One of the many decisions you’ll need to make when starting a garden is what plants to grow and where to place them. This is where companion planting comes in! In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about companion planting: what it is, its benefits, and why spacing is important.
Companion planting is the practice of growing two or more different types of plants together in close proximity. Companion planting has many benefits, including improved yields, pest control, and soil health.
One of the most important benefits of companion planting is that it can help deter pests. For example, marigolds release a chemical that repels nematodes, which are tiny parasitic worms that damage plant roots. Similarly, beans release a gas that kills aphids, small insects that feast on leaves. When aphids are present in large numbers, they can cause serious damage to crops.
In addition to pest control, companion planting can also improve yields. This is because certain plants produce chemicals that benefit other plants. For example, alfalfa produces nitrogen-rich nodules on its roots that enrich the soil and benefit other nearby plants. Similarly, leguminous plants like beans and peas fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, making it available for other plants to use.
Finally, companion planting can improve soil health by increasing organic matter and improving drainage. For example, deep-rooted vegetables like carrots aerate compacted soils as they grow. Additionally, woody plants like trees and shrubs increase organic matter as their leaves decompose. They also improve drainage by helping water seep deep into the ground instead of running off the surface.