Companion planting is an easy way to grow a successful and resilient organic garden. Arranging certain crops together uses each variety's natural characteristics to function complimentary with one another. Similar to a teacher designing a kindergarten classroom seating chart, arrange your garden in a synergistic way to prevent predictable conflicts. These simple gardening hacks allow you to maximize space, reduce pests, balance soil nutrients, and have larger and healthier harvests, all without chemicals.
Companion planting can be done in any sized-garden, from a patio container to a bursting backyard vegetable oasis. Here are 3 ways to grow a healthier organic garden:
1. Arrange varieties by height to give each plant the amount of light it needs.
Zucchini plants grow enormous leaves and need full sun to be able to produce plenty of fruit, while other varieties such as salad greens prefer the shade for cooler temperatures to thrive. You can easily create a microclimate in your garden by letting varieties like these work together. Plant zucchini next to lettuce so the zucchini can leaf-out, while giving the lettuce shade to produce sweet and tender foliage. Plant these close together to maximize space in your garden, and each will benefit from their proximity to one another.
2. Organically balance a healthy insect population by using flowers to attract pollinators and scents to confuse the pests. No Pesticides required!
3. Plant varieties together that take up different trace minerals in the soil for compatibility.
Marigolds planted near tomatoes deter nematode pests in the soil.
Nasturtiums help protect from carrot flies and thrips, and trap beetles from getting to your tomatoes.
Here is a helpful chart from Vegetable Gardening Life of different plant varieties and their corresponding companion plants.
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