Gardening can be a relaxing, exciting and rewarding hobby, especially when it comes to growing your own food. But did you know that there is a simple way to improve the productiveness of your vegetable garden, the taste of your crops, and make the whole process easier on yourself? That’s right; we’re talking about companion planting!
If you’ve never heard of this method, or if you’re simply not familiar enough with it, then you’re in luck! In this guide, we will cover everything a beginner needs to know about companion planting, its benefits, and even some examples that you can try in your garden today!
Then keep reading, because this post is just for you!
What is companion planting?
Many people think that companion planting is just planting two different plant varieties together, but that’s not all there is to it. The art of companion planting involves knowing which species will grow well together, how they can help each other, and which plant will hinder the other’s growth.
To put it short, companion planting is the act of planting two or more different plant species together to reap the benefits, such as pest control and soil improvement.
While there is limited scientific research on the topic, many gardeners swear by its effectiveness. Unfortunately, the exact methods are not very well documented, and most knowledge on the subject comes from tradition and word of mouth.
What are the benefits of companion planting?
Now that you know what companion planting is, let’s get into what its benefits are in the garden.
One of the more apparent benefits is that you can save space by planting different species close together. Not only is this a great space-saving solution, but it also makes garden maintenance much more manageable. Since your plants are not spread out over a large area, watering, feeding, and harvesting require much less time and effort.
Different plant varieties use up different nutrients from the soil. So, sowing these plants together will guarantee that they won’t compete for the same resources and the earth will remain healthy. Some plants, such as beans, can even improve the nutrient content in the soil! All of this guarantees higher yields and better quality produce. Besides, some plants, such as basil, are said to improve the taste of your veggies. Now, doesn’t that sound good?
Planting certain varieties of crops together can help them grow easier and much more comfortable. Some sturdier plants can provide support for climbing species, while tall, bushy plants can shelter short, shade-loving varieties from the sun.
Last, but not least, companion planting can ensure that an important gardening aspect is dealt with – pest control! Yes, some herbs and flowers can act as pest repellents, while other plants can act as sacrificial crops. Not only does companion planting help you control those pesky pests, but some plant varieties can even attract beneficial insects to your garden!
All in all, companion planting is a fantastic way to optimise your garden space, your crop production and ensure the best possible growing conditions for your plants.
Popular companion planting combinations
We know that learning which plants go well together takes time. After all, there are so many varieties and so many possible combinations! Nevertheless, we have compiled a list of 10 popular crops and their suitable companion plants. Take a look!
Tomatoes A widespread, useful and effective solution is to plant tomatoes and basil together. They are made for each other! They go well combined in the kitchen and planting them close by makes them easier to harvest. But that’s not all! Basil also repels flies and mosquitoes and is said to help produce higher tomato yields. So, consider planting these two together. Other useful companion plants for tomatoes include carrots, onions, and peppers.
Corn, pole beans, and pumpkins This companion planting method, often called the Three Sisters, is of Native American origin and is commonly used around the world. Here’s how it works: the corn provides support for the beans to grow, while the beans return nitrogen to the soil for the others to use. The pumpkin leaves act as mulch that keeps weeds at bay and increases moisture retention in the ground.
Potatoes Beans are one of the best companion plants for potatoes. As we mentioned above, they add nitrogen to the soil, which is said to improve the taste and growth of this crop. So, planting beans around your potatoes can significantly enhance your production. Other suitable plants are corn, basil, cabbage, and marigolds.
Carrots Carrots and tomatoes go hand in hand in the garden! The tomato plants provide shade to the carrots and repel pests that usually target them, while the carrots aerate the soil around the tomato roots. Some other companion planting options for carrots are leeks, rosemary, sage, and chives.
Lettuce Lettuce can benefit greatly if you plant it next to mint, chives, garlic, marigolds, tomatoes, radishes, or onions. Chives and garlic help deter aphids, while marigolds attract ladybugs that eat them. Mint, on the other hand, repels slugs that like to snack on your lettuce.
Radishes Radishes do well when planted close to carrots and nasturtiums. Carrots and radishes can grow comfortably together, as they don’t compete for the same soil nutrients. Nasturtiums can improve the growth and flavour of your radishes, as well as act as a sacrificial crop, as many pests are attracted to it and will leave your other plants alone. Other suitable companion plants are cucumbers, onions, cabbage, and lettuce.
Onions This crop can work well planted next to many species, such as carrots, beets, cabbage, lettuce, parsnips, tomatoes, and rosemary. A common reason why people choose to plant onions next to their crops is because their pungent smell deters most pests, for example, aphids and grubs.
Cucumbers When planted close by, radishes and marigolds can help repel cucumber beetles. Nasturtium is also suitable, as it improves the growth rate and flavour and, as mentioned previously, acts as a sacrificial crop that lures pests away from your precious veggies. Some additional companion plants include beans, cabbage, and corn.
Peppers When planted next to peppers, basil repels aphids, flies and mosquitoes, and is said to improve the flavour of the crop. Other pepper companion planting options include onions, spinach, carrots, and parsley.
Cabbage Plant nasturtiums next to your crop to attract harmful pests away from the cabbage and onto the flower. If you want to keep pests away wholly, opt for mint, instead. Tomatoes and celery work great to repel cabbage worms in particular. A couple of other good companion plants are broccoli and spinach.
Planting various crops or aromatic herbs together will prove to be an effective pest control method, as most pests will get confused by the variety of smells and will find it challenging to locate their host plant.
Plant combinations you should avoid
While many plants grow perfectly in each other’s company, some don’t do well planted together at all. Be it competing for the same nutrients or attracting the same pests; there are various reasons why they won’t thrive close by. So, which companion planting combinations should you avoid? Here they are!
Tomatoes Avoid planting tomatoes and potatoes together, as they suffer from the same blight. Corn and tomatoes, on the other hand, can be attacked by the same worm species. Also, steer clear of dill, as this herb slows down tomato growth.
Beans Plant them far away from tomatoes, peppers, and leeks. Keep in mind that garlic and onions can stunt the growth of beans.
Potatoes This crop competes for the same nutrients as many others and can easily spread disease around your garden, so do your research well before planting. Steer clear of planting cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and carrots next to your potatoes.
Carrots Avoid planting carrots next to dill, as this herb can slow their growth. Parsnips and carrots suffer from the same disease and get attacked by the same pests, so they don’t make a good combo. Keep them away from radishes, too.
Lettuce Lettuce can quickly get crowded by parsley when planted together, so avoid that combination. Turn away from cabbage, beans, and celery, too.
Radishes This crop doesn’t like to grow next to hyssop, grapes, turnips, and brussels sprouts.
Onions While they are a great pest control solution, onions can stunt the growth of beans and peas, so don’t plant them too close. Keep them away from asparagus and lentils, as well.
Cucumbers Most aromatic herbs, such as sage, can stunt the growth of cucumbers, so they don’t make a good pair. Cucumbers can encourage blight in late potatoes, too, so avoid this combination.
Peppers This crop won’t do well when planted next to fennel, beans, and brussels sprouts.
Cabbage Keep cabbage away from strawberries, grapes, and rue.
Avoid planting mint directly into the soil next to any crop, as the herb spreads very quickly and easily, and can smother the rest of your plants. Keep mint in pots to contain its growth.
Are you struggling to plan out your garden?
If planning a garden is not how you would like to spend your afternoon or your day off, then why not turn to the professionals for help? We, at Fantastic Services, offer a reliable planting service with guaranteed results! We can plan out your garden, prepare a suitable planting scheme, and even source all the plants you need without you having to lift a finger! Sounds good, right? So, what are you waiting for? Book your landscaping survey now using our simple online form!
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Companion planting is the act of growing two or more suitable species together to reap the benefits.
Companion planting can help produce higher yields, better taste, and provide pest control.
Different plants can offer different results and benefits when planted together.
Not all plants can grow well together, so make sure to research before planting.
Did you find this post helpful? Do you feel like you know enough about companion planting? Tell us down in the comments!