The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery – 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Click on cover to visit book’s Goodreads page.  Blogging for books also requested I share the following links with you.

Press Release More info at Random House,  Author Info at Random House.

Book Synopsis:

The mix & match guide to companion planting Why sow seeds that arent happy sharing a bed when you can plan a harmonious garden instead? With its ingenious split-page, mix and match system, Good Companions offers an immediate guide to the friends and foes of the gardening world, ensuring you have all the tools you need to grow your most successful crop yet! How does companion planting work? Well, take just one well-known example squash, sweetcorn and beans. Together these three make a happy family: squash will shelter the beans roots, which in their turn will add beneficial nitrogen to the trios soil, while the strong-growing sweetcorn will support the beans as they grow. And there are dozens of other groups that are equally good for one another just flip the pages and match up the easy colour coding to plant up the happiest plot you can imagine.

My Review:

I wish I had this book for review about a month earlier.  I received it in the mail just after we got all the plants in the ground this year for our large garden.  My husband and I enjoy gardening and when I saw this book available for review I knew I had to request it.  We are always looking for new ideas, plants, and tools for our hobby.  I had high hopes for the information within these pages for new ways to make our harvest even more bountiful.

The set up of the book is kind of different.  The first third is full of interesting history on companion gardening and useful information on types of planting, soil, choosing plants, plant health and other gardening related stuff.  I learned quite a bit and the book brought up ideas I hadn’t thought of before; for example how the moon/lunar cycle might affect the plants in your garden.  The first section also includes a helpful chart and instructions as to how to use the last 2/3 of the book.  My only complaint on this set up is that it would have been nice if this information was closer to the second section instead of the beginning.  Would have been a little more convenient, fewer pages to flip back through when it comes to using part two.

The largest section of the book is divided up into flip cards consisting of plants.  There are three different tabs, the middle one is considered ‘main’ crop, top tab is of plants that support a main crop above ground, and bottom tab is for plants that help a main crop below the soil.  The tabs have little colored dots representing different benefits for example; deters pests, improves flavor, soil improves, suppresses weeds, etc.  You pick a main crop and then flip the top and bottom tabs to find other plants that match up the most number of ‘dots’ and once you find good matches you have three plants that will be good companions.  It sounds complicated but it really isn’t, but like I said it would have been nice to have the key for the dots closer to the plant section.

The information on each plant is pretty basic and minimal, but that is not a big deal,  the point of the book is not detailed growing instructions for each plant, it is to figure out which plants will grow best with each other.  The author is nice to point out which plants will do especially well together and why, for example leeks and carrots are a good pairing.  She also makes note of plants that should not be paired up like cabbage and rue.  One other small complaint I had is it would have been nice to have a few more plants listed.  I noticed that no vining plants were mentioned, perhaps it is the nature of the plant I’m not sure, but I have problems with my squash and melons each year and was looking for some good plants to go with them to help deter pests.

Bottom line this is an interesting read for any gardener with some good tips and a handy system to find companion plants.  I look forward to using it to plan next year’s garden and am delighted to have it for my home library!

 

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