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Companion Planting: The Ultimate Guide for a Thriving Garden

What is companion planting?

If you're a gardener like me I'm sure you've heard of the term companion planting. Some gardeners swear by it, while others not so much and there is so much information out there it can get a bit confusing. So what is companion planting, well in simple terms its growing certain plants near each other for beneficial purposes. Those benefits can include attracting pollinators and beneficial insects, deter pests, become a trap crop, and attract predatory insects.

My Thoughts & Experience

I have been gardening for 4 seasons now and I do believe that companion planting can be beneficial to a thriving garden. I do take more of a relaxed approach and focus on the specific struggles my garden faced during the previous growing season. For example, last year I experienced squash bugs in my garden that caused a large amount of damage to many crops. This year I will be planting a companion plant that is known to deter squash bugs.

Where to Start

Planting a garden can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first time. Let me ease some of the pressure and give you a couple of simple tips that I use when planning out my garden.

STEP ONE: Plant what you know for certain you or your family will eat. Yes it's super fun to experiment with all the different types of vegetables you can grow but trust me when I say to start with vegetables you know you will eat. After you get a groove going you can add more, I like to add one new vegetable per year and see how it performs and how much we actually eat it.

STEP TWO: Draw out your garden on paper. This way you can visually see everything and you're not just walking into planting season throwing seeds randomly. This step is where I look at my Companion Gardening Chart and map out where all the vegetables, herbs and flowers will go based on their friends and foes. This step is also great to keep for the following seasons, make notes on what worked and what didn't.

STEP THREE: Take notes throughout the year! I struggle with this myself so I rely heavily on all the pictures I take to see what was successful and what wasn't. A couple of notes you can take are:

  • Sun exposure - to much or not enough

  • Location/structure - some plants do better with structure like tomatoes and cucumbers, others don't need anything.

  • Pest control - did any unfriendly pests show up in your garden and what were they, add to your notes a companion plant that would help with that pest for the following year. Also make note to plant in a different location (once a pest finds your crop they will return even in the following season).

  • What was enjoyable or not enjoyable - Some seeds don't do well for numerous reasons or your family simple didn't enjoy the taste.

Happy Planting

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any tips or tricks or are needing support with a specific question please comment below!

Companion planting chart


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