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Companion planting.. How close is too close??

Posted by clare2008 ottawa ontario z4 (My Page) on
Sun, May 4, 08 at 10:14

So question is this.. When considering companion planting and vegetables (or what not and what to plant in proximity to another) how close can one plant a plant that isn't a "good" companion to another plant..
I am thinking potatoes and squash.. I am thinking carrots and dill... Peas and garlic... and those others that don't grow well together.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Companion planting.. How close is too close??

I hadn't heard that squash and potatoes actively discourage eachother....

I can say from experience that alliums and legumes do, or rather alliums considerably discourage legumes. It seems that the legume roots need to be outside the root-zone of the garlic or onions. I find at least two feet, maybe more. Clearly the allium roots exude something that the legumes find quite objectionable, but it doesn't seem to last long, when I plant peas where onions grew the season before I havn't noticed a problem.

RE: Companion planting.. How close is too close??

Can I plant my brussel sprouts (in July) under my lemon cucumber trellis? I plan on building a trellis with arches, so the cuke seeds would be planted "in" the tunnel the arches create so to speak. Not enough sun for the sprouts?

Sprouts under cukes -

Correction to my post under companion planting! I meant to say the brussel sprout plants would be planted under the cuke trellis arches.

RE: Companion planting.. How close is too close??

Thanks for the tip re alliums and legumes. It is the distance to plant or not to plant and the reasons that the specific plants dislike each other that I find helpful. Yes re. squash, pumpkins, sunflowers.. and an apparent dislike for potatoes. I had not heard this before but from various literature re. companion planting they all suggest that potatoes do not like the previous. I wonder why?? Any suggestions??

RE: Companion planting.. How close is too close??

More info. than you can digest, All good stuff. Plants need sunlight, root room, and nutrient room to grow properly. Too close and all you get is stunted non growing plants.

Run an internet search for campanion planting. There is alot of info,. out there.


RE: Companion planting.. How close is too close??

Those lists are great, but not always true. Many of these ideas go way back and are not neccessarily true. Some reasons not to pair things would be that they attract damaging insects. If you don't have a big insect problem that's not really an issue. Sometimes it's competeing for nutrients, other times it's about shadeing or root competition. Some herbs will flavor what they are grown next to... the list goes on I'm sure. The best thing in my opinion is to experiment in one spot in your garden and see how it goes.

RE: Companion planting.. How close is too close??

We have our peas (sugar snap) and garlic about 6 feet apart and are growing tomatoes between them- and they are doing fine. I have stunted peas before when I stupidly didn't realize that chives were in the onion family :) I had one chive plant in the neighboring row and 4 of 6 of my neighboring pea vines were severely retarded. I've read that too much Nitrogen is very harmful to peas- they fix it in the soil- so they can be finicky and loose battles easily. That's why this year I put them at the far end of the garden.

Also, this year I have had- so far- my most successful garden ever (I am a newbie- this is only my 3rd vegetable garden- so take that into consideration). The map I used to plot my garden was designed around companion planting. For every vegetable I planted, I planted a neighboring herb that promoted growth and an herb that acts as a pesticide. I placed herbs with short roots closer to long rooted vegetables, etc.

For example: I have 4 tomato plants in a square 3 feet apart, bordered by marigolds on one side. Next to them (8 inches to the right) I planted camomile, to the left (8") I planted basil, and in the center I planted Borage. The borage will have to be kept under control and cut back in the summer, but it keeps tomato worms away and it has relatively short roots- while my tomatoes are all planted really deep.

I know that in an intensive garden disease and pests become a problem quickly when the leaves touch so we cut our plants back when they start overlapping. We cut off the bottom stems of out tomatoes so that there is about 5-6" of space between the bottom of the plant and the ground.

It's a big experiment at this point, but so far very successful. In 2 months my tomato plants are 3-4 feet tall and flowering, and the only pest we've dealt with has been cutworms eating the leaves (we corrected the problem with milk cartons around the base of the plants).

This may be a little TMI :) As you can probably tell I am excited.
Good luck with everything.

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