Companion Planting - The What and Why for your Garden Benefits!
Plants are quite similar in certain aspects to us humans when it comes to them thriving and growing. Yes, water is one important part of both sides but other than that, just like we need social interaction or friends for a healthy growing environment so do plants. We have bullies in plant kingdom as well. Like humans, there is competition in plants for space, water and nutrients. Some plants that grow rapidly take over their neighbor plants’ nutrition, water and even ground space by spreading and making that plant weak. Some plants even produce toxins to slow the plant growth or kill other plants. But not all the plants act as bad guys some are like good neighbors helping others in their time of need and even saving them from bad guys (read bugs, pests, plants that overpower other plants’ area).
So to keep your plants surrounded by good neighbors, there is a concept called Companion planting. Some of you might be familiar with it and some might be new to this term or know only little bit. Let’s find out what exactly is this concept and how can it be useful to our gardens.
What is companion planting?
Companion planting essentially means to plant different crops in proximity to each other for various reasons like pest control, pollination, maximizing space usage, attracting beneficial insects for your garden and increasing your gardens productivity overall.
It’s like being a good plant neighbor to the other plant and helping each other grow by sharing what other plant might need and is like a symbiotic relationship.
What is the benefit of this type of planting?
It is highly beneficial for your garden by not just plants giving each other what they need but by planting different crops together, your garden enemies (pests) get confused in finding their host plant. The herbs and flowers planted together makes it difficult for the pests to find their greens because the scent of the flowers and herbs confuses them to reach the right location. Not just that certain herbs and flowers might attract beneficial insects to your garden making your garden healthy and nutrient dense.
Now let’s take a look at what plants go well with each other so you can plant them in your garden the right way to make it a thriving green space.
1.) Carrots: Carrots go well with tomatoes, beans, onion, pepper, radish. Tomatoes produce solanine which is a natural insecticide that attacks the pests attacking carrots. Carrots in return help tomatoes too by aerating soil and allowing water and air to reach the roots. Keep carrots away from Coriander and dill as both produce compounds that can harm carrots.
2.) Corn: Corn love beans, cucumber, melon, potato, pumpkin, squash. Keep away from Tomatoes as both corn and tomatoes have a common predator – corn earworm. Odorless Marigold and White Geranium prevent Japanese beetles.
3.) Pumpkin: Pumpkin likes Corn, Melon, Squash. It has allies in Marigold as it prevents beetles and Oregano gives general pest protection.
4.) Tomatoes: Loves Asparagus, Carrots, Celery, cucumber, Onion, Peppers. Few other greens and herbs that helps it stay safe and healthy are basil which helps repel mosquitoes and flues and improves flavor, borage prevents tomato worm and improves growth, Marigold prevents nematodes.
5.) Spinach: Loves the whole of cabbage family and strawberries.
6.) Lettuce: Add mint around your lettuce to keep the slugs at bay looking for lettuce leaves and plant chives and garlic to prevent aphids. Lettuce enjoys beans, broccoli, carrots, corn and marigolds as companions.
While these are just a few of the long list of plants that can be planted together. It can get you started in this new season of your favorite veggies. Find out more about the greens you want to grow and enjoy your garden.