Cucumbers make for delicious salads and sides. They belong to the same family as squash or melons. A healthy cucumber plant spreads and branches out to occupy more space. If you are wishing to plant cucumber in your garden, having diverse knowledge about companion plants to grow with them is crucial.
Companion planning never lets you down. More often, planting companions can make your cucumbers healthier and better.
Hence, here is all you need to know about companion plants that you can grow with cucumbers!
Benefits Of Companion Planting
A gardener can gain a lot through companion planting. Here are the few benefits of companion planting.
1. Save space
In case you have a small garden, companion planting is just the right choice for you. A common way of saving space is by planting tall plants next to vining one. Another alternative is to plant slow-growing plants next to fast-growing ones. It is an effective way to plan and plant more plants or weeds. Such type of planting technique enables you to get the most out of your garden. It allows you to get efficient results and vibrant greens.
2. Garden Pests are controlled
Pests can be a great hazard to your crop and garden. Companion planting is a smart way to keep them away from your crop. For example, squash and beans are planted next to the corn plant. All three of them repel each other’s pests which allows them to grow efficiently. Not only this, corns, beans, and squash support each other in more ways. Green Beans provide nitrogen in the soil, which improves the growth of corn. On the other hand, corn provides shade and support to cling to the other plants.
3. Improvement in soil quality
Companion plantation allows moisture retention in soil. Squash plants like cucumber prevent soil erosion which can reduce the productivity of the soil. Droughts have become a growing concern and issue among farmers and gardeners. Companion planting techniques allow you to keep your soil nourished and healthy without any effort.
4. Disease control
Plants also suffer from diseases like humans. If a disease infects a plant, it can easily spread through your garden. By adding varied species of plants in your garden through companion planting, you can reduce the spread of disease in your garden. Some plants make others healthier, which increases their immunity from diseases. A common example is that of tomato plants and basil. It is believed that basil can make tomatoes healthier susceptible to diseases.
5. Improved pollination and biological interaction
Beneficial insects will improve the pollination process. Pollination is ideal for the better growth of the plant. By planting blooming flowers, you can attract beneficial insects to your garden. This way, your plants too can undergo the pollination process. Make sure to plant flowers with extended bloom periods.
Best Companion Plants To Grow With Cucumbers
Cucumis Sativus or more commonly known as cucumbers, can be harvested after 50-70 days. Even in this short duration of time, you get the real final product, which you can consume almost instantly. They are a popular choice among gardeners. Though some consider cucumber to be easy to grow plants, yet they can cause some hassle during the cold or wet season.
Cucumber can suffer a myriad of diseases such as powdery mildew, mosaic virus, bacterial wilt, or an attack from cucumber beetles. In such a case, cucumber companion planting can be a savior for your plant. Here are some reliable companion plants that can protect your cucumbers.
Beans belong to the legumes plant family. It provides nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is an essential element for healthy soil and healthy plant. Hence, for vibrant and healthier cucumber, planting beans as a companion plant is the right choice.
Also, you can keep a common trellis for beans and cucumbers. This way you can save a lot of space in your garden. These two plants support and favor each other.
Celery is commonly used as a companion plant for members of the cabbage family. Its strong scent successfully repels the cabbage moths. When it cucumbers, celery has a neutral relationship with it. Though there is no special reason to plant celery, this neutral pairing allows easier plantation planning. You can easily space out many kinds of vegetables in your garden.
Neutral companion plants are a necessity in every garden. More often, you will find neutral plants dominating a garden.
Like sunflowers, corn provides support to smaller varieties of cucumber. Make sure that the corn is sufficiently tall before planting the cucumber. They must be planted side by side to the cucumber plant. They act as a natural trellis for a smaller variety of cucumbers, such as pickling cucumbers. In return for its support, cucumber serves as natural mulch for corn plants. It also provides pest protection to corns.
Beets, when planted next to cucumbers, have a neutral influence. It has nutritious value and improves the soil quality. They don’t eat up many nutrients from the soil and promote better growth of cucumber. Like celery, they allow better plantation planning. Hence, if you have extra space left near your cucumbers and which to plant a vegetable, beets are a good option.
Marigolds repel all sorts of insects and beetles in your backyard garden. In the Hungarian language, marigolds are called budos, which means smelly in English. Their fragrance keeps away pests and insects from harming your cucumbers. They also repel aphids, a common pest that feeds on cucumber leaves.
They are used by many gardeners and farmers as a companion to a myriad of other plants. You do not have to worry about pests with them on guard.
Another flower that is an ideal companion plant to cucumber is Nasturtium. Nasturtium as a plant itself has multiple benefits. They are edible and are used in herbal-infused vinegar. They are also used as a natural antibiotic tincture.
When planted near cucumber, they work as a repellant to insects. These companions have similar growing habits as cucumber. The insects repled by them include thrips, aphids, and other cucumber leaves feeding bugs.
7. Root vegetables
Cucumbers only have one primary taproot. The rest of their roots are thin and shallow. Its root system does not extend beyond six to twelve inches. This makes root vegetable plantation near cucumbers possible. A root vegetable plant near cucumber can grow without any hindrance. You can use them to cover more space in the garden. These companion plants for cucumbers benefit the growth and well-being of cucumbers. For example, Radish repels cucumber beetles which are considered to be the worst enemy of cucumber patches.
Root vegetables that you can plant with cucumbers include carrots, turnip, parsnips, and radish.
Just like corn, Sunflowers provide support to cucumbers. Cucumber vines climb up sunflower and use them as a natural trellis. This allows you to save up on a lot of space in your garden, which in turn enables you to increase your garden’s efficiency. Make sure to use a small variety of cucumbers like pickling cucumbers. Heavier and bigger ones will damage the sunflowers as they cannot handle too much weight.
Peas belong to legumes family like green beans. They also provide nitrogen to the soil. Nitrogen is an essential requirement for cucumber growth. Though you cannot depend completely on legumes plants ,you will have to use fertilizers to improve the content of soil nutrients.
Peas compliment and look well next to cucumbers. These two combinations add a great aesthetic to your garden. Peas can be harvested before cucumber. This way, cucumbers can get more space to thrive before their harvest.
Lettuce is another neutral plant that can be ideal companions to the cucumber plant. They are also good companions for a strawberry crop, radish, or carrots. There is no special reason for using them as a companion. However, they do not bull cucumbers or hinder their growth. This is enough reason to make lettuce a compatible cucumber companion plant.
These popular aromatic herbs are commonly grown by most gardeners. This spice crop provides green leaves, seeds, and flowers for use. They attract useful insects to improve the rate of the pollination process. Dill improves the taste of the cucumber crop. Hence, planting dill near your cucumbers is a wise decision.
Other aromatic herbs like mint and sage can alter the taste and flavor of cucumbers. Therefore, keep in mind not to plant them.
Borage is an herbaceous plant that is easy to grow and an ideal companion plant for cucumbers. Its star-shaped flowers are beautiful, and the plant is highly beneficial for the health of cucumbers. the flower adds a refreshing flavor to the cucumbers. They add all the required nutrients to the soil for better health. They can be used for salads as well. Beyond companions, they are edible and tasty.
Plants that you must avoid planting next to cucumbers
There are few plants that are not fit as cucumber companion plants. You must avoid planting them near your cucumbers. Here is all you need to know about them.
1. Aromatic Herbs
Unlike Dill, aromatic herbs like Basil, Peppermint and sage are not beneficial for the growth of cucumber crop.
- Basils are good companions for tomatoes, but when it comes to cucumbers, you must keep Basil away from them.
- Sage stunts the growth of your cucumbers and alter’s their fresh flavor.
- Peppermint or mint has a tendency to grow and occupy must space. They can escape their boundary and affect the well-being of your cucumbers. As they sprawl through the soil, make sure to place them away from cucumbers.
Herbs that you can plant instead of these are
Potatoes require large quantities of nutrients from the soil to grow. If you grow your cucumbers close to potatoes, they will show stunted growth and small size/ This is because potatoes leave the sol bereft of nutrients necessary for the growth of cucumbers.
Hence, make a not to place potato crop away from cucumbers. In small gardens keeping them away can be difficult. Hence, in that case, make sure not to grow them together at the same time. Also, potato beetles like to feed on cucumbers as well. Planting them together can increase the chances of pest invasion.
Insects that feed on melons also have a taste for cucumbers as food. If you plant melons, cucumbers, pumpkins,or guards, your garden will become a mini monoculture.
Pests are harmful to the growth of your crops. You will have to use a lot of fertilizers and pesticides to keep them at bay. These insect pests can spread disease among your plants. Instead of repelling insects from your cucumbers, melons attract them. This defeats the very purpose of companion planting.
Melons are fit for plantation next to broccoli, carrots, okra, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, and kale.
Before planting any plant or crop along with their companions, growing through a companion planting guide is a necessity. You must search and browse all required information before planning the layout of your garden. As a backyard gardener, there are chances that you miss some vital information that can alter the health of your plants.
Hence, research always comes foremost. You must plant your cucumber crop and its companions as per the guidelines. Choosing the right companions for plants will make your garden healthy. Your garden beds will flourish with vibrant greens and vegetables if you plan before planting them.
For a gardener, cucumbers are easy plants to grow. However, for any plant, the right conditions and environment must be established for their optimum well-being. You cannot enjoy a good cucumber salad if it is stunted or wilted.
In the end, make sure to search well and learn more about the crop. Gardening is a pleasure in itself from which you can yield great results. Now it is your turn to let cucumber vines grow and thrive in your garden.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.