Companion planting is one of my favorite ways to make use of garden beds. This allows you to prevent the spread of daisies and pests in your garden. Companion planting is the key to getting the best results from a square foot garden when each section touches another.
What is companion planting?
Planting a variety of plants together is called companion planting. When companion planting your plants around them can grow or cohabitate without causing harm to the others. Companion planting can protect your garden from pests or diseases, as well as increase its yield. In your square foot garden, this can be done by putting different plants in each square to maximize space, or simply by making sure that each square grows to its full potential.
What effect does companion planting have on your square foot garden?
Companion planting plays a huge role in growing a square foot garden. To maximize your garden’s potential, you can companion plant some squares. However, all squares are affected by companion planting. Your plants will share soil with squares that touch the square they are in, and this can negatively impact each plant.
There must be compatibility between a plant and the plants growing in any adjacent square. Your plants will compete for nutrients or even stunt each other’s growth if you don’t plan this well. By knowing which plants grow well together and which should never be planted together, you can take full advantage of every square inch of your garden.
Having a variety of plants in your garden will help you to keep your plants healthy and thriving by providing them with a polyculture that helps to keep pests and diseases at bay. With the help of this highly beneficial gardening method, you can reap the best harvest from your garden this year.
Tips for companion planting your square foot garden.
1. Learn about your plants
Study the best and worst companion plants for each plant you want to grow in your square foot garden, then use this information to plan your garden for the best results. The precise dimensions of each square and the number of squares that will be in your garden are very easy to map out on paper, due to how organized and straight-forward they are. Use a pen to mark off each square in your garden beds and then use a pencil to plan out what will go where so you can easily change your mind as you learn more about each plant. During the winter months, this is an excellent gardening activity to keep you occupied.
2. Use companion planting to extend the cold weather growing season
Cold-weather plants should be planted with hot weather plants that require their own square. Salad greens and tomatoes thrive in this way. The salad greens act as an early living mulch. As spring turns to summer, your salad greens will become shaded, giving you a slightly longer growing season. As a result, when your tomatoes are at their peak, your salad greens will die off from the summer heat, leaving you with a square of tomato plants to grow.
3. Don’t shade plants with other plants
Plants that love the sun should not be shaded. This is an easy mistake to make when you are planning your garden beds for the first time. This is accomplished by placing your tall plants on the north side of your garden beds and your shorter sun-loving plants on the south side of your garden beds so that they can get full sun without any issues and you can take full advantage of even a small garden space.
4. Place trellises wisely
Avoid shading other plants with trellis plants. If you have tall trellises in your garden, they will create a lot of shade, which will stunt the growth of plants that need the sun. To make the most out of your square foot garden, consider placing trellises on the north side so that they won’t shade plants inside and they can actually act as a reflector so that other plants in the bed receive the most sun.
5. Protect your garden from pests
Your garden will have some protection from pests if you use companion planting. Regardless of whether you grow the same plants in each square, you can strategically add companion plants that reduce pests in your garden through different squares. By planting onions, garlic, and herbs around the perimeter of your garden beds, you can protect your garden from pests.
6. Space your plants
It is best to avoid planting two squares of the same plant next to each other. This can help to prevent the spread of pests and diseases. While you can cram more plants into a square foot garden, if a pest or plant-specific disease attacks one plant, the whole space is destroyed. Maintaining space between like squares can prevent the problem from affecting your entire garden crop.
7. Add flowers to your garden beds
Incorporate flowering herbs into your garden beds. Herbs like these attract beneficial insects that help to combat pests and pollinate plants. Despite the fact that many people do not like to add flowers to their gardens, you can take advantage of flowering herbs and even edible flowers to help your garden thrive and to increase your yield.
8. Know what not to put in your garden beds
Plants that do not grow well with others should be avoided. Other plants are toxic to some plants when they are exposed to chemicals released by plants such as fennel. Plants like these should never be planted in your garden beds with other plants and should be kept in pots in an out-of-the-way part of your yard.
9. Be mindful of growing conditions
It is important to consider the conditions in which plants will grow when choosing companion plants. Putting a water-intensive plant next to a plant that is prone to drowning is a sure recipe for disaster. If your square foot garden has several very distinct types of plants, plan them in a different garden beds or place these plants on opposite ends of the garden bed.