The Benefits Of Companion Planting

the benefits of companion planting

As anyone who follows my blog will know, I am a big fan of companion planting. I have, over a number of years witnessed the benefits of companion planting both environmentally and financially. So this post is dedicated to sharing some of these benefits  with you.

What’s The Idea Behind Companion Planting?

It’s  a  really simple concept, by growing certain plants close to other types of plants you will encourage increased yields and much more vigorous growth. In a nutshell, healthier plants and more produce without the need for harmful chemicals.

Companion planting is by no means a new concept, the ancient Greeks and the Romans were  both aware of the benefits of growing certain plants together. Plus of course there is the story of the three sisters.

The Three Sisters

The three sisters was a system used by the native Americans long before the white man arrived on their shores. It comprises of growing Beans, Sweetcorn and Squashes together. The sweetcorn gives support to the beans as they grow, and the squashes supply groundcover thus keeping weeds at bay and conserving moisture.

Some commentators add that the beans provide Nitrogen to enrich the soil for the other two plants. This is not strictly true though, beans do produce Nitrogen. However they don’t deposit Nitrogen into the soil until they have finished growing themselves so it would not aid any other crops until the next season.

The beans do produce nitrogen for themselves thereby leaving more nitrogen in the soil for the other plants to absorb.

Companion Planting Is Eco Friendly

By abstaining from the use of harmful herbicides and pesticides that kill indiscriminately, you will not pollute the environment. There has been much talk recently about neonicotinoids and the negative effect they are having on the bee population. Many studies have been done concerning this problem but there is not much mention of the added detrimental effect on other insect, animal and aquatic life.

I have witnessed the death of Hedgehogs poisoned by slug pellets. A vet told me that we could lose hedgehogs as a species in the next twenty years. I for one will not be responsible for their demise just because I am too lazy to find alternative solutions.

By using pesticides all beneficial insects die as well as the harmful ones. Likewise with herbicides, what’s the point of growing healthy vegetables only to poison them with weed killer?

Companion Planting Attracts Beneficial Insects

By growing the correct plants, you will attract many pollinators to your garden. The Bee is another endangered species that need nectar to survive. But bees are not the only pollinators and the more variety you plant the more varied the insect population you will attract.

You will also attract the predators that prey on pests, like:-

  • Ladybirds, Lacewings and Hoverflies to eat your Aphids
  • Birds to deal with Slugs, Snails, and other insects
  • Parasitic Wasps to control caterpillars and other insects

Companion Planting To Reduce Weeds

Weeds are the bug bear of every gardener and they cause us much more work than we need. By companion planting and growing different crops in close proximity you can reduce the amount of weed seeds from germinating. There are also allelopathic plants, plants that actually stop others from growing near them to give themselves a greater chance of surviving.

It is all trial and error but when you get it right it not only looks amazing, but it also saves time and unnecessary effort.

Companion Planting To Save Water

The two main ways you can conserve water by companion planting are firstly, by growing plants in closer proximity to each other you leave a much smaller surface area for evaporation to take place, as the leaf canopy stops the sun reaching the soil there by keeping the soil moist. Secondly by reducing the weeds the water is actually getting to the plants and is not wasted.

Growing Organic Crops

Another one of the benefits of companion planting is that it is completely organic. Growing food organically is much harder than blitzing everything with herbicides or pesticides but the end result is a much healthier diet for you and your family. You can definitely taste the difference between organic food and mass produced food.

The same herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers that damage the environment are also not healthy for us to ingest. How many illnesses and other complaints will eventually be linked to chemical poisoning I can’t speculate. I can however protect my family from these chemicals.

Companion Planting To Save Money

I have already established that companion planting saves water, this is one way in which companion planting saves money. Also by not buying the dreaded herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers a substantial amount of money is saved. By growing plants closer together saves space, this saves on renting or buying extra land to grow on.

The Benefits Of Companion Planting

Listed above are six reasons to companion plant this is not an all inclusive list, there are many other reasons why I am so passionate about the benefits of companion planting but half the fun is in discovery. So please give it a go, even if you only start on a very small scale. Do some experiments, and find out what works for you.

Have you had any successes with companion planting? Is there something that I have not mentioned that you think is relevant? If so comment below.

1 comments on “The Benefits Of Companion Planting

  1. Pingback: CHANGING OF ROLE: LET’S BE ONE OF THE EARTH HEROES | Rowena matanguihan's blog

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