Companion planting may seem like an odd idea. But companion planting is one of the easiest ways to mimic a natural ecosystem more closely. For healthy gardening, companion planting is useful. Companion planting is all about matching plants that can benefit each other, whether they are flowers, vegetables, fruits or herbs. Companion planting is based on the principle that companion plantings can attract or repel insects and provide support to other plants. Companion planting is basically a form of polyculture. If you choose the option of companion planting, then there are many benefits you will see in your garden. Before digging into the benefits of companion planting – let’s understand the basics of companion planting.
What is Companion Planting?
According to Wikipedia,
Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for any of a number of different reasons, including pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial creatures, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase crop productivity.
Benefits of Companion Planting
There are many great reasons to choose companion planting in your garden. We have listed some of the benefits as under:
1. Companion Planting saves space
If you want to have maximum benefits for your small garden then companion planting is the best option. You can save the space by planting a vining plant under a taller one. This way you can use space which would otherwise stay empty. Another way is to plant quick-growing crops in between rows of slower growing crops. Choosing the right plants is an essential factor in companion planting. For example, growing tomato and carrots together is useful as tomatoes are heavy feeders and carrots are light feeders. There will be no competition between them because each plant has a different nutrient need and grows in a different season. Growing radishes and green onions is also a good choice for your garden.
2. Companion Planting can be useful to attract beneficial insects
If you have a wide variety of plants available in your garden, then insects will spend more time in your garden and will help you in pollinating too. For healthy growth of your garden, insects like butterflies, bees, and birds are important as they provide the best pest control and pollination for your plants. In your garden, you can add patches of flowers and flowering cover crops like clover, vetch, and buckwheat. Crab apples, hawthorn, and currants are worth planting in your garden.
3. Shelter & Support
There are many plants – you can use to protect your vegetable plants from the wind. For example, you can plant bushes. If you have planted lettuce then growing peppers or tomatoes nearby can be beneficial. For beans, you can plant corn – it will provide natural support to beans. Because beans will use corn as a climbing pole. So there will be no need for reinforcement. Larger plants can protect other plants from the wind or sun.
4. Helps the soil
If you want to keep your soil moist and prevent erosion then have companion plants in your garden. Open soil patches would be waste of the space. Plants like cucumber and squash are used for shading the soil. Shading soil can be useful in times of drought. Even some vegetable plants improve the soil quality of other plants. For example, beans help to restore nitrogen in the soil. You can also choose plants with broad leaves such as Marigolds and buckwheat.
5. Companion planting helps with disease issues
If you have the same type of plants in the whole garden then diseases will spread quickly. To avoid spreading, you can add different species in your garden so that you can slow down the spread of disease. There are many plants available which make other plants healthier. For example, if you grow basils near tomato plants then basils will make your tomato plants healthier.
Companion plant examples
Check out the following list of companions plants which you can grow in your garden:
- Asparagus, Tomatoes, and Parsley
- Beans & Marigold
- Cabbage & Buckwheat
- Carrots & Rosemary
- Onion & Mint
- Beets & Garlic
Using the above examples in your garden can help you to achieve a beautiful garden. Companion planting is not the exact science. Though this technique had been used by Native Americans for centuries. With companion planting, you can add diversity to your garden. We hope that you will follow the above suggestions and will make your garden more beautiful. Happy gardening!