Customer Reviews: Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
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HALL OF FAMEon May 15, 2003
I love CARROTS LOVE TOMATOES?an update and revision of the original companion planting book. I used many of these ideas the summer of 1975 when I had a half acre garden. My traditional farmer neighbor laughed when I told him what I was going to do, but later in the summer when the insects devastated his vegetable patch he threatened to come over and pull up all my borage and marigolds. He had to admit I was onto something. We had a few mishaps?white and yellow corn planted to close together = polka-dot corn, but we ran beans up the stalks as Riotte suggests and it worked well. The Mexican bean beatles came to visit and stayed for dinner, but we soon learned how to control them. Marigolds in the rows and our evening search to destroy the yellow egg clusters ensured a good crop. My kids learned a great deal about ?real? survival that summer and they didn?t find it on tv. We had squash, melons, tomatoes, and all sorts of other vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and mixed and matched them as companion plants. At the end of the summer, I canned like crazy and made colorful jars of green beans and white and yellow corn. Everything we grew was organic and it tasted great.
Louise Riotte includes many suggestions from the first book. Topics in the new edition include vegetables, herbs, wild plants, grasses and grains, and others. Considering what is planted where is important. For example, you should not plant peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes close together or in the same container. These vegetables are related and planting them close together inhibits growth.
Matching vegetables and herbs or avoiding combinations of vegetables and herbs that inhibit each other isn?t the only topic discussed in this book. Riotte says that tomato leaves can be pulped in a blender full of water and used as a spray that inhibits Black Spot on roses. Similarly, certain kinds of peppers produce a nice insect deterrent. I?ve grown Pyrethrum (a type of Chrysanthemum) in my garden for years. Pyrethrum has been marketed in the West as a bug repellent since at least 1828, but the Chinese are thought to have used it for perhaps 2,000 years.
The best news is that you don?t have to have a half acre to become a gardener and use these ideas. Today, I live in an urban area and have a very tiny lot. I have converted the whole thing into a series of gardens, but half the yard is in shade and vegetables need sun. So, I have placed containers along the driveway in the sun and off the walkway near the patio out back. I am also using many ideas for vertical gardening. I continue to use the planting techniques Riotte suggests, including many for container planting. Compost is important-and even in urban areas you can save kitchen and garden scraps in a compost bin. Carrots may love tomatoes but roses love sh?.
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on July 9, 2001
I bought both of Louise Riotte's books, only to be disappointed by the fact that companion gardening is a small portion of the book. There are several other chapters on various interesting topics, but I wouldn't bill either one as a guide to companion planting.
The book is very interesting, but don't buy it if you are trying to get started in companion planting/gardening. Buy Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham instead. You'll get much more out of it.
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on May 27, 1999
I love this book. Ms. Riotte has answered many questions I have had. Nicely written for those just beginning there journey into gardening. She even devotes a section solely to poisonous plants which is very interesting! Ms. Riotte breaks the chapters down as follows: Vegetables; Herbs; Wild Plants; Grasses, Grains, and Field Crops; First Steps for Home Fruit Growing; Nuts; Ornamental Trees and Shrubs; Garden Techniques; Soil Improvement; Pest Control;Poisonous Plants; Garden Plans; Sources; Suggested Reading. I like the fact that things are crossed referenced, so while it is a good read, you can also use it as a manual. The only thing I thought could be improved upon in the book was the drawings of the garden plans. They look as though someone drew them on a piece of paper and then photocopied them into the book. They are legible but hard to read. Luckily in writing they explain what they are drawing.
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on May 23, 2011
The title of this book is somewhat misleading. There is not much help or organized content for companion gardening in this book. Whatever useful info there is it is randomly scattered through the book. For example, if you like to know what goes well with tomatoes you have to go to six different pages from the index and hope to glean something.
There is a whole lot of content about the history and use of some vegetables and herbs. Though might interesting info it is not why I bought this book.
In short, the book is nor organized well and any material content is thin. I've also purchased "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (10th Anniversary Edition)" and found that to be a tremendous help for companion planting because there is rich content that is organized and easy to find. So my recommendation is for you to skip this and buy the Vegetable Gardener's Bible instead.
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on February 22, 2007
I was absolutely horrified after reading the Fungi section in this book. Most of the information is blatantly incorrect (mushrooms are not plants, the destroying angel does not cause death in six hours, etc). Do NOT follow her belief that morels are a "safe and easy" mushroom to collect. They have several poisonous look-alikes that the beginner can easily mistake for a morel. The false morel can kill you if eaten raw or undercooked. Worse, the very inaccurate drawings in the book look much more like a false morel or elfin saddle than a true morel. As so many of the "facts" listed in the fungi section are wrong, I looked for more errors in the book and found them. It made me very suspicious of the rest of the information it contains. If you are looking for a good book on companion gardening get "Great Garden Companions, a Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden" by Sally Jean Cunningham.
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on March 28, 2010
I expected the book to be mostly about companion planting, and it wasn't. I would have been better off getting the book from the library and just copying the few pages that I was interested in. Most to the information in the book was information I already had elsewhere. For an experienced gardener, I thought this was a waste of money.
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This is a lovely book, filled with diagrams and charts. The nature of companion benefit or detriment is clearly and thoroughly examined in the first half of the book, while the second half demonstrates how to best plan for a garden even if you have no more than a small window. The children's garden and postage stamp garden plans deserve special mention.
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on January 8, 2010
I was looking for a book that would tell me what kinds of plants went well together (i.e. acid loving, alkaline loving, etc.). I bought this book but sadly, this was totally not what I was looking for. It's essentially folklore in that there is little to no fact presented - no sources, no references, no science, no hows and whys. This is pretty much the same kind of thing you'd find in an old "Foxfire" book, right next to the "Planting By Phases Of The Moon" chapter.
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on November 25, 2005
There is almost no science to back up the author's claims about the benefits of companion plants. Most of her book is based on folk tales, myths and assumptions.

A gentleman named Craig Dremann actually studied the effects of companion plants and concluded that carrots detest tomatoes. Carrots do grow well with garlic and radishes but they grow very poorly with tomatoes. Carrots only grew to 6% of normal when interplanted with tomatoes. Tomatoes grew better with carrots so clearly the tomatoes were robbing nutrients from the carrots. Tomatoes also grow better with garlic but the garlic suffers, only growing 35% of normal.

The Craig Dremann booklet with his findings is called "Companion Plants: Carrots Really Detest Tomaotes" and is available from Redwood City Seed Company in Redwood City, CA.
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on August 1, 1998
This book has revolutionised my gardening methods. Within a year of buying it 15 years ago, my garden became healthy and productive. Riotte has taught me how to match plants which are able to protect each other from pests and diseases without the use of sprays, chemical or organic. Her methods have built an invisible wall around my garden which keeps pests confined to my neighbors' yards without crossing into mine.
Had I never read another gardening book or watched any gardening show, this book alone would have made me a successful organic gardener. I highly recommend it to beginning or advanced organic gardeners alike.
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