The ever-charming Audrey Hepburn rightly said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Gardening is like meditating. You find deep relaxation as you nurture the seeds you sow and see them grow into healthy, strong plants. If you have your own kitchen garden, you can often eat farm-fresh fruits and vegetables right from your garden. However, are you sure how to go about it? When you grow different plants in a plot of land, you must always ensure that all the plants get enough nutrients and grow their best. The practice of growing different crops side-by-side is called companion planting and is a very popular practice. But companion planting requires skill and knowledge.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a certain practice of gardening when crops that are natural allies are grown side-by-side. A traditional practice by dedicated gardeners, companion planting has been observed for many years. The native Americans often planted squash, beans, and corn together, which is a good example of companion planting. While the corn works as a support to the beans, the beans return the nutrients to the soil. The squash has broad leaves that droop down as weeds and lock the moisture in the soil. This is why these three crops flourish well together.
However, certain pairs of plants are very unfriendly towards each other, and this leads one plant to harm the other. Learn about the plants you must never consider growing together.
1. Potatoes And Tomatoes
Why shouldn’t you grow potatoes and tomatoes together? This is because the same blights attack the two plants. So, when these two plants stand right next to the other, the diseases spread more easily than ever. Research has proved that blight from tomatoes might be a serious menace to potatoes.1 Consider growing them apart from each other to yield healthy fruits.
2. Peas With Onion Family Members
You should never plant members of the onion family with peas, say traditional companion planters. Onions, shallots, and garlic, when grown with peas and/or beans, leave the pea plant or the bean plant stunted. Who would like to see the growth of their pea plant stunted? A slender one always looks healthier than a short and stunted one.
3. Beans and Peppers
Beans and peppers are both susceptible to anthracnose. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that attacks plants and causes dark lesions on them.2 If one of the plants gets attacked by it, the other one too quickly gets infected, when planted side-by-side. This disease causes soft, dark spots on the fruits and ruins them. So, never make beans the neighbor of pepper plants.
4. Grapes And Cabbages
There is this belief that comes from folklore: When you sow cabbage seeds near grapevines, you invite trouble for your wine. It is said that gardeners saw the homemade wine go bad whenever they grew grapes alongside cabbages. Either the grapes wouldn’t taste the way they should or the wine would taste bad once it’s made.
5. Carrots And Dill
Although no scientific study has proved it, dill and carrots are traditionally believed to be enemies. Gardeners never choose to grow them together as carrots and dill are cast as enemy plants.
6. Lettuce And Broccoli
Lettuce is a sensitive plant. When the broccoli plants leave their chemical residue behind, lettuce which is sensitive to chemicals, cannot grow properly. When you sow lettuce seeds near broccoli, you hinder the seed germination process and growth of lettuce. So, why would you take this unnecessary risk?
7. Black Walnuts And Tomatoes
Are you aware why black walnut trees are called bad neighbors? It is because the root of the black walnut trees emits a chemical called juglone. Juglone is toxic to plants with deep roots, such as tomatoes, corns, and soybeans.3 So, if you have grown a few black walnut trees in your compound, it’s best if you grow your tomatoes and other deep-rooted plants in container gardens and flower pots.
So, beware of bad neighbors for your plants. If you want to nourish and nurture them well, you must be careful which plant you choose to grow by its side too. Remember that the way good neighbors can inspire you to grow and flourish, the same goes for your plants as well!
|↑1||Small, T. “The relation between potato blight and tomato blight.” Annals of Applied Biology 25, no. 2 (1938): 271-276.|
|↑2||Kanto, Takeshi, Seiji Uematsu, Toshihide Tsukamoto, Jouji Moriwaki, Naho Yamagishi, Toshiyuki Usami, and Toyozo Sato. “Anthracnose of sweet pepper caused by Colletotrichum scovillei in Japan.” Journal of general plant pathology 80, no. 1 (2014): 73-78.|
|↑3||Jose, Shibu, and Andrew R. Gillespie. “Allelopathy in black walnut (Juglans nigraL.) alley cropping. II. Effects of juglone on hydroponically grown corn (Zea maysL.) and soybean (Glycine maxL. Merr.) growth and physiology.” Plant and soil 203, no. 2 (1998): 199-206.|