Companion Planting

Companion Planting

  • producing strong odours that distract pests e.g. thyme, basil
  • “fixing nitrogen” from the air into a more available form in the soil, which can feed plants e.g. peas, beans and other legumes
  • releasing chemicals that prevent weed germination e.g. grain rye
  • protecting shade-loving plants from excess sunlight
  • and creating habitats that encourage the presence of beneficial insects e.g. yarrow
  • Composting


    Composts are one of the most effective ways to build soil, but like all living things, they need proper care. Composts need a balanced carbon : nitrogen ratio (usually 30:1), as well as the right amounts of moisture and air in order to produce high quality organic matter. Locate your pile close to a water source, as a compost pile needs plenty of moisture to create an ideal environment for microbes. Composts also need to be turned once a week to provide oxygen to the hardworking bacteria and fungi. It is best to create a contained pile, such as one using wooden shipping pallets, to make sure you maximize the heat in the center of the pile.

    Sheet Mulching

    Sheet Mulching

    Wherever you want to build a new garden bed, this is the most effective way to do it. Start with a thick layer of cardboard and newspaper over the lawn or weeds. Next, use composted manure, seaweed, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, coffee grinds and layer these alternating between carbon (brown material) and nitrogen (green material). Keep the sheet mulch moist and you can even cover it with a tarp to speed up the decomposition since microbes like darkness. In a matter of a few months you will have rich soil your plants will LOVE!

    Beneficial Insects

    Companion Planting

    Bugs got you down? Try planting varieties that attract beneficial insects to keep pests at bay. The following is a list of insects that will help keep your garden happy and what to plant to make them feel welcome:

    • Insect: Bees – Benefits: pollination – Favours: plants with a strong scent, colourful petals and/or good quality nectar
    • Insect: Ladybugs; Benefits: larvae and adults eat Aphids, Mealy bugs, Mites and eggs of other insects; Favours: plants in the Carrot family (Apiacea) e.g. Carrot, Fennel, Dill, Queen Anne’s Lace; Yarrow; Deergrass and other clumping grasses
    • Insect: Lacewings; Benefits: larvae eat softbodied insects, including Aphids, Mealy bugs and Mites (adults eat pollen and nectar); Favours: plants in the Carrot family (Apiacea) e.g. Carrot, Fennel, Dill, Queen Anne’s Lace; Yarrow; Buckwheat; Corn; Amaranth
    • Insect: Spiders; Benefits: eat Aphids, Flea Beetles, Cucumber Beetles, Leafhoppers and others; Favours: straw mulch, undisturbed habitat strips (e.g. hedgerows)

    Project News

    • Before Your Plate

      Before Your Plate The Before Your Plate program is getting ready to run its Second Term from January 10th to April 13th, 2017. Interviews are still taking place until January 10th. Applicants interested in applying can contact Alyssa Loucks at alyssa@c …

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    Upcoming Events

      • Organic Master Gardener Course

        Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - Thursday, May 18, 2017
        Organic Master Gardener in Duncan! CGC will host this dynamic 8-week course from Gaia College March 28 - May 18 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings). Learn the foundations of organic land care - topics include: soil biology, botany, composting, soil fertility, waterwise gardening, permaculture, garden installation, tree pruning, landscape health, and garden design. Be prepared for a paradigm shift! Tuition: $695 + GST Space is limited, register early! Register at the Garden Pantry Store, 360 Duncan Street, Duncan. There will be a FREE information session on Monday March 14th at 6:00 pm at CGC. For more information call Nora at 250.748.8506
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