Implement companion planting in your garden
The practice of companion planting has been around for generations. We see the principle working brilliantly when the three sisters – corn, beans, and squash – are planted together. Each crop is doing its part to sustain the other.
“Companion planting is about marrying plants that work well together in order to survive and grow strong and healthy. It’s a gardener’s and farmer’s way of creating a botanical community where all plants benefit one another and the garden as a living organism.” Josie Jeffery.
Caring for companion plantings isn’t any different from how you normally care for your garden. You still need to prepare the soil, plant at the proper time, and water and fertilize as necessary.
Benefits of companion planting
It can be fun to incorporate companion planting by combining two plants for a particular purpose. Let’s say that your crops are regularly attacked by insects. You can use companions to trap pests, repel them, or hide the plant altogether. They can’t attack what they don’t see or don’t like.
We all want to attract beneficial insects to our garden. Companions provide food and shelter to attract and protect them while they visit.
Some plants just grow well together just because they don’t compete for light or rooting space. It’s a win-win situation for both of them. Ultimately companion planting:
- Cuts out the need for chemicals
- Reduces labor in the garden
- Allows the plants to benefit each other by providing shade and attracting pollinators
- Helps the plants work in harmony by building nutrients in the soil
The biggest benefit of companion planting is adding diversity to your garden. Increasing the diversity of your garden plantings is a natural and effective way to avoid wiping out your vegetable garden when pests arrive. This diversity will minimize pest and disease problems.
Companion planting techniques
Some plants are known as nature’s pesticides and deter pests. They also attract pollinators. Marigold is the most popular of them.
Smelly crops also repel pests. Their aroma can be used to mask the scent of the main crop and hide it. Onion and garlic are some of the most famous.
Some plants are used for “trap cropping,” and are sacrificed to draw pests away from the main crop. Nasturtium is often planted with roses and lettuce to lure aphids away.
Some beneficial weeds naturally till the soil, letting the main crop dig its roots deeper. People often grow clover with tomatoes or corn to improve the quality of the soil.
You can grow plants that produce pollen and nectar to attract pollinators to your garden. Fennel, sunflower, and lemon balm are popular pollinators that anyone can grow.
You can actually change the flavor of neighboring plants by using herbs. If you interplant tomatoes and basil it will improve the flavor of both.
4 Common summer crops and their companion plants
Companion plants for tomatoes:
Beans supply nutrients to the soil around tomatoes. They also improve yields.
- Borage will help suppress weeds and is a general health improver for the plants around it.
- Chives are wonderful pollinators and are known to help prevent disease.
- Nasturtium is a trap crop and aids with pollination.
- Oregano is a beneficial pollinator.
- Sage is shelter crop for tomatoes, protecting it from water damage.
- Sunflower not only attracts pollinators; it also acts a support and shelter crop.
Tomato should not be planted with dill, fennel, potatoes, kohlrabi or corn
Companion plants for Cucumber and Squash:
- Beans supply nutrients to the soil and also improve yields.
- Chamomile will improve the flavor and is a health improver
- Coriander is a beneficial plant attracting pollinator and deterring pests
- Corn acts as a support and shelter crop
- Dill with its scented leaves, deters pests
- Nasturtium is a trap crop, deterring pests and aiding with pollination.
- Oregano is a beneficial pollinator.
- Radishes, which can be grown as a catch crop and soil improver, will mature much faster.
- Sunflower attracts pollinators
Cucumber and squash should not be planted with sage or potato.
Companion plants for beans:
- Corn, which acts as a support and shelter crop.
- Cabbage will improve soil and yields.
- Carrots also improve the soil.
- Cucumbers help improve yields.
- Marigolds deter pests.
- Potatoes protect the bean against the Mexican bean beetle.
- Tomato acts as a support plant.
Beans do not like fennel, garlic, leeks, onions or shallots.
Companion plants for peppers:
- Basil, which deters pests.
- Chives act as a pollinator; deter unwanted pests and prevent disease.
- Chamomile improves flavor and health of the plant.
- Marigold improves plant health and soil health.
- Garlic’s pungent scent deters pests and prevents disease.
- Nasturtium is a terrific pollinator. It deters pests and acts as a trap crop.
- Oregano deters pests and acts as a pollinator.
- Sunflower is a shelter crop, helping to pollinate and support plants.
- Yarrow supplies nutrients to the soil, improves plant and soil health.
Peppers do not like: beans, fennel, and kohlrabi