What is Companion Planting?

Companion Planting

In life, some people make you better, or some leave you worse off.  When it comes to gardening, there is no difference. Some plants benefit from being planted near each other, while some plants suffer when planted near to each other.  So if you knew you could plant a specific plant, flower, or herb next to your crops that would help increase yields or pest resistance, would you?

Companion planting is not a new concept. Indigenous Americans practiced a planting method known as three sisters; three sisters is a combination of planting corn, squash, and beans together. The corn stalks act as a pole for the beans to grow, the beans supply nitrogen for the corn and squash, and the squash leaves shade the ground and stop weeds from growing in the soil. For this to work, you must plant each of these at different times. Corn first so that it has time to grow tall enough for the beans to use as a trellis and squash last so that the vertical components have significant time to grow. This concept is known as companion planting.

What exactly is companion planting?

Companion planting is planting individual plants within the proximity of each other. It has shown to either increase pest resistance, increase yield, or even increase in flavor. Not all crops are benefit things planted around them. Plant the wrong plants together, and you could increase the frequency of pests, decrease harvest because plants are competing for the same nutrients or even completely inhibit the growth of some crops.  

When it comes to companion plants how do these unspoken benefits work?  A lot of different factors at work,  it is the oils secreted by a plant and the smell it produces. Also it is different bacteria and fungi within the root zone that work together in a symbiotic relationship. Often times the benefits are provided due to the beneficial insects that are attracted by the companions.  Somethings you cant explain how or why they happen it is just nature

Companion Planting Pairs

A well known companion planting pair is basil and tomatoes. Did you know that is only one of the tomatoes “friends” in the garden?  What I have noticed is that, while there are some proven matches, I haven’t had all the success with companion planting as others. Also, some of the allure of companion plants is not explained well.  

Look at garden centers and information online and they will tell you to plant marigolds with tomatoes to deter pest and nematodes. While planting marigolds will deter pest just planting, it will not stop the nematodes.  You must grow the marigold throughout the season and then til it into the soil to help with the nematode issue. Also, the benefit that is often overlooked with marigolds is all the beneficial insects they bring to the garden.  

 So what are some common friends and foes? Click here to download companion planting list. Try them out over different seasons and see which pairings work for you.  Like I was told in life, everythig is not for everyone, meaning not every pair listed here may work for you a lot depends on your garden.

What is Companion Planting?

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