Experiments in Efficiency (part 3)

Really, the title should be Experiments in Efficiency and Companion Planting. Today I am going to talk about how I planted corn and squash together, and truly this was an experiment. Not even an experiment… more of a guess. Not even an educated guess, really. Honestly, I call myself a gardener!

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The bed above is 4′ x 12′, and I planted 2 rows of 12-row Bantam corn (79 days) down the center, and spaghetti squash (88 days) on either side. Ok, I am not sure what I was thinking exactly. This was seeded May 2nd and I was so busy that I just needing to get the seeds planted. I honestly did not know what the best way to plant these crops together, so I just chose this way.

It is growing nicely, but I certainly did not consider where the squash was going to go. I tried growing it last year and it had too much shade. It produced only a few small fruit. I knew the squash was going to spread out… I just thought I would train it to run up the bed. It is working out, though. I am training it up the bed, but also letting it spill out into the walkway between the beds. I don’t really need to walk there and so it is using the space! I am actually employing the same idea for my watermelon.

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I am also learning a similar lesson that I learned with peas. The plants will lean and/or reach for south, toward the sun. Since the sun rises in the east, and this bed gets sun very early in the day, it also reaches for the east. Above, the walkway between the beds is to the east and the squash is actually trying to grow into the other bed next to it.

Below is a western view of the same bed, and the squash has not spilled out into the walkway. It prefers  to move east, into the corn stalks. I keep having to redirect it south!

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So, the lesson I have learned is to always consider both south and east when planting. And I employed this lesson in the empty bed to the left of the corn/squash bed. I just pulled out the last of the cabbages, and planned to plant some blue corn and dragon tongue bush beans. I planted the corn in two rows in the west half, and two rows of beans in the east half. Let’s see how that goes!

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