This week at Markham Middle School students learned that some plants in the gardens are friends. This concept is called companion planting. When planted in proximity, certain plants support one another and promote growth. Strength in numbers!
Students reflected on their friendships and shared some things that they enjoy doing together such as going to the movies, sleepovers, video games, and texting. How do plants spend their time together? They can attract certain pollinators, balance soil chemistry, strengthen flavoring, share different resources, etc.
There are many different combinations of companion plants. We decided to focus on tomato and basil, which are often found together in culinary dishes. They are also great to get in the ground for the spring and summer.
To get a little taste of the two together, students created a sampler cup of tomato and basil. They also made a quick and easy salad dressing consisting of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. It was a new mix of flavors for most students.
After our snack, some classes had the opportunity to plant tomato seedlings.
Speaking of friends in the garden, we had two new volunteers help out at Markham this week. Shout out to the amazing Nancy and Joey! Their assistance made a big difference in the garden and we were able to form smaller working groups.