It’s part folklore, part science, but companion planting just may help your garden grow.
Step back in time to embrace some gardening wisdom your grandparents may have practiced: The concept of companion planting, or planting combinations of specific plants for their mutual benefit. “The theory behind companion planting is that certain plants may help each other take up nutrients, improve pest management or attract pollinators,” says Tom Maloney, horticulture educator for Penn State Extension. “Some research, such as how to attract beneficial insects like lacewings to the garden to fight pests, has been studied, so we know it’s effective. We’re still researching other aspects of companion planting.”
In the meantime, it certainly won’t hurt to try these common-sense combinations in your garden:
Nasturtium + Cucumber
Melons or Squash + Flowering Herbs
These are all vegetables that require pollinators to produce, so invite insect visitors into your garden by planting flowering herbs such as dill, fennel and parsley near melons and squash. “You won’t get any yield if you don’t have pollination for these veggies,” says Maloney.
Lettuce + Chives or Garlic