Companion Planting: Potatoes, Four O'Clocks and Flax

CP Potatoes 1 It's potato time!  Good morning, lovely garden.  Last weekend the fam and I snuck up to the cabin to do our annual "fall clean-up" weekend, which meant spending some time getting the last of the harvest indoors.

Some of the delicious goodies still coming out of the garden were potatoes.  Here's the dealio with our potatoes this year:

cabin garden map 2013

My Dad planted them in the newest section of the garden that was added on last year.  Last year, we had our pumpkins and some squash growing there with the same result: not bad, but not great - especially compared with the rest of the garden. This soil has not been as successful as the rest of the garden.  We're still not exactly sure why, but the plan moving forward is to give it some extra attention (i.e., a double dose of that amazing turkey manure that Jer-Bear swears by).

We weren't expecting much this year with our potatoes, as they are sitting in that same corner. So it was a little bit of a surprise when we still got a pretty good potato harvest.

Why the success this year?  Companion Planting, baby!  This year my Dad practiced Companion Planting with potatoes, four o'clock flowers and a lovely row of Flax... and together they kept the pests away.  How cool is that?


Aren't these flax lovely?  This photo was taken in early September (and you should see them now, in October: those little flax seeds are drying upside down in the garage waiting to be turned into ground flax).  So how is flax useful in this pairing, besides adding some beauty?  The Flax has oils in them (Linseed and Tannin) that those little potato bugs don't like, so they stay away.  Thanks, flax!

CP Potatoes 2

The Four O'Clocks are also lovely - a really hearty flowering bush that, as the name suggests, bloom in the early evening (or whenever the temperature drops), and smell quite lovely.  BUT - they are poisonous.  Not life-threatening, but could definitely ruin your weekend.  The Four O'Clocks attract the potato pests that are also attracted to the potatoes, and kill them.  Sorry little buggers, but you're not wanted here!  No, sireee - those potatoes have a different destiny (like some amazing potato tacos my husband created the other day...yum).

CP Potatoes 3

Beautiful flowers.  Bug-free potatoes.  Win-Win!