Using Companion Gardening for Better Harvests

Using Companion Gardening for Better Harvests

Hey, do you remember what the Three Sisters of the Native Americans were?

Don’t worry, I searched for the answer too.

If you have been on the gardening side of the internet, you have probably heard of the term companion gardening before. Companion gardening is a gardening technique that has been used for thousands of years by humans.

What is companion gardening? What are the benefits? How do you find out which plants are compatible? What about the ultimate anti companion plant?

What is Companion Gardening?

Companion gardening is a technique of growing plants together to improve each other’s health and yield.

Some plants repel pests and mask the scent of other plants. Or lure in beneficial insects. Some can even add nitrogen to the soil. 

The Benefits of Companion Gardening

There are plenty of reasons to do companion gardening. It’s beneficial to you and your garden.

  • Natural support: Tall plants like sunflowers provide natural support for climbing plants like beans 
  • Healthier soil: Generous plants like beans add nitrogen to the soil
  • Shade regulation: Bigger plants provide shade for plants that don’t enjoy fun in the sun
  • Weed suppression: Plants that sprawl out like potatoes minimizes open space where weeds can pop up like Girl Scouts selling cookies
  • Natural repellent: Plants like marigolds repel pests and animals with their pungent smell

And you get a greater harvest and more plants!

Companion Charts

The simplest approach is to look at a companion chart. But scientists don’t fully understand companion gardening yet, so there isn’t an official chart. Charts also vary because they are based on experience and anecdotes. A reliable chart to go off of is this Companion gardening Chart from Burpee®.

Common Companion Plants

Although charts vary from source to source, there are some common plants and pairings.

  • Tomato and Basil: Basil can protect tomatoes from tomato hornworms like Italy depends on it
  • Zinnia and cauliflower: Zinnia attract ladybugs that can control pests like cabbage flies
  • Marigolds: Marigolds can repel nematodes (microscopic worms that destroy roots), pests and animals
  • Bush beans and corn: Bush beans use corn as a natural trellis and add nitrogen back into the soil
  • Lettuce and tomato: Tomato plants provide shade for lettuce that enjoys cooler environments
  • Nasturtiums and cucumbers: Nasturtiums repel pests that can damage cucumbers

The Ultimate Anti Companion Plant

The one plant that you should never directly plant next to your plants is mint. Mint is a wonderfully fragrant herb that has many uses. It is a favorite in many kitchen gardens with their everlasting supply of leaves that smell like candy canes and the holidays. 

Although it is a herb, mint grows like a weed. It spreads underground, so it is a challenge to get rid of every mint plant. And it will take over your garden and strangle all of your plants if given the chance. To prevent a nightmare like that, plant your mint in a container to enjoy its pest repelling benefits without the headache and stress of a mint infested garden.

Conclusion

Companion gardening is kind of a two in one deal. You get a healthier garden and a more bountiful harvest.

I know it’s hard, but don’t go off buying every flower that smells nice at the store. Marigolds are great for virtually every plant, so they are just fine for now. When you want to experiment with combinations, do the necessary research first. (You should bookmark this blog to save this info)

Happy gardening, till we meet again!

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My name is Sarika, and I am the founder of “The Blossoming Gardener”! Let me tell you a little bit about myself…Read more

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