Juan Island Farmers Market

pike place market flowers
Gig Harbor Farmers Market {Pierce County}
Goldendale Farmers Market {Klickitat County}
Lake Forest Park Farmers Market {King County}
Lakewood Farmers Market {Pierce County}
Leavenworth Community Farmers Market {Chelan County}
Liberty Lake Farmers Market {Spokane County}
Maple Valley Farmers Market {King County}
Mercer Island Farmers Market {King County}
Mount Vernon Farmers Market {Skagit County}
Mukilteo Farmers Market {Snohomish County}
Oak Harbor Public Market {Island County}
Okanagan Farmers Market {Okanagon County}
Olalla Valley Farmers Market {Kitsap County}
Olympia Farmers Market {Thurston County}
Olympia:  West Olympia Farmers Market {Thurston County}
Omak Farmers Market {Okanagon Farmers Market}
Port Angeles Farmers Market {Clallam County}
Port Orchard Farmers Market {Kitsap County}
Port Townsend Farmers Market {Jefferson County}

Poulsbo farmers market{Poulsbo Farmer’s Market}

Poulsbo Farmers Market {Kitsap County}
Puyallup Farmers Market {Pierce County}
Redmond Ridge Community Farmers Market {King County}
Renton Farmers Market {King County}
Richland Farmers Market at the Parkway {Benton County}
Sammamish Farmers Market {King County}
Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market {Skagit County}

puyallup farmers market hess bakery{Puyallup FarmersMarket}

Shelton Farmers Market {Mason County}
Snohomish Farmers Market {Snohomish County}
Tumwater Town Center Farmers Market {Thurston County}
Vashon Island Farmers Market {King County}
Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market {Chelan County}
Woodinville Farmers Market {King County}
Yakima Farmers Market Association {Yakima County}

Seattle City Markets {King County}

Ballard Farmers Market
Broadway Farmers Market
Columbia City Farmers Market
Lake City Farmers Market
Madrona Farmers Market
Magnolia Farmers Market
Phinney Farmers Market
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market Express
Queen Anne Farmers Market
University District Farmers Market
Wallingford Farmers Market
West Seattle Farmers Market

Spokane City Markets {Spokane County}

Spokane Farmers Market Association
South Perry Thursday Market
Suquamish Farmers Market

tacoma-farmers-market{Tacoma Farmer’s Market off Broadway}

Tacoma City Markets {Pierce County}

6th Ave Farmers Market
Broadway Farmers Market
Proctor Farmers Market
South Tacoma Farmers Market

*If you would like to find a Farmers Market in your area, head on over to FarmersMarket.com and enter your zip code.

Have you played The Farming Game? It’s pretty awesome if you ask me. Each player starts the game with 20 inherited acres and moves through the months {around the board} trying to build the farm into an independent, successful concern that will feed the whole family. Yee-Haw!

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Sweet Deals at the Home Depot Plant and Garden Sale

the home depot

the home depot

As I mentioned this morning in my daily deal post The Home Depot is having an awesome plant and garden sale April 9th – April 12th. After spotting the sale online early this morning I dashed on over hoping to find the last 8 viburnum shrubs I needed for my front yard.

Sadly the Home Depot didn’t have viburnum shrubs on sale for $2.50 each, but they did have boxwood, azaleas, spruce, arborvitaes, and for just $2.50 each in the 1 gallon size. THIS IS A GREAT DEAL! Normally the 1 gallon size of these plants go for $6.99 each, so talk about a HUGE savings if you were planning on installing some shrubs or a hedge this year.

arborvitae trees

If you are looking for super tall arborvitae trees, The Home Depot has the 7 gallon size for $19.99. fruit trees

Fruit trees staring at $29.99the home depot mulch

The Home Depot also has bags for bark 5 for $10. This is a great price if you just need a few bags and are not interested in having a truckload of bark delivered .

miracle fro potting soil

Miracle Grow Potting soil $1.88!bonnie vegetable plants

Veggie Starts 5 for $10. Can you say instant garden?

ames wheelbarrowOn the way out I also spotted the Ames 4 cubic foot garden cart for just $19.88. This normally goes for $39.97 and has rockstar reviews on the Home Depot site. {You can order online and pick up at the store for FREE to make sure you get one}.

Oh how I love a goo garden sale.

Happy planting,


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Planting Perennial Fruits

cascadia raspberries

Do you have any perennial fruits planted in your garden?  I love the idea of putting a little work in upfront and then enjoying the “fruits of my labor” for years to come.  In fact, I pretty much like anything that requires minimal effort with maximum output, don’t you just wish all of life was that way?

A lot of perennial fruits take space–like lots of space, even if you don’t have room for an orchard, though, you still can have a pretty sweet fruit garden.  Several fruits can be grown in containers or take up very little space.  Most fruit perennials require full sun.  Several of them, also require more than one tree in order to fruit.


If you want a super low maintenance garden, you might want to take a list of these fruit perennials {remember, perennials vary by region, so make sure to check and see if they are actually a perennial in your area before you buy and plant} and see if they might work in your space:

  1. Apples {some dwarf varieties can be kept in containers}
  2. Apricots
  3. Avocado
  4. Blackberries
  5. Blueberries
  6. Cherries
  7. Currants
  8. Figs
  9. Goji Berries
  10. Huckleberries
  11. Grapes
  12. Kiwi {cold hard kiwi vines actually exist}
  13. Lemons {work well in containers}
  14. Limes
  15. Nectarines
  16. Oranges
  17. Peaches
  18. Pears {self-pollinating varieties exist if you don’t have room for 2, though, I have heard that they don’t produce as well}
  19. Persimmon
  20. Plums
  21. Raspberries
  22. Strawberries {I personally think these only last 3-5 years before you have to start over in order to get good crops, they can definitely be grown in containers}

pears on tree

Have you had any luck growing any of these in smaller spaces?


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Planting Perennial Vegetables

Planting Perennial Vegetables

Planting Perennial Vegetables

Remember those old Ronco infomercials? “Set it and forget it” was the theme I think…that’s kind of the way I feel about perennials, a little work up front and then you just forget about them.

Incorporating perennial vegetables into your garden is pretty simple.  The key is making sure that  you take care of the dirt.  The year after you plant, you want to add a little compost and mulch.  Do that yearly, and those bad boys will literally do all of the rest of the work for you.  The beauty of veggie perennials is that they have varying needs for sun, so if you don’t have a bright sunny spot, you may still be able to find one that will work.

fresh artichokes

Not sure which veggies are actually perennials?  Here is a quick guide of veggies you can choose from:

  1. Globe artichokes.  Yep, if you treat them right in the winter by cutting them back in the fall and then covering them with straw, they will produce year after year.
  2. Asparagus.  Asparagus is one of those plant it and then wait.  It takes a full 3 years to get a crop from them, after that though, they are rather prolific and you’ll have asparagus every spring.  {Remember to let them go to flower at the end of the year so that they have a chance to come back.}
  3. Rhubarb.  Rhubarb, once established will produce for you for a lifetime.  Seriously, I know people who got their rhubarb from their grandparents.  It just needs a sunny locale to be happy.
  4. Sorrel.  This is an herb, actually, but a lot of times you will get it in upscale restaurants in a salad.  It kind of has a lemony flavor.
  5. Onions.  If you don’t harvest all of the onions each year, you can leave them in the ground and they will survive some pretty cold conditions.  That way, you can juts pop outside and pull them as you need them.
  6. Horseradish.  As long as you only harvest the side shoots, horseradish will continue to produce year after year.
  7. Kale.  Gross Super healthy kale will literally keep producing all winter long.  It doesn’t mind the cold, and with regular pickings, you can get quite a few seasons out of it.
  8. Radicchio.  Like kale, radicchio can survive harsh winters and produce for several seasons, provided that you just pick the young new leaves.
  9. Garlic.  Most people dig garlic up year to year, but you can leave some in the ground and let them die back just as you would bulbs.  They will divide their own bulbs with time.

picking rhubarb

Just like all perennials, vegetable perennials can vary by region, so make sure to double check that your region can support whatever you choose.  Whichever perennial you choose, take a minute to celebrate that at least there are still some super reliable and simple food sources left in life.


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