The Nuts and Bolts of Companion Planting
This month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work. In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
This week I want to talk about another way to protect and nurture your plants. I want to discuss companion planting.
What is Companion Planting?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac defines companion planting as:
“Time-honored gardening wisdom says that certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and yields. For instance, some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, while other plants (particularly herbs) act as repellents. Additionally, plants that require a lot of the same nutrients as their neighbors may struggle to get enough for themselves, producing lackluster crops.”
Companion planting certainly makes sense when you think about it. Have you ever noticed that nature doesn’t grow just one type of plant in an area, but likes to throw numerous varieties together? It is not natural to grow a monocrop and a lot of the reason for that the variety supports the natural balance of nutrients in the soil.
The Benefits of Companion Planting
The benefits of companion planting include
1. Shade Regulation where the taller plant shades a shorter more sun sensitive plant.
2. Natural Supports where sturdy, fast growing taller plants provide natural support for vining plants.
3. Improved plant health-one plant provides nutritional support for another plant species.
4. Healthy soil-some plants have deeper taproots that prevent soil compaction.
5. Weed suppression-planting sprawling plants around upright plants to suppress weeds.
Three sisters Gardening is the best-known form of companion planting.
Three Sisters Gardening Style
Here are some related articles about the individual types of plants grown in a three sister’s garden.
Growing All Varieties of Winter Squash
Extend Green Bean Harvest Upward with Pole Beans
For the Best Sweet Corn, Grow It in Your Own Backyard
Three sisters isn’t the only way we can use companion planting. Here are a few other articles that explain how other plants can be part of companion planting.
Growing Beets in the Home Garden
Sweet Peppers Companion with Sweet Basil
The Hottest Tips for Growing Hot Peppers at Home
Growing and Saving Seed from Heirloom Tomatoes
Simply Vegetable Gardening
These and many more tips can be seen in my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. Simply Vegetable gardening is available on Kindle:
and in Print:
This is something I learned the past three years or so. Didn’t know it until then….very important for gardeners to learn this…this and crop rotation!
Yes, plant rotation is very important as well. That would definitely be another article I could write.