Our garden in a past season showing a great example of companion planting. Bloomsdale Spinach with Speckled Lettuce planted along side, next section is Peppery Arugula at the farthest end, Mustard Greens and Russian Red Kale. Crops did very well that year.
You know how there are certain people in your life who motivate you to achieve and grow stronger and others just don’t grow with you … Well plants have these same types of relationships. Humans can choose to walk away from relationships, define clear boundaries, or nurture a relationship worth cultivating. Plants do not have these options, they are stuck next to the plant you put by them…Forever Ever (in plant time).
Plant relationships matter, I mean really matter. Knowing which plants do well or are detrimental near each other is important. Companion planting relationships allow plants to develop their distinct personalities, essence, and aromas in our garden plots. It helps in bringing your green thumb efforts to blossom.
HOW DO THESE RELATIONSHIPS WORK?
Companion planting is a time tested practice of growing plants together to create optimal benefits from their complimentary personalities or characteristics. Over time farmers and gardeners worldwide discovered with observation, by trials, and lots of coincidence – the relationships of what worked and what didn’t. Folks where finding that their plants showed better growth and harmful pests where not an issue. Diving deeper into companion planting gives an insight into the many many benefits you can utilize from plants including using less pesticides to deal with problem insects and finding that your soil and plants are vibrant. I think happy plants make yummy tasting foods!
One beneficial relationship that comes to mind is between carrots and onions. Onions (along with leeks, rosemary, and sage) become a repellent to the maggots of carrot fly who attack the roots of young carrot plants – this is a beneficial relationship for carrots. However, onions along with garlic, chives, and shallots stunt the growth of peas and beans. There are multiple relationship mixes for you to explore. I keep my handy companion planting book Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte near while absorbing seed catalogs and visioning our gardens. You can download PDF here of this amazing book.
Here is another helpful chart I found online for you to reference as you dream your garden into being.
SETTING UP THE RELATIONSHIP
Companion planting relationships start when you sit and make your garden site plan. With careful consideration of what works well together from the start saves lots of time and energy down the line trying to address a gardening issue.
So the next time you encounter a plant you thought was well watered, fertilized, even provided the optimal hours of sunlight or shade suggested on the seed pack – and it still is not growing but instead looks like its ready to leave your garden… check out what other plants are around. You might be surprised to find that the company it keeps is not good for them OR it’s a match made in heaven.
PHOTO CREDITS: Kim Mendoza