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At Justice Homes, we love seeing how our clients turn their houses into homes. For many this year, “feeling at home” came in the form of a backyard garden. Seasoned gardeners will tell you that a successful garden comes with a lot of trial and error. If you are looking at your garden and don’t think that it is living up to its potential, try a new approach. Many people have seen their gardens thrive when they incorporated companion planting to their set up. What is companion planting and how can you utilize it? Let’s discuss that.
Companion Planting - What Is It?
Basically, companion planting is arranging different fruits, veggies, and flowers near each other in combinations that are beneficial. What does that mean? For example, some flowers attract pollinators, so planting these flowers near fruits and veggies that do not self-pollinate can encourage bees and butterflies to visit your veggies while they are enjoying the flowers. Another example could revolve around the lighting needs of certain plants. Some plants require less sun than others. So, planting things like squash that grow large shading leaves next to chards that can get sunburnt can create a beneficial pairing.
Benefits of Companion Planting
As touched on above, pairing certain plants together can help them grow stronger and produce a better harvest. Here are some ways you can do that.
One thing that can severely inhibit your garden is compacted soil. This happens naturally over time, which is why it is important to aerate the soil occasionally. But some plants can help you with this in between aerating. Plants with tap roots like carrots and parsnips drive through tough dirt and clay and make it easier for other plants and their roots to dive deep down as well.
Additionally, some plants can enrich the soil around them. For example, legumes are known to help balance out nitrogen in soil. For this reason, they have long been planted next to nitrogen loving plants like corn.
Protection and Support
As we mentioned with squash, some plants benefit others by providing protection in various forms. Greens like lettuces really do not appreciate direct sun, which is why planting them next to veggies that offer shade is ideal. Think squash, pole beans, and tomatoes.
Some plants need to climb. So, planting tall, strong plants like corn near climbing veggies like tomatoes and beans is ideal.
Help with Pests
Almost as soon as you plant your fruits and veggies pests come running. But just as some plants encourage pollinators to stop by, other plants drive away pests. Examples of this are nasturtiums and marigolds. These flowers tend to drive away cabbage worm and squash bug populations.
And even if a plant does not drive away pests, you can plant one as a sacrificial plant. Many people plant tobacco plants in their gardens in order to entice pests to devour the tobacco instead of their other succulent produce.
By Justice Homes 8-23-2022