The Basics of Companion Planting in Your Garden

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Marigolds and Companion Planting

What is companion planting?

Companion planting is one of the greatest steps you can take towards having an organic garden. Thinking about a wildflower field may be the best way to consider what companion planting is. That wildflower field is completely a product of nature. There are no manmade fertilizers helping the flowers grow tall and spread their roots; there isn’t even a person spreading the seeds. The field protects its plants and flourishes and profligates through natural means. Companion planting harnesses this: nature has a natural solution for everything.

 

How does it work?

In your home garden, companion planting works by identifying and utilizing the beneficial characteristics of different plants. For instance, some plants are natural sources of pest control for your garden, while some plants are known to attract bees, who act as fertilizers. Also, some plants simply pair well together due to their sizes; an example of this would be any vegetable that is tall and bushy would be good to plant near a vegetable that grows well with humidity and indirect sunlight.

 

Why companion plant?

As mentioned earlier, companion planting is one of the best steps towards making your garden organic. With a little research, you can identify plants that can reduce or totally eliminate all manmade substances in your garden. You can use plants that act as natural pesticides, so chemical substances are gone from your garden. Plants that attract pollinators and plants that boost productivity are natural sources of fertilizer. You will not only get the benefit of growing great vegetables and herbs in your own backyard; you will have the relief of knowing that no potentially harmful substances have entered the ground or your body. You will also be taking a small step towards living a greener life, since your car will remain in the garage when you are no longer running to the gardening store to find help for your garden.

 

What are good companion plants?

Great companion plants are not hard to find. You just need to consider what plants you want to plant, and see what plants act as good companions to those. Here, however, are three universally great companion plants.

 

Best plant for pest control…

Marigolds are not just beautiful floral additions to your garden, adding a bright pop of color. They are also one of the best natural pest control options. The flowers’ roots contain a natural pesticide. Since roots are, of course, in the ground, that pesticide enters the soil in your garden. Because of this, the presence of marigolds inhibits the growth of perennial weeds and deters pests such as nematodes and whiteflies. The pesticide can last in the soil for years after the flowers die.

 

Best for fertilizing…

Borage is an herb that does not get much use, but it had a beautiful blue flower, which makes it a good garden addition. It is also a wonderful help in fertilizing. Borage is astonishingly good at luring bees to your garden; this, of course, aids in fertilization. The leaves contain Vitamin C, potassium, mineral salts, and calcium, so the plant adds minerals to the soil of your garden. This increases other plants’ abilities to fight disease and pests and can increase plant yield.

 

Best for shelter…

You may have frequently read on seed packages that plants prefer “direct sunlight” or “indirect sunlight.” In a home garden, it can be difficult to satisfy one or both of these. Basil is an excellent plant to help provide indirect sunlight. Basil is very dense and can grow tall. Planting it near tomatoes, eggplant, any type of pepper or even potatoes can be beneficial to the fruits of these plants as they will gain humidity and some shade.