Garden Resources

Two No Good, Very Bad Weeds

Hairy galinsoga (Galinsoga quadriradiata) is a big problem in the community garden. It is a prolific, seed-producing summer annual with opposite, egg-shaped to triangular leaves with coarsely toothed margins, sharp tips and densely hairy upper leaf surfaces. Numerous small flower heads are formed in terminal and axillary clusters. Each head has four to five white, three-toothed ray flowers and centers with numerous yellow disk flowers. The seed is enclosed in a single-seeded, brown to black, wedge-shaped, wind-disseminated fruit.

Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum L.) is another big problem in the garden. It is a prolific, seed-producing winter annual. Leaves are opposite, triangular to ovate, and are covered in soft hairs.  Young leaves at the apex are usually tinted purple while lower mature leaves are green.  Leaves are deeply veined and have scalloped margins.  Petioles are short. Unbranched stems are square and largely glabrous.  The lower portion of the stem is often devoid of leaves. Whorls of flowers occur above the leaf axils, and a terminal whorl of flowers occurs at the top of each stem.  Flowers are tubular and are purple to pink in color.  The lower lip is divided into 2 rounded lobes.  Each flower produces 4 nutlet seeds. 

Please pull these weeds when you see them and DO NOT COMPOST THEM!

Soil Testing

The Michigan State University Soil & Plant Nutrient Lab offers an easy-peasy, mail-in garden soil test. Results provide levels of Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), soil type, soil pH, lime index and the level of organic matter in the sample. The test results offer personalized recommendations for garden soil improvements, if needed.

Sources of Seeds and Plants

Merkel Gardens in Chelsea, Michigan sells bedding plants of all varieties, including flowers, vegetables, and succulents.  Their produce includes everything from basic vegetables to many exotic Asian vegetables. More “basic” vegetables include green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, kale, pickling cucumbers, potatoes, melons, carrots, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, collards, and Swiss Chard. Asian vegetables include bittermelon, bokchoi, edible gourd (cucuzzi), and wintermelon.

Nature & Nurture Seeds in Dexter, Michigan is an organic, farm-based seed company offering heirloom (open-pollinated) vegetable, flower and herb seeds. Their seeds are certified organic, non-hybrid, non-GMO, sustainably-grown and adapted to the Midwest.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a 100% employee-owned company in Maine, offers a wide variety of organic, non-GMO seeds.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds believes that gardeners and communities have the right to save their own seed, and in so doing preserve seed diversity and food security in an age of corporate agriculture and patented, hybridized or genetically modified seeds. All the seeds that they sell can be saved, shared and traded, and they encourage people to save their own seed.

Gardening Techniques


Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to gardening, food and nutrition.

Biointensive Gardening

Ecology Action teaches people worldwide to better feed themselves while building and preserving the soil and conserving resources. Their work focuses on growing in a bio-intensive manner and their website includes excellent information on organic gardening.

The eight principles of the Grow Biointensive Method are:

  1. Deep Soil Preparation
  2. Composting
  3. Intensive Planting
  4. Companion Planting
  5. Carbon Farming
  6. Calorie Farming
  7. Open-Pollinated Seeds
  8. Whole System Method

Small Tools Inventory 2022

4  spades, 2  square shovels (small), 1  square shovel (large), 1  trenching shovel, 2  mulching forks, 2  garden forks, 2  regular hoes, 2  triangular hoes, 1  stirrup hoe, 1  three prong cultivator, 1  mattock, 3  garden rakes, 2  sprayers (large), 4  sprayers (32oz), 5  watering cans, 6 trowels, 2  “hand plow” cultivators (orange handle), 3  pronged cultivators, 1 hand hoe (small), 1 curved weeder, 1 pruner, 1 grass trimmer, 1 bow saw, 1 lopper, 1 rubber mallet, 1 coarse toothed sickle (idiot stick), 1 set measuring spoons, 2 scrub brushes

Companion Planting

Companion planting guidelines will show you which vegetables and flowers support or inhibit the growth of other plants and/or which pests they deter.


Plant near: most garden crops
Keep away from: rue
Comments: improves the flavor and growth of garden crops, especially tomatoes and lettuce. Repels mosquitoes.

Beans, Bush

Plant near: beets, cabbage, carrots, catnip, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, marigolds, potatoes, savory, strawberries
Keep away from: fennel, garlic, leeks, onions, shallots
Comments: potatoes and marigolds repel Mexican bean beetles. Catnip repels flea beetles.

Beans, Pole

Plant near: corn, marigolds, potatoes, radishes
Keep away from: beets, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, shallots
Comments: same as for bush beans.


Plant near: broccoli, brussels sprouts, bush beans, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, onions
Keep away from: charlock, field mustard, pole beans


Plant near:  squash, strawberries, tomatoes
Keep away from:
Comments: repels tomato worms. Improves flavor and growth of companions.

Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

Plant near: beets, buckwheat, calendula, carrots, chamomile, dill, hyssop, marigolds, mints, nasturtiums, onions, rosemary, sage, thyme, wormwood.
Keep away from: strawberries
Comments: marigolds repel cabbage moths. Nasturtiums repel aphids.

Cabbage and Cauliflower

Plant near: broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, chard, spinach, tomatoes.
Keep away from: strawberries
Comments: tomatoes and celery repel cabbage worms.


Plant near: corn


Plant near: cabbage, chives, early potatoes, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, rosemary, sage, salsify, wormwood.
Comments: onions, leeks, and wormwood repel carrot flies


Plant near: apples, berries, carrots, grapes, peas, roses, tomatoes.
Comments: Improves flavor and growth of companions. Deters aphids and Japanese beetles.


Plant near: beans, cucumbers, early potatoes, melons, peas, pumpkins, soybeans, squash.
Comments: soybeans deter chinch bugs.


Plant near: beans, cabbage, corn, early potatoes, radishes, sunflowers.
Keep away from: late potatoes
Comments: Radishes deter cucumber beetles. Cucumbers encourage blight in late potatoes.


Plant near: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, onions
Keep away from: carrots
Comments: Improves flavor and growth of cabbage family plants.


Plant near: green beans, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes
Comments: green beans deter Colorado potato beetles.


Plant near: cabbage, cane fruits, fruit trees, roses, tomatoes
Keep away from: peas, beans
Comments: deters Japanese beetles and aphids. A garlic oil spray deters onion flies, aphids, and ermine moths. A garlic tea helps repel late potato blight.


Plant near: aromatic herbs, buckwheat, cabbage family, marigolds, nasturtiums
Keep away from: pole beans, strawberries


Plant near: cabbage/cauliflower companions (except tomatoes)
Keep away from: fennel, pole beans, tomatoes
Comments: kohlrabi stunts tomatoes


Plant near: beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes, strawberries
Keep away from: cabbage family
Comments: lettuce tenderizes summer radishes.


Plant near: all garden crops
Comments: stimulates vegetable growth and deters bean beetles, aphids, potato bugs, squash bugs, nematodes, and maggots.


Plant near: all garden crops
Comments: stimulates vegetable growth.


Plant near: alfalfa cover crops, fruit trees, grapes, legumes
Comments: stimulates growth of companion plants.


Plant near: apples, beans, cabbage family, greenhouse crops, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, squash
Comments: repels aphids, potato bugs, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles, and Mexican bean beetles and destroys white flies in greenhouses.


Plant near: beets, cabbage family, carrots, chamomile, lettuce, parsnips
Keep away from: beans, peas
Comments: deters most pests, especially maggots.


Plant near: all garden crops
Comments: deters many insect pests.


Plant near: corn, roses, tomatoes


Plant near: onions, radishes, wormwood
Comments: onions and wormwood help keep root maggots from parsnips.


Plant near: beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, early potatoes, radishes, turnips
Keep away from: garlic leeks, onions, shallots


Plant near: basil, carrots, eggplant, onions, parsley, tomatoes
Keep away from: fennel, kohlrabi


Plant near: basil, beans, cabbage family, corn, eggplant, flax, hemp, marigolds, peas, squash
Keep away from: apples, birch, cherries, cucumbers, pumpkins, raspberries, sunflowers, tomatoes, walnuts
Comments: hemp deters phytophthora infestans. Basil deters potato beetles. Marigolds (dug into crop soil) deter nematodes.


Plant near: chervil, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, peas, nasturtiums, root crops
Keep away from: hyssop
Comments: radishes deter cucumber beetles. Chervil makes radishes hot. Lettuce helps make radishes tender. Nasturtiums improve radishes’ flavor.


Plant near: beans, cabbage, carrots
Comments: repels bean beetles, cabbage moths, and carrot flies.


Plant near: cabbage family, carrots, tomatoes
Keep away from: cucumbers
Comments: deters cabbage moths and carrot flies. Invigorates tomato plants.


Plant near: corn, potatoes
Comments: chokes weeds and enriches soil.


Plant near: celery, cauliflower, eggplant, strawberries


Plant near: borage, bush beans, lettuce, pyrethrum, spinach
Keep away from: cabbage family


Plant near: cucumbers
Keep away from: potatoes
Comments: can provide a trellis and shelter for shade-loving cucumbers.

Swiss Chard

Plant near: bush beans, kohlrabi, onions
Keep away from: pole beans


Plant near: all garden crops
Comments: improves vegetables’ flavor and growth.


Plant near: all garden crops
Comments: deters cabbage moths.


Plant near: asparagus, basil, cabbage family, carrots, gooseberries, mustard, parsley, onions, rosemary, sage, stinging nettles
Keep away from: fennel, kohlrabi, potatoes, walnuts

Turnips and Rutabagas

Plant near: peas
Keep away from: knotweed, mustard
Comments: mustard and knotweed inhibit the growth of turnips and rutabagas.

Source: Mother Earth News