Updated: May 21
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting refers to the strategy of considering how one plant affects another and purposely planting those plants that can benefit one another close together, while avoiding planting those that may be a detriment near each other. Certain plants are known to improve the growth, development and production of a companion plant when planted in close proximity. Companion planting involves the observation of how particular plants benefit other species of plants growing nearby in four main areas: by natural pest and disease control, improving soil conditions, attracting pollinators and differing heights or growth patterns of plants that can act as a symbiotic relationship with one another by shading or trellising.
A beautiful thing about gardens that have been planted with companion planting in mind is the integration of flowers and herbs throughout your vegetable garden!
One example of a companion planting relationship is corn, pole beans, and squash which are fondly referred to as "The Three Sisters". Native Americans recognised the symbiotic relationship of these three plants and would grow them together. Corn provides a trellis for the pole beans to grow up, beans add nitrogen to the soil, feeding the corn and squash and squash shades the soil, acting as a mulch by retaining moisture and discouraging weeds. Another example is tomatoes and basil. Basil is known to improve the taste of tomatoes when planted nearby.
How to Use Companion Planting in Your Vegetable Garden?
When planning your garden, consider this companion planting guide and plan your vegetable and herb locations accordingly. Keep beneficial companion plants within 3 feet to obtain maximum benefit and detrimental plants at least 3 feet away. Don't feel like you need every companion plant to be near each plant but choose one or two to plant close by.
Download your printable companion planting guide here.
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