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|Companion Planting Chart|
Companion planting is a vegetable gardening theory that's been a popular concept for decades. However, in practice the companion planting of vegetable crops has been used by native cultures worldwide for as long as mankind has been interested in growing a garden.
Growing Healthier Plants with Higher Crop Yields
The basic concept of companion planting is that different vegetable plant types exude various natural chemicals through their root networks. When planting them together, certain plants thrive from the mix of these natural chemicals. These companion vegetables and herbs, planted together, produce higher yields of crops and are better able to defend themselves against disease and insects.
Likewise, the opposite is also true and planting certain types of incompatible vegetable (or herb) plants together actually causes them hinder each other's growth. These incompatible plants, placed near each other in your garden will tend to produce fewer vegetables and be more troubled by plant diseases and insects. For example: when planted next to each other, chives or garlic will stunt the growth of peas or beans. However, if planted near roses, garlic will help repel aphids.
Making the Most of Your Garden Space
Companion vegetable gardening can also be used for matters of practicality in the garden. For example, you might place tall plants together with shorter ones to maximize use of your garden space and available sunlight. You might also want to use taller, sun loving plants to create a bit of shade for more delicate plants during the mid-summer heat.
For Pest Control
Companion plants will help prevent pest insects or pathogenic fungi from damaging a crop, both through chemical means as well as by providing a physical barrier which has a 'disruptive effect' on insects looking for host plants to lay their eggs on.
Native American Indians have planted corn together with pole/climbing beans and squash plants for generations. The tall corn stalks act as a decoy/disruptor to protect the squash in the garden from pesky bug predators (like squash borers), whilst the squash provides very prickly leaves and vines that are supposed to act as natural “barbed wire” to bigger pests that may be eyeing the tender ears of corn. The beans then also use the corn stalks as natural trellises to enable them to reach more sunlight whilst at the same time, fixing nitrogen into the soil to help fertilize the corn. This is called the “Three Sisters” method.
To Attract Pollinators
Lastly, by adding herbs and flowers into your vegetable patch, you are also practicing companion planting. Placed strategically, these non-traditional vegetable garden plants can help attract pollinating insects to your garden. The more friendly bugs you have flying from flower to flower, the more fruits and vegetables you will have growing in your garden!
Note: Various sources sometimes conflict over the “good” vs. “bad” companion plants. Use the Companion Planting Chart above as a general guideline for planting your vegetables together. Do your own study, take notes and please remember to share your findings with us!
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