Did you know that some plants grow better together? It is a concept called "companion planting". The idea is straightforward. Specific plants tend to grow better either by themselves or with another particular plant. In fact, certain plants will not grow to their full potential if they are placed near a plant that is not considered their companion.
Although the concept may sound a little silly to those of us who have green thumbs, it actually does make sense. Companion planting will only work when it is appropriately done in a garden that is looked after and taken care of in the correct manner. The other good news is that it is relatively easy to do and any gardener can have a lot of fun with it. Plus, the results will be spectacular.
Despite most people who garden believing the idea of companion planting being associated with vegetables only, it does work with flowers too. Who knew there were certain types of flowers that grew better when they were planted near each other? However, for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on vegetables.
Many people have never heard of companion planting and don't know where to start. Here are some ideas for how to get started on producing the best garden, with the best results. First, since the plants that are companions need to be close together to achieve the proper results, gardens that use raised beds, wide rows or intensive square foot gardening methods will work the best.
Once the size and style of the garden are determined, the question is: What kinds of plants are going to be planted in it? Most people have a general idea about what they want to grow but it is essential to know what plants will grow best next to each other. Unfortunately, the lists created online can be very overwhelming, to the point one might even give up on companion planting altogether.
Farming:— saloveisall (@saloveisall) August 31, 2018
Advantages of 3 sisters companion planting:
- the squash/pumpkin shades the base of the corn, disallowing weeds and preserving moisture.
- there is less, if any, attack by pests because of the combined energies<read-that-as-plants-supporting-plants> of the 3 plants. Resa
However, there are a few popular tricks to the trade and these will help any gardener with companion planting. The list of what not to do is much shorter than possibilities of what to do. First, mixing dill with tomatoes or carrots is not a good idea and the crops will suffer. Next, do not plant beans near garlic, onions or chives. Finally, fennel should always be on its own, it's not a good companion for any other plants. Also, even though they are closely related, cabbage and cauliflower do not grow well together.
As mentioned above the list of companions is extensive but here are a few suggestions that can help anyone get started. These items grow very well with each other:
Tomatoes and cabbage
Brussell Sprouts and brassica oleracea
Corn and Beams
Radish and spinach
Broccoli and lettuce
Asparagus and basil
Carrots and peas
Onions and strawberries
Pear and turnip
Eggplant and potato
Those who want a more specific list can check The Old Farmers Almanac, which has a complete list.
Once you have decided on what plants you want in your garden, there are a few specifications to follow. It is not as simple as just planting certain plants together. Make sure to plant the shorter plants that grow well in the shade beneath taller, more bushier plants that need sun. Also try to place all of the taller plants at the north end of the garden, while the smaller ones should be put on the south end to ensure all plants that need sunlight will get the proper amount.
Chives, garlic, and onions repeal pests so make sure to plant them throughout the garden but remember they are not compatible with all other plants. Sometimes merely planting these plants near the garden is enough to keep those pesky bugs away.
Understanding the maturation rates of all the plants is imperative. It will give the gardener a better idea of not only when to plant crops but where. For example, if lettuce or spinach is planted first, then leave room to plant squash or melon later, this will help avoid weeds growing.
If done correctly companion planting will benefit a garden in various ways including nutrient sharing, physical protection, as well as insect, weed, and disease control. In the end, the plants will turn out better, the garden will look nice and bonus it will be insect free. Well, maybe not insect free but a garden will definitely have fewer harmful insects which is never a bad thing.
There are many websites, books, even blogs on this growing topic, so do some research and then just go for it! After all, all gardens are entirely different, so companion planting is definitely not one size fits all. What works for one gardener may not work for another.