companion planting

Companion Planting 101: How to Pair Plant Buddies for the Best

In order to increase the variety of your food supply, consider companion planting. Gardeners and farmers all over the world use this technique to get the most out of the planting areas they benefit from. Also, you will be able to enjoy richer crops and harvest a wide variety of tasty and healthy vegetables.

There are many advantages companion planting provides. Furthermore, you can use this technique not only for vegetables but for flowers and fruits, as well. In order to master companion planting, you only need to have a firm grasp on the basics of gardening. Any other further information, suggestions, and tips will be provided in this article if you choose to take on the challenge.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the best way to keep your crops clear of any pests using nature against nature. This concept refers to planting different types of fruits, vegetables or flowers in close proximity in order to make better use of the planting area and increase the productivity of the crops. Apart from proper tending to your garden, you must also look out for harmful insects of all sorts. With the aid of companion planting, you will be able to keep the pests away easily without using any pesticides or other industrial chemicals. The explanation is quite simple, easy to understand and completely logical.

Flying pests use a host-plant finding process in order to identify the healthiest and most nutritious environment in which they can lay eggs. In simple terms, they target only the greenest and most appealing plant in your garden. After they conduct a thorough inspection of the plant and are satisfied with the results, they proceed to lay their eggs. Companion planting disrupts this cycle in the safest way possible. The plants located in the close vicinity of the “target plant” act as decoys. An insect only tests the area a few times. If it does not land on the right plant in a matter of only a few tries, it will leave the area for good. As a result, the “target plant” is now safe from pests.

Companion Planting Advantages

Like in a herd, the strongest protect the weak or young ones. However, this is merely one advantage companion planting provides. Others include:

  • Pest Control and Suppression – some of the plants act as natural pest repellents for others
  • Productive Species Interaction – instead of fighting for nutrients, some species of plants can work together as a team in the fight for survival
  • Protective Shelter – some plants can serve as windbreaks or provide shade for others
  • Trap Cropping – gardeners grow companion plants in their garden in order to attract pests away from other species
  • Pattern Disruption – the progress of the pests is disrupted by companion plants when they try to advance from a certain plant to another of the same kind
  • Hedged Investment – multiple crops growing in the same space increase the odds of a healthy harvest, even if one or more crops fail

Companion Planting Table

No matter how good two plants look together, this is not a companion planting principle to follow if you wish to benefit from productive crops. The main rule of this practice is to place different plants in close proximity based on their compatibility.

For example, apples work really well with chives, wallflowers, garlic, onions, and horsetail. However, you should avoid planting potatoes close to an apple tree. Some vegetables such as beans do really well with carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, and parsley. However, we highly recommend not to plant onions, fennel, garlic or sunflowers nearby. When it comes to aromatic herbs, such as basil, competition for nutrients isn’t quite as fierce. However, do not take advantage of this fact and plant it anywhere. If you benefit from a rather small planting area, you can easily plant basil near tomatoes, apricot trees, parsley or asparagus. There is quite a large variety of different plant species. This is why before moving on to grow random plants near each other, make sure to consult a professional companion planting table.

Garlic Companion Planting

One of the most beneficial plant to have in your garden is garlic. Not only is it delicious and carries a wide range of health benefits, but it also doubles as a natural pest repellent. While growing, it accumulates sulfur which plays the part of a natural fungicide. This particular trait will help other nearby plants from getting any type of fungal diseases. When it comes to insects, however, you can rest assured as no aphids will come near garlic or other companion plants of garlic.

Most surely you want to know which plants thrive in the presence of garlic. All fruit trees benefit from the advantages garlic provides when growing near them. So, if you grow apples, peaches or apricots in your backyard, consider protecting them with garlic crops. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, carrots, potatoes, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower or eggplants also get along just fine with garlic. When it comes to bad company, however, nothing spells danger better than beans and peas. If you want to harvest any of these when the proper time comes, consider planting them as far away from garlic as possible.

Roses Companion Planting

When it comes to protection, rose bushes have everything already figures out. Because of the spikes and strong foliage, no large pests will dare come near them. However, smaller ones like aphids will probably develop a taste for the appealing plant. At the same time, these harmful intruders make for one of the most favorite foods for hummingbirds. Hence, consider planting some annuals, perennials, shrubs or ornamental grasses near rose bushes. This will make for a pleasant environment for a hummingbird, which, in turn, will not pass on the chance to feast on some aphids. Other plants that go extremely well with roses are thyme, sage, lavender, rosemary, and wormwood.

Apart from these, consider planting onions or garlic in close proximity of roses. These act like natural pest repellents and chase off small pests such as weevils, moles, aphids, and thrips. In addition to this, garlic will help roses fight mildew and black spots. Other natural pest repellents that go along great with roses are chives, basil, marigold (which doubles as a trap for snails) and mint. Parsley, in particular, is the best for protecting the plant from being invaded by rose beetles. Also, tansy fends off a wide range of flying pests as well as the Japanese beetles.

Companion Planting Technique for Roses

In order to avoid disturbing the roots, plant any companions at a distance of at least 12 inches away from the rose bush. Also, choose companion plants only after you have consulted the professional companion planting table. As a result, viable options should display the same preferences as the rose bush in terms of fertilizer, sunlight, soil requirement and water. For example, lavender shows up on the companion planting table as a suitable option to grow near a rose bush. However, in order to fully develop it needs a slightly drier environment.

Also, do not think about planting rhododendrons or acidic-living plants in general near a rose bush. Even if the roses will develop without any problems, these plants will not be able to thrive in a neutral pH soil. Furthermore, avoid growing plants that are likely to compete for water and nutrients with roses. Also, stay clear of any aggressive type that can overgrow and consequently crowd the roses.

Conclusion

Before deciding to do any changes to your garden, make sure you gather all the information you need. If you are thinking about companion planting, there are a few factors to take into account before moving on to actual planting. First of all, consult the professional companion planting table and determine which plant goes best with each other.

Only after you have in mind a clear plan of how your garden is going to look and what should it consist of start planting. Also, if you already have a nice collection, make sure you do not disturb or even harm the roots while planting companions. However, if you pay close attention to the instructions mentioned in this article, you will find yourself with a richer garden in no time!

 

Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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