Gardening column: Necessary companion crops for the vegetable garden | Columnists

Spring is in whole swing with the 1st taste of summer remaining felt in the course of the garden. With that, numerous vegetable gardens have by now been planted, and some are setting up to deliver their first fruits. But when one looks at the yard, is it achieving its full possible?

When planting a tiny garden, the greatest detail to do is to use as significantly of the obtainable space as doable. And the best way to do so is by planting companion plants. Companion vegetation are plants that complement each and every other, whether or not by way of nutrient requires, insect attraction or repelling, or through some other advantage no make a difference how compact.

Companion planting is an excellent way to grow vegetation in smaller areas additional proficiently and make a much more aesthetically pleasing vegetable yard. There are lots of approaches to approach and incorporate companion vegetation in just the vegetable garden. There are a lot more than just the kinds I will point out, but for this I will aim on the quick and vital companions to incorporate with your vegetables.

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Basil is a great choice for companion planting. Christopher Burtt/Presented

Basil is one particular of the best herbs to expand and is the great companion for most spring and summer months greens. Basil is an annual herb that grows finest all through the warmer months and can be harvested up till blooming.

With various kinds to pick from, there is a basil form for just about any garden. There is some proof that basil can help strengthen the development of tomatoes and can help lessen thrip destruction, however this may possibly be restricted. When they bloom, nevertheless, they are attracting a extensive wide range of pollinators, valuable bugs to the backyard. There will be some decline on specific sorts of basil in the slide, in particular cultivars that are vulnerable to downy mildew, a prevalent illness that impacts basil. As soon as the decline takes place, eliminate the crops and get ready for fall plantings of one thing else.

Nasturtiums are a further effortless to improve warm season yearly with the additional profit of edible leaves and blooms. Nasturtiums are a beautiful flowering plant that are critical to pair within any Cucurbit crop this kind of as squash. There is some proof that nasturtiums support repel squash bugs and cucumber beetles, the primary reward is their attractiveness to advantageous bugs. They develop nicely during the backyard garden and do not require significantly in the way of fertilizer, so the heavier-feeding squash plants mature nicely upcoming to them.

The critical is to deadhead them to retain them blooming for as prolonged as possible.

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Marigolds are generally considered the great companion plant. They are heat year annuals that grow effectively with most vegetables, attract plenty of effective bugs and are attractive vegetation to boot. One of the main misconceptions, though, is that interplanting with marigolds will assistance repel nematodes.

Nematodes are microscopic round worm pests that can infest the roots of numerous plant species. Though marigolds are effective at lowering the parasitic nematode population, you ought to have only marigolds in a bed for this to be powerful. That remaining reported, marigolds nonetheless supply a great deal of other gains for the vegetable garden and are encouraged to use all over. I would motivate planting a single of the standard varieties as some hybrid or double blossom marigolds may possibly not attract as numerous valuable insects.

Zinnias are one more warm period yearly that grows very well for the duration of the warmth of the summertime. Zinnias improve effectively with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. While they are not typically regarded for the vegetable backyard garden, these lovely flowers provide both of those aesthetic advancement, as nicely as a good food supply for pollinators and useful bugs alike.

The most important concern with zinnias is their susceptibility to powdery mildew, a fungal condition typical in the landscape, but there are a number of varieties that are resistant to the ailment. As with marigolds, plant the solitary-flowered forms as opposed to the double-flowered styles.

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The strategy of companion crops is complicated and there is a large amount of money of information and facts that can be delved into. And of program, there are much more vegetation and various mixtures to use and look into. That getting said, companion planting is continue to an outstanding way to increase a tiny garden space. I would encourage seeking extra into this idea and of study course generate a program prior to planting and uncover out the place there will be empty place to fill. No issue what you plant, however, the ideal factor to notice is that the extra that is blooming, the much better the plants will do and the richer the encounter.

For additional information on these vegetation and far more, go to or call your regional Cooperative extension agent.

Christopher Burtt is the Urban Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. He can be achieved by electronic mail at

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