The practice of companion planting is actually thousands of years old. Behind this practice lies the theory that certain plants, when combined with others, will grow better, fend off insect and disease problems, and even improve the flavor of the crop. To read more about this organic gardening method, keep reading!
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the practice of combining certain plants together in a garden with the idea that some plants work very well to keep other plants healthy. In some cases, a certain herb will be grown with a particular vegetable crop to deter insect pests. Sometimes two vegetable crops will be grown together because one of them provides nutrients for the soil that the other one can benefit from. Companion planting is an important tenet of organic gardening because it makes a point of truly working with nature, and not relying on chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Advantages of Companion Planting
Besides the fact that companion plants can help fend off pests, there is another very good reason to practice companion planting. By combining plants, you avoid creating a 'monoculture,' which is what you typically see in most gardens. A monoculture is basically a garden or garden bed planted with only one type of plant. The problem with monocultures is that they are automatically more susceptible to problems. If there is an insect or disease that commonly affects a certain crop, such as cabbage worms destroying cabbage crops, an insect that finds a garden planted only with the type of crop it likes can destroy that garden in no time flat. By companion planting, you do several very important things: first, you guarantee that even if (for example) the cabbage worms find your cabbage, they won't be able to kill your entire garden because you'll have planted more than just cabbage. Second, many companion plants send out aromas that confuse insect pests, so there is a good chance that the insects won't even be able to find your cabbage. And, third, by planting several types of plants in a garden, you increase its biodiversity, which will result in more beneficial insects, birds, and even toads taking up residence and waging war on your pests. Not too shabby!
Common Home Garden Companion Plant Combinations
These combinations have been shown to make plants grow healthier, stronger, and with fewer pest problems. Try them out in your garden!
|Vegetable Crop ||Companion Plants
||Marigolds, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumbers
||Sage, Lettuce, Onions, Brassicas
||Dill, Chamomile, Rosemary
||Beans, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Tomatoes
||Peas, Beans, Cucumbers, Melons, Squash
||Beans, Lettuce, Radishes, Peas
||Strawberries, Carrots, Radishes
||Beans, Carrots, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce
||Marigolds, Parsley, Carrots, Basil