Mimic nature in your garden, and give your vegetables the best possible tools to grow through companion planting. Companion planting is an outstanding way to improve your garden’s health and fruitfulness. When you plant compatible plants near each other, they can mutually benefit from each other’s attributes. Planting different types of plants close to each other can boost growth, repel pests, and even improve the flavor of your harvest.
In addition to the benefits to your plants, companion planting uses your garden space more efficiently, allowing you to harvest more varieties in a given space. The diversity that companion planting provides is also wonderful for pollinators, wildlife, and overall soil health. Discerning what works well together well and how certain plants can bolster others can greatly improve the productivity in your garden. Check out the benefits of companion planting and how it can make a difference in your garden.
We all want to get the most out of the garden space that we have. Save valuable garden space by planting a vining plant under a taller one, utilizing space that would otherwise remain empty. You can also plant quick-growing crops in between rows of slower growing crops for more efficient gardening.
Adds Shelter and Shade to Other Plants
Planting tall, sturdy plants with climbers can provide natural supports within your garden, eliminating the need for building separate structures and staking. Vertically friendly plants like corn and sunflowers can support lower-growing, climbing crops such as beans, cucumbers, and peas. Tall crops can also provide protective shade for plants that don’t require as much intense sun.
Useful to Attract Favorable Insects
There are a lot of insects that are extremely beneficial to gardens, and a wide variety of plants can increase the chances that they visit often. Butterflies, bees, and birds are essential pollinators for your garden’s healthiest growth. Also, these happy insects are the best kind of pest control for your treasured plants. A diversification of plants and flowers with extended and varying blooming periods are sure to keep beneficial insects continuously visiting your garden.
Helps the Soil
Planting different plant types together can help keep your soil moist and prevent erosion then. Open soil patches would be a waste of valuable garden space. Plants like cucumber and squash do a wonderful job shading the soil. Shading soil can be useful in times of drought. Some vegetable plants improve the soil quality of other plants. For example, beans help to restore nitrogen into the soil as they grow.
Companion Planting Helps with Disease Issues and Pests
A perfect example of this is the Nasturtium. The nasturtium plant is adored by the highly destructive pest, the aphid. Through smart companion planting, you can purposefully use the nasturtium plant as a host and sacrifice them to help protect nearby plants that are bothered by aphids.
Adds Continuous Beauty to the Garden
Vegetables aren’t the only plants that can benefit from companion planting. The benefits of companion planting can also be purely aesthetic. When you mix annuals and perennials or plants with varying bloom times, it is possible also to have your garden in a state of continuous bloom.
Some Helpful Tips:
As you embark on the journey toward companion planting, it doesn’t hurt to have some examples of what companions have been successful for other gardeners. Scroll through these suggested pairings and tips and discover what might be beneficial to your garden.
- Beans can use corn to climb on and beans repay the corn by feeding the corn with nitrogen.
- Nasturtiums and marigolds are good around all plants and deter a host of pests.
- Marigolds tend to repel Mexican bean beetles. Catnip repels flea beetles.
- Plant basil and tomatoes together. Basil improves the flavor of the tomatoes and deters aphids and other pests.
- Borage provides benefits to squash, strawberries, tomatoes by improving flavor and repelling tomato worms.
- Mint varieties and onions fend off destructive bugs
- Flax plants keep pests away from root vegetables due to the oils it produces.
- Garlic is a fabulous natural pest repellant around any plants.
- Lavender is full of color, but also keeps pests at bay.
- Cosmos flowers should be planted near your vegetable garden to attract predatory insects, such as ladybugs.
- Basil is a great companion to almost anything.
As you can see, there are endless benefits to companion planting. It is important to note that companion planting does not replace the need for proper garden preparation and maintenance. Any successful garden benefits from regular watering, occasional feeding, providing the proper light requirements, and nutrient-rich soil.
Remember that healthy soil means healthy roots for your plants, so it’s best to put the time in to amend the soil in your garden before planting your companion garden to give it the best start. Use a good mix of sand, peat moss, and manure compost to create an ideal growing environment in your garden.
You can utilize your knowledge of companion planting in any garden method. Container gardening, backyard gardens, and raised beds are all ideal locations to implement this practice. The more you learn about what works well together, the more fun that you will have working to get the very best out of your garden.