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I'm going to bow out of this topic since that's all the input I can offer on streetskater's original questions. Everybody provided some good info and suggestions, and even gave me some ideas.

Just sounded confusing, especially if you're new to gardening, want to experiment and are unsure of where/how to start. Jal-ut did say, though, to forget everything you've ever read about companion planting, but gave advice on what to plant together. Beans can help cucumbers, sunflowers can help corn - that's companion planting.

My little experiment in organic container gardening: theGardenXperiment

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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:57 pm
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yeah ive pretty much made a decision.. like i said, i have 2 beds made now, each 4 ft by 6ft. for one, i plan on putting a row of tomatoes in the back, and another row in front of that one, but in between the placing of the back row's plants. then possible another row in front of this one if i need to use more space.

with the remaining foot in the front of the bed as well as the few feet i may have on the sides, i will plant onions, basil, and possibly carrots. on the outside of the bed i have bordered with nasturtium seeds. Im hoping this bed will be successful if i keep it simple and allow the plants to have enough room to grow roots/make sure leaves get sun, ect.

with the other 4x6 box, i am still debating on (this will be the one with the cucumbers). i think i will do this: erect a trellis, about 5 1/2 feet long, a foot away from the back of the bed. this will leave room for me to plant a row or 2 of lettuce/carrots.. depending on how much shade that area gets and when i plant them. i may start out with carrots if it gets psoper sun, and wait till fall for the lettuce.
anyway, now i will have a trellis stretching across most of the box, closer to the back of the box. i will plant my 6 cucumber plants along this trellis. i was also thinking of possibly putting another trellis, about 2 1/2 - 3 ft long, perpendicular to the larger trellis, and plant beans on both sides of this trellis. with the remaining space, i will plant carrots around the edge of the bed, as well as maybe 2 or 3 sunflowers, in the bed but maybe not actually supporting any vines.. i will also border the outside of this bed with nasturtium and oregano, based on what i have read regarding pest repellents.

i believe thats everything for now... if anybody has any thoughts on these plans, please let me know. thank you all for your suggestions and support and i hope to see even more so i can continue to improve.

thanks everyone!

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Just trying to make sense of what you said, Jal_ut, and save needless confusion. You said ignore everything that's been written about companion planting, then gave advice on companion planting, like beans can help cukes by fixing nitrogen in the soil, or sunflowers can inhibit the growth of weeds. Sounds like companion planting to me, but should I and the original poster ignore what you just wrote?
I could have elaborated a bit more on this I guess. My point is that you can entirely ignore the companion planting thing and have a fantastic garden. Experiment with these things if you wish, but don't go into a tizzy about it until you have some experience. Right now it is nothing to worry about.
I see what you're saying about following corn w/sunflowers. Just sounded like he meant that you plant corn, then plant sunflowers so the two grow together and the sunflower keeps weeds from coming up around the corn, which also sounds like companion planting to me.
When I said follow sunflowers with corn, I meant sunflowers this year, corn next year. Not planted together the same year. You can google "sunflower allelopathy" for more reading on this subject if you thirst for information.

As has been said, feed the soil. This is the one most important thing we as gardeners can do. To that I like to add: "Give your plants space to do their thing."

The best fertilizer is the gardeners shadow.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Location: Southern California

"Straight"answers in gardening don't exist, because a lot things come in play in a live situation like garden. And there are many ways to do it, even if all other conditions are the same. Life is not something you can predict 100 percent.
I personally love companion gardening, I think it does keep bug population in check and looks beautiful too!

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What kind of sunflowers were you thinking, because taller varieties like Russian Gray Striped grows an enormous root system spreading in all directions (I doubt the carrots will be able to grow). That's how they try to keep from falling over. At the same time, they DO fall over and need to be staked. If you have the room, I would put the sunflowers in the gap BETWEEN the bed and that long trellis you're thinking of putting up, so you can tie the sunflowers to the trellis as necessary. At 6 feet, you can plant 3 giant sunflowers or 4 medium ones.

Can't visualize the first bed of tomatoes.

Make sure to take lots of pictures through the growing season. :D

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