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Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden Paperback – May 19, 2000


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Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden + Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening + Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875968473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875968476
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Great Garden Companions is a book as fresh as the first spring carrot, as new as a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Sally Cunningham's gentle appreciation for the intricacies of nature coupled with plenty of practical, hands-on gardening experience makes her book both useful and soul-satisfying. Her garden plans are doable and earth-friendly, and her guide to backyard beneficial insects is invaluable. This book deserves a place in the library and hearts of concerned gardeners everywhere. (Sharon Lovejoy, author and illustrator of Sunflower Houses and Hollyhock Days and a contributing editor to Country Living Gardener magazine)

Great Garden Companions lives up to its name-- it's great! This very approachable how-to book brings organic gardening to a whole new level-- viewing the garden as part of nature. I wish I'd had a book like this when I started gardening. (Rosalind Creasy, author of The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping and Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook)

From the Publisher

"Sally Cunningham's gentle appreciation for the intricacies of nature coupled with plenty of practical, hands-on gardening experience makes her book both useful and soul-satisfying. Her garden plans are do-able and earth-friendly, and her guide to backyard beneficial insects is invaluable. This book deserves a place in the libraries and hearts of concerned gardeners everywhere." -Sharon Lovejoy, contributing editor of Country Gardener Magazine

Customer Reviews

I am looking forward to using it, when planting my garden this coming spring.
Jayne Ann Wires
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in companion gardening, organic garden, or just wants to grow something!
A. Huff
This book is easy to read, packed full of great information and most importantly, easy to reference.
K. Edwards

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

297 of 302 people found the following review helpful By Shelly Sutherland on February 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
My first impulse was to give this book only one or two stars, but:

a) I read it right after Carol Deppe's "Breeding Your Own Vegetable Varieties" and that is a really tough act to follow. It is CRAMMED with information and fun and intriguing ideas.

b) After reading other reviews, I don't think I had a good idea of what the book was like. That isn't the book's fault.

My first frustration is that the book is not very well organized. The information that is useful is buried in meandering chapters that tend to repeat themselves.

Second frustration--the recommended companions are almost all flowers. I have a small garden and not much room for flowers. I was expecting to know whether I should plant my onions next to the tomatoes or the peas...just a few basics. But there isn't that kind of information in here. In fact, Ms. Cunningham doesn't mention a single thing NOT to plant next to anything else. If I remember right, from Biology class, some plants don't grow as well next to others. I've gotten this idea from a few internet sites as well, but I guess I'll have to go buy another book to find out for sure.

My final and biggest problem with the book is that she rarely explains why she mixes the flowers that she does. Over and over she mentions the same three reasons for her style in general:

1) attract pollinators

2) "confuse" insects that damage your garden

3) to look pretty (!)

I do think that some people might prefer this kind of lighter read, and there are a few pages of useful information about each main type of garden crop in the back. It's just not nearly enough for a beginning gardener to know where to start.
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230 of 234 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on June 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although GREAT GARDEN COMPANIONS appears to be about what to plant with what, Sally Cunningham's book is about much more. Cunningham is a `Master Gardener' associated with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in upstate New York (growing zone 6) and has spent many hours practicing what she preaches in her nearby garden. Her garden (as shown in diagrams and photographs) reminds me somewhat of those shown on National Public Television's long-running Victory Gardens (raised beds, yummy soil), but Cunningham's advice and ideas are 100 percent organic.
While many people understand organic gardening involves the use of raised beds, mulch, compost, and cover plants that enhance soil friability, retain moisture, and restore soil, few books discuss the ecosystem within which gardens exist. Cunningham works a large garden at the edge of fallow farmland (where the glaciers left very nice black soil), however, many of her ideas will work in a smaller and/or less fertile places.
Some of the more interesting sections of Cunningham's book cover "old-time" notions such as how to build row hedges that attract birds and act as wind breaks; how to identify insect friends and foes and cultivate the former while repelling the latter; why toads, moles, birds, dogs, cats and horses can be great garden companions. For example, Cunningham says moles have been given a bum rap and dogs and cats can actually help you ward off the bunny rabbits and other critters who might make a meal of your lettuce. Horses are a fabulous source of organic fertilizer-should you be so lucky to own one.
Cunningham uses virtually everything that is biodegradable to make compost. She stops by the side of the road to sweep up leaves and pine needles discarded by others.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Laurelp52 on June 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Which plants enhance other plants, attract good bugs, repel bad bugs. Vegetables that are compatible and incompatible. Each section is comprehensive, easy to follow. Great tips, especially the home-made Tomato cages. The paperback version is very nice, lots of pictures and illustrations and large, I also have the hardback. There is information about diseases, ways of planting (container, etc.)This should be in every gardner's library, from beginner to professional.
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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Artemis Gems on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is what gardening is all about! This text approaches gardening in a sustainable, "natural-chaos", good for you and the earth manner. The illustrations are clear, the diagrams simple, new/unfamiliar terms well explained. Very clear, concise, imaginative, and inspiring. The author deserves a BIG thank-you for writing this book. It takes the guess work and mystery out of organic gardening and companion plants. Her methods are simple and effective.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you do `Organic', then you probably already know Rodale Press and their penchant for searching out and finding the best possible authors. With Sally Jean Cunningham they certainly have a hit the jackpot. She writes so clearly and with such joy that you would think she was a Rodale herself.

To give you an idea of what her style is like, in the introduction, Sally Jean illuminates the three harvests that she personally derives from her garden. The first is what you would expect, healthful vegetables and beautiful flowers; the second however is "satisfaction and peace of mind". And the third, she says, is the experience of getting to teach to others the techniques and secrets that she has learned over a lifetime of experimentation in the garden.

It would be very difficult to outline all that she teaches. Giving the chapter headings would only be misleading, but suffice it to say that she covers companion planting, french intensive/raised gardening, organic soil building and pest control (which happily includes how to train dogs and children to stay out of the raised beds-LOL) And this in the first few chapters.

From there she covers `"good guys" or those beneficials we'd all like to see dancing about our blooms, the inclusion of perennials amongst the seasonal throng; and design elements, such as arbors, creative mulch, creative garden design, etc.

Of continual use to me over the years are the sections at the end of the book where she goes veggie by veggie describing friends, foes, growing essentials, spacing, feeding, harvesting tips and problems one is likely to encounter.
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Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden
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