Companion planting is more than just planting a garden filled with a variety of plants. While technological advances have stopped many companies from companion planting, knowing how to companion plant in your home food production can result in an abundant garden.
What is Companion Planting?
Certain plants, when planted near one another, chemically enhance or inhibit each other’s growth and well-being. Companion planting involves planting two or more plant species in close proximity that in combination, begin to grow and develop, and benefit one another. Planting two, or three, or more plants in combination can create higher yield, minimize pests and weeds, keep soil healthy, and make the food taste better.
Companion planting has been in practice for many years. The Native Americans developed a system to provide food for a balanced diet on a single plot of land. This system, known as the “Three Sisters,” planted corn, beans, and squash together to create the maximum potential of each plant. The corn stalks provide a support structure for the beans to grow on, the beans supply nitrogen in the soil to benefit the squash, and the squash provides a dense ground cover and foliage to suppress weeds and other harmful pests.
Companion Plant Suggestions
This year, there are many combinations of foods to try companion planting. There are many different fruits and vegetables that can benefit one another when planted in combination. You can plant tall plants to provide shade for sun-sensitive short plants, or plant strong herbs or onions to repel pests from more delicate plants.
What to try:
- Horseradish near potatoes – this increases disease resistance
- Pumpkins and sunflowers in close proximity as row crops
- The “Three Sisters” system and plant corn, beans, and squash together
- Sweet marjoram in your garden beds to sweeten vegetables and herbs
- Beans with beets, carrots, corn, or peas
- Radishes and spinach – radishes prevent pests from harming spinach
- Lettuce and onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, or tomatoes
- Cabbage and dill – the cabbage supports the floppy dill, and the dill wards off harmful cabbage pests
What to avoid:
- Dill with carrots or tomatoes
- Beans with garlic, onions, peppers, or chives
- Fennel with any other plants; keep them in their own corner
- Corn near tomatoes
- Cabbage with broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, or tomatoes
- Tomatoes and broccoli, cabbage, or potatoes