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February 2004
Gardening in
"Little Siberia"

Advice and tips on
Companion Planting

© 2004 Janelle N. Seavey

Companion Planting – a gardening system using the natural affinities of plants to promote or inhibit growth in their neighbors. Knowing which plants like each other and which ones don't can increase the health and vitality of your garden, improve the taste and nutritional value of your vegetables, confuse pests so you can eliminate toxic chemicals, attract beneficial insects and add to the enjoyment of gardening.'

Janelle gardens on about four acres on the Messalonskee Stream, an outlet from Messalonskee Lake, one of the Belgrade Lakes Region Lakes, one of which is Great Pond, made famous in the movie "On Golden Pond". 

She is an "enthusiastic and a tad obsessed" gardener who has been companion planting for over 20 years.

Gardening in "Little Siberia" index

also see Books - Companions

The "My Gawds" Before The Mud

How very foolish of me! How could I so badly err? Me, a native ‘Main-a’ at that! Some time ago I think I mentioned the fact that Maine has not four seasons but five, the 5th one being the all-too-familiar (to us, anyway) "mud season." This, being the time between winter and spring when, before we are graced with a single crocus, we are subjected to anything that is not covered with cement or asphalt being engulfed in 6 inches of boot-sucking, dog- paw-tracking mud. And, unfortunately, our dogs, our kids and our spouses will not agree to being hosed off in the dooryard when it’s still 25 degrees.

Well, there is a sixth season that apparently skipped my recall as I’ve whined, in several articles, about our, uh, peculiar weather here. This season does not start on a pre-determined date. It cannot be anticipated with any strict regularity. This year, however, seems to be shaping up to be a prime 6th season year.

Actually, all the pieces began to fall into place around mid-December, before Christmas. After two record snowstorms within the first two weeks of December, each followed by record warmth and downpours (a total abnormality), the temperature dropped to the Arctic comfort of –20F…and stayed there, for the next 6 weeks. As if we were laughing in the face of the weather gremlins, the wind also blew…nonstop…honestly…the entire 6 weeks. The wind chill factor was consistently –45F. My house has never been cleaner; what else was there to do but clean when taking the trash out to the garage required an entire polar expedition force from National Geographic? I swear, a chickadee, our cute, little, state bird, was reported as having demanded a re-count of the election that put him in that position.

Here it is now, the next-to-the-last day of February, and that previously unmentioned 6th season is starting to raise its little head. In grocery stores, in the post office, in the coffee shop, its rumblings have been heard.

"My gawd, it’s been cold!"

"Cold? My gawd, it’s been wick-uhd cold!"

"Good gawd, I ain’t nev-uh seen such gawd-awful cold!"

From here, this rhetoric gently slides into the next phase of Season 6.

"Heard it was s’posed to reach 25 degrees tomorrow. Gawd, I hope so."

"Well, good gawd, man, I heard this weekend would get up to 30 degrees!"

"Gawd-all-mighty, first person I hear complaining about the heat this summer is gonna find my scarf wrapped up-round his head!"

Finally, the segue into mud season chatter;

"Gawd, Ma, I lost them boots you got me for Christmas just gettin’ from the truck to the house!"

I think you get what I mean…basically, any weather related conversation, which pretty much describes what passes for spontaneous exchange here in Maine, requires lots of "gawd-ing". Only our slow, drawled, Down East accent keeps people from thinking we’re actually sprinkling our commentary with the name of a Deity, and thank ‘gawd’ for that!


Welcome to a new season of "Gardening in Little Siberia"! In the coming months, I look forward to sharing a new and exciting experience with you, along with companion planting tips. I will be helping a neighbor, working as a small crop sharecropper. He and his wife run a 30-acre farm, a farm market, and a popular and successful café/gift/deli/wine shop. I’m actually thinking of it as being more of a volunteer job on my part, as I’ll get lots of information as well as share some, I hope. As long as I’m outside and the work is physical, I’m happy! And besides, he may let me drive their beautiful, new, Kubota tractor! Until then, get those seed catalogs out and happy garden planning!