Companion Planting – Mother Nature’s Harmonious Ways
Quite known until now, the concept of companion planting is found especially in small organic gardens and is based on the idea that plants can benefit from each other’s company. It involves an entire interconnected system operation which aims to ensure proper growth and development of plants and to replace chemical herbicides and insecticides using organic prevention and control of pests – attracting beneficial insects, birds and other useful animals. Below you can find some of the long list of companion plants, choosing the ones most popular in the vegetable gardens.
Prior to enumerating them, let’s briefly review the benefits of this type of companion plants. First of all, some serve to fix nitrogen firmly in the soil, such as beans or peas, so there is no further need of this fertilizer. Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants. Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths. Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.
Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants. Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes – praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders – that dine on insect pests.
Easy to notice that much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room. Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn. Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.
On the other hand, 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. 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.
Here is the full companion planting table so you know how to wisely grow veggies and flowers in your garden, relying solely on nature’s mysterious ways.
Sources: Almanac.com, Vegetalshapes.com, Motherearthnews.com