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Companion planting

Photo by sergio souza: https://www.pexels.com/photo/colorful-garden-beds-with-plants-5047448/

Companion planting is a cool gardening technique where we grow different plants together to help each other out. It’s like being good friends with your plants! Let me break it down for you:

What is Companion Planting? Companion planting is all about choosing specific plants to grow next to each other because they have positive effects on one another. Some plants can help keep pests away from their friends, while others can enrich the soil or provide shade and support. It’s like building a little plant community where everyone has each other’s backs!

How to Implement Companion Planting: Here are some easy steps to get started with companion planting in your garden:

  1. Learn About Plant Friends and Foes: Find out which plants are good companions for each other and which ones don’t get along. For example, some plants, like basil and tomatoes, are great friends because basil repels pests that bother tomatoes.
  2. Plan Your Garden Layout: Draw a simple sketch of your garden and decide where you want to plant each vegetable or flower. Think about which plants should be near each other based on their companion planting relationships.
  3. Pest Control Partnerships: Some plants can protect others from pesky insects. For instance, planting marigolds around your tomatoes can keep aphids away. Similarly, planting garlic and onions with carrots can help keep carrot flies at bay.
  4. Soil-Boosting Combos: Certain plants work together to improve the soil. For example, beans and peas are “nitrogen-fixing” plants. They take nitrogen from the air and store it in the soil, which helps other nearby plants grow better.
  5. Tall and Short Buddies: Think about the height of the plants you’re growing. Taller plants can provide shade for smaller ones. Planting sunflowers next to lettuce, for instance, can protect the lettuce from getting too much direct sunlight.
  6. Succession Planting: After harvesting one crop, you can quickly follow it up with another compatible plant. This way, you make the most of your garden space and keep it productive throughout the growing season.
  7. Be Observant: Pay attention to how your plants are doing. If you notice any issues or benefits from certain companions, take note for the next planting season. Gardening is all about learning and experimenting!
  8. Avoid Crowding: While companion planting is about growing plants together, make sure not to overcrowd them. Each plant still needs enough space to grow and get the nutrients they need.

You can download a list of companion plants commonly used in Southern Africa from here.

Remember, companion planting is a fun and natural way to make your garden healthier and more productive. Plus, it’s like creating a little plant family where everyone cooperates and helps each other out. So, grab your gardening gloves, some seeds, and get ready to see your garden thrive with companion planting! Happy gardening!

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