A Beginners Guide to Companion Planting

Enjoy a diversity and abundance of fresh garden produce

Zoë Poulsen

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Photo by Steve Adams on Unsplash

When fresh produce is grown in a commercial setting, they are often grown as monocultures, meaning that one specific type of fruit or vegetable is grown alone in straight rows while striving for a uniform and aesthetically perfect crop.

However, this approach can be distinctly unsatisfying in the home garden or on the allotment, where there is often limited space to grow a specifically designated “vegetable garden”.

So how do you grow a garden that supplies fresh produce throughout the year while being a calming and beautiful space that supports wildlife? Companion planting can help in achieving that goal.

What is Companion Planting?

Photo by André Lergier on Unsplash

Companion planting is the act of growing two or more plant species together for mutual benefit with the aim of reducing the occurrence of pests and diseases, increasing crop productivity, increasing successful pollination and more.

It builds on the concept of interplanting whereby different plants are mixed together during planting to avoid creating a monoculture, decreases competition between plants and reducing the spread of pests and diseases without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides.

Why Use Companion Planting in your Garden?

Photo by Behzad Ghaffarian on Unsplash

Backyards are recreational spaces as well as food gardens, and offer up the opportunity to grow organic fresh produce with food miles of a few metres from outside the back door and into the kitchen.

In the context of companion planting, a beautiful edible garden can be created by strategically combining plants grown for their colourful and attractive flowers with herbs, fruit, and vegetables.

Companion planting can be beneficial to garden wildlife too, and by planting species that attract…

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Zoë Poulsen

Botanist, freelance writer and conservationist based in Cape Town at the heart of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region. https://www.capetownbotanist.com