Companion Plants: Optimizing Space and Promoting Growth

Oregonians have always been gardeners, but this year gardening became one of the state’s most popular activities. When Oregon State University made its online vegetable gardening course free last spring, its post on Facebook was shared more than 21,000 times. Whether people are concerned about food availability or simply going a little stir crazy, gardening continues to be popular.  It’s gardening season again, so, even if you are heading back to work, you may want to join others and get this garden party started.

If you’re an urban gardener without a lot of space, you’ll appreciate these tips on using companion plants to optimize space and promote growth.  In our area, tomatoes are a good pick. Tomatoes like warm weather and are typically grown and harvested from July through October. Herbs that thrive in similar growing conditions are basil and parsley.

Summer squash (and or/zucchini), green beans, and corn thrive under similar conditions and can be planted together from June through September to maximize space. Other good companions include broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, peas, potatoes, and radishes.

Squash and melons also do well when planted near flowering herbs such as dill, fennel, and parsley. The flowering herbs can attract pollinators necessary for the squash and melon. Because our valley has rich soil, you can begin planting our melons in May and harvest July-September.

Peas and cucumbers are two summer veggies that complement one another in the garden. You can utilize vertical space by growing them up fences and trellises. Start the peas as soon as you can work the soil, and they can be grown and harvested in June and July. Add the cucumbers as soon as the weather has warmed up, and they can be grown July through October.

Companion planting flowers and herbs with vegetables offer several benefits like protecting your vegetables from insect pests and making them more productive. Bright marigolds, calendula, and nasturtium flowers are some of the best for not only protecting your veggies but also adding color to your garden.

Small Space?

If you are interested in growing some of your own veggies this summer but have very limited space, you’re not out of luck! All you really need is good soil, sunshine, and a water source. Here are some tips on how to maximize however much space you have.

If you have small square footage on the ground but plenty of room to grow up, you might like to plant vining crops that can be trained up on supports. Tomatoes, pole beans, and vining peas, cucumbers, and summer squash all climb up. 

Down below, if you only have about four square feet of space, one idea for a small edible garden is to grow tomato, basil, chives, and cucumbers. Arrange a single tomato plant in one corner, three basils around the tomato, and a row of chives beyond the basil. and a single cucumber vine beyond that.

You can find everything from seeds to starters at Green Acres Landscape.  Visit us or check out our website to see when we have everything you need in stock.

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