Companion Gardening

As it has been rightly said, “Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.” It also stands true in the magical word of plants. Companion gardening is the new age way of gardening in which a plant is a friend with benefits.

Companion PlantingCompanion gardening and is the planting of different plants in proximity for pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial creatures, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase productivity and life. In scientific terms it is called “Polyculture”. It’s history dates back to 1970s where this technique was widely promoted as part of the organic gardening movement. It was encouraged for pragmatic reasons, but mainly with the idea that different species of plant may thrive more when close together. It’s helpful to think of building good plant communities when planning your garden. This is the most important concept behind companion gardening. Time-tested garden secrets say that certain plants grown close together and become the best friends for life.However, relationships between plants are varied. In plant communities, certain plants support each other while others, well, just don’t gel well. Plants, like people, compete for resources and the theory of survival of the fittest is what is followed. As a gardener, you’re the matchmaker who fixes the right couple and marries them off for a great future with no conflicts.

What is “Three Sister Planting”?

This age old pairing involves growing corn, beans and squash in the same garden . Corn stalks give beans support by helping them climb up the stalk. Beans, as all legumes, are the nitrogen fixation masters which supports the large nutritional needs of corn. Squash grows rapidly and serve as natural weed block. The amalgamation of the three helps in solving all the quests.

Companion Planting Scheme The Rocket Science Of Companion Gardening

  • Companions help and act as umbrellas : Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants.
  • Companions use garden space efficiently— This is best for gardening in small spaces.
  • Companions prevent pest problems—Plants like onions repel some pests. They shoo away all the undesirable creatures.
  • Companions attract beneficial insects— These insects act as friends in disguise and help others.

Best Friends ForeverCompanion and Enemy Plants

Roses and chives: Gardeners prefer planting garlic with roses because garlic is said to repel rose pests.and their small purple or white flowers in late spring looks great with rose flowers and add to the beauty.

Tomatoes and Cabbage: Tomatoes act as repellent to diamondback moth caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves and hence save the cabbage.

Cucumbers and Nasturtiums: The Nasturtiums are known to repel cucumber beetles.

Corn and Beans: The beans attract beneficial insects that help save the corn by killing its pests and besides that, bean vines climb up the corn stalks for support.

Lettuce and Tall flowers: Tall flowers act as an umbrella and provide the optimum light for lettuce’s growth.

Radishes and Spinach: Planting radishes among your spinach will draw leaf miners away from the spinach and aid to its growth.

Potatoes and Sweet Alyssum: The Sweet Alyssum has tiny flowers that attract delicate beneficial insects, grow sweet alyssum alongside potatoes, or let it spread to form a ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Special offer: The alyssum’s sweet fragrance will make sure your  garden smells great all summer!

 Arch Enemies

  • While white garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence. They just can’t see their enemies prosper.
  • Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don’t like each other at all. They are always in a state of cold war.

So mix and match your garden and let your plants be the best of pals and you will see how they all will live happily ever after!


Written by Nishta Chakravorty for GreenMyLife

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