To some, companion planting is a form of voodoo, a mythical power that can’t be explained and is therefore worthy of skepticism. For organic growers, companion planting is a integral part of their process because they won’t stimulate growth with chemicals and thus are reliant on other natural methods.
Most weekend farmers deal with a limited amount of space, so we all have to get creative with how to incorporate the right companion plants without over-crowding – we share a few of our best ideas in this short video:Companion Planting ideas that work well in small spaces #weekendfarmer Click To Tweet
Video Transcript for “Companion Planting Ideas That Work Well in Small Spaces
Brian Clapp, WeekendFarmer.com: Companion planting is something we believe in very much here in organic growing space, we don’t use chemical fertilizers to stimulate growth so getting natural stimulants is important to us. If you are unfamiliar, companion planting is a study over time that helps to understand what plants grow well together, which ones form a symbiotic relationship and which ones actually repel one another.
We’ve found over the years that we are able to see this in action – certain plants we grew together we’d see a great yield, or in other instances a stunted yield. As we did more research, we found out about the benefits of companion planting and have incorporated it into our space planning routine.
With that in mind, even in a small space you can be really aggressive in the way you do execute companion planting. What I have here are our tomato plants – I want to give them enough space to get the oxygen they need, the room to spread, and the sun they’ll need to ripen. So I look outside of our raised beds to see where I can incorporate our companion plantings that I know will be beneficial.
For example, on the side just outside of my raised bed, I’m going to plant Borage, which is a known deterrent of tomato hornworms, those huge juicy looking caterpillars that love to devour tomato plants. On the other side of my bed, I am going to plant marigolds and basil – marigolds are great at keeping bugs away because they smell so strong they essentially hide the smell of the ripening vegetables and fruits. Also they release a soil nematode that helps to ward of soil borne pests.
Marigolds are a gold star in the world of companion planting.
As for the Basil – it is also a great companion to Tomatoes, but to be honest I just want it close by so I can make a Caprese salad with ease – now if I only knew how to make mozzarella!
We’ll include some more resources for companion planting, pay attention to it as part of your space planning efforts, but don’t be limited to the space you’ve perfectly carved out with your raised beds, think, dare I say, outside the box, in order to utilize every space you have to work with.
Sprinkle and little bit here and a little bit there to get a really diverse garden space, attract beneficial insects, bees and butterflies and positively impact your yield.
Companion Planting Resources
- Penn State Cooperative Extension Companion Planting Guide
- Mother Earth News Companion Planting Guide
- Colorado State Extension Co-Horts