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Does Salvia Inhibit Veggie/Melon Growth? (Cross-Posted

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

in Vegetable Forum)

One of my favorite flowers is Victoria Blue Salvia, and I've been interplanting it in my vegetable rows, potager-style, along with other flowers like marigolds and zinnias. Last year I noticed that a couple of very sturdy salvia plants that had overwintered in the row that I was using for melons seemed to inhibit their growth. The plants on either side of the salvia didn't do much of anything at all. This year I had some big salvia plants in with my peppers and eggplants and those didn't do well either. I don't know whether it was just a bad year, or whether salvia possibly produces some chemical or plant hormone that negatively impacts some or all other plants. Ideas?

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

I haven't heard anything about Sage being allelopathic (like black walnuts) - and a quick Google search only turns up Salvia lecophyllum, which was a false study, anyway. Maybe they're shading the plants or providing too much competition via root system?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Sheryl, could just be the competition via root systems, but it was really dramatic the way my melons edged away from the large plants of salvia that had overwintered. In the spring they were just little slips of things but boy, did they grow!

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Sounds like you need to find another spot for your melons, lol! Priorities, priorities....

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Well, I did, this year, but my peppers, which had salvia growing rather wildly in among them, didn't do as well as usual. That could have been because they were crowded out by the squash; I hadn't expected those to get as big or last as long as they did!

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

So, is it a success or a scratch?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Sheryl, I didn't have much luck with my melons this year, either. I grew French ones and they weren't very prolific, and only one of the melons from one plant was really sweet - the rest were very bland. I think it was because of all the rain we had, but maybe they needed more Epsom salts and borax. It was a better year than last year, though. My watermelons were good.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Ugh, yeah - the weather really played tricks on many of us, didn't it? Of the 5 types of tomatoes I put in, the ones that did the best were not very good tasting. But I'm sold on German Pinks - they got a really bad case of blight (like everything did) but still produced like nothing else. Early Girls were good, too, Better Boys were a waste of good dirt. Anything that even resembled a curcurbit pretty much died or rotted. Sheesh.

Are you interplanting the flowers to attract beneficials or are you doing it for aesthetics? I'm sure you're probably familiar with the "Carrots Love Tomatoes" book, knowing you are a reader, as well!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I've never read the book although I'm familiar with it. I plant marigolds to deter beetles and nasturtiums to try to deter SVB and squash bugs, and I do pay attention to plant likes and dislikes, which is why I started wondering about my salvia. A lot of the flowers in my garden are just to accentuate the potager effect, though. It was really gorgeous this year and I enjoyed sitting and admiring it!

I plant OP varieties so I can save the seed, and I do mostly French ones, especially tomatoes.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

French tomatoes? What's up with that?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Someone gave me some French tomatoes a couple of years ago, and I saved the seeds and planted them. When we were in France I picked up some more packets of seeds because I thought it would be fun to try different varieties than the usual ones around here. Marmande never did much for me, but St. Pierre has become a new favorite; very productive and resistant to problems even this summer when tomatoes didn't do very well for me. I also really admire French gardens; they're intensive but also very attractive and I like the way they keep them going and try to eat out of them at least three seasons. I don't know if I'll manage that this year, but I still have chard coming along, and I have some spinach and beets and lettuce growing too. Since it was in the 40's here today I'm not sure how well they'll do, but it was an experiment!

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

That's great - hope they keep going for you. You could always throw out a couple sheets on a frosty night, just to stretch it a little farther...

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