It’s that time again! Lots of lovely spring and summer produce is slowly revealing itself to sunnier days. The moss loft is flanked by a variety of plants native to Illinois.
Why native plants instead of turf? Of the 26 billion gallons of water consumed daily in the United States, approximately 7.8 billion gallons is used for outdoor irrigation. The typical suburban lawn consumes 10,000 gallons of water above and beyond rainwater each year. Replacing turf with native plants can reduce water usage, improve soil structure, reduce soil erosion and restore natural habitats. Many native plants are disease and pest resistant, attract beneficial pollinators, are drought tolerant and do not require fertilizers.
More photos and the benefits of companion planting after the break.
We use the companion planting method in the garden box. Companion planting benefits certain plants by giving them pest control, naturally without the use of herbicides. It is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to or near one another. An example of companion planting is basil planted next to tomatoes with a marigold nearby. The marigold not only attracts beneficial pollinators like honeybees, it is also a pest attractor. The white fly, for example, will dine on the marigold rather than seeking out and devouring the tomato plant. The basil will ward off whiteflies, aphids and spider mites. This is referred to as trap cropping.
In the planter box: brussel sprouts, heirloom tomatoes, herbs (basil, sage, thyme, oregano), cilantro, peppers. Strawberries (pictured below)