When you are a gardener, you are doing nothing to ensure your plants stay healthy and happy. This includes keeping plants that don't like each other away from each other. However, many farmers and gardeners alike have fallen into the trap of forcing “hostile” plants to become neighbors, which led to the death of one or the other plant.
Several reasons determine why you should sow certain plants separately. These issues include one plant attracting insects that are harmful to the other plant, competition for critical resources, and cross-contamination.
The Importance of Planning Your Garden
If you are creating a small garden that requires plants to be planted close together, make sure that they get along well. This should also be true in a large garden, where a reasonable amount of distance will affect how water and nutrients are used and how pest control is done. Although there is scientifically sound information available to determine plant intolerance, it is an expertly proven "trial and error" method to achieve the best result. Depending on the size of the container and garden, as well as the list of vegetables you plan to grow, you may want to experiment. You can also read this helpful guide and be guided in the right direction.
Reasons why certain combinations of plants just don't work
A few rules of thumb are set out to determine whether vegetables can be planted side by side. This includes:
1. Light requirements
First, consider the size of the garden plants and their lighting needs. Plant a plant that is too tall next to a short one and there will be a problem if the big one eats up all the sunlight. If you are planting large and short vegetables side by side, place them far enough away to allow sufficient sunlight to shine on them. Many experienced gardeners solve this problem by setting a whole row for the shortest plants and positioning them on the edge of the garden. This method is also known as border planting.
2. Water and fertilizer requirements
Then you have combinations of plants that just don't work due to water issues. Certain plants that need a lot of water do not hesitate to use their neighbors' supplies and cause them great discomfort. They'll be just as greedy with fertilizer too. Before planting garden plants together, make sure that water and other nutritional needs are balanced. Of course, an exception to this rule would be if both plants are extremely competitive. In that case, you can make things work by giving the plants more space and providing them with more water and fertilizer.
There is also the problem of allelopathy. It is a property of certain plants that adversely affects their neighbors. Allelopathic plants are able to chemically disrupt the vital systems of those with whom they compete. While weeds are the culprit in most cases, some types of crops and landscaping plants also leave behind allelopathic chemicals. Scientists have continuously observed such behavior in these plants to provide better weed control strategies.
Although it is believed that many plants have allelopathic properties, there is not yet enough extensive evidence to support this scientifically. Not too much research has been done in this area, but the following plants are suspected of having allelopathic behavior:
The more obvious allelopathic relationships are in plants like tomatoes, corn, and eggplant, which have a common enemy: the black walnut. For broccoli in the garden, you must have adequate knowledge of crop rotation. This is because broccoli can leave a certain type of residue that other cruciferous vegetables cannot stand. Then you have alfalfa, which has a special type of allelopathy that prevents its seeds from germinating. It is known that garlic and onions also have the same properties as peas and beans. Although for the most part they are friendly to other gardeners.
4. Cross contamination
After all, you have cross-contamination that can lead to the spread of bacterial and fungal infections and parasites easily and quickly. This is typically the case with certain crops like tomatoes and corn that are prone to the same type of infection or disease. The same applies to peppers and potatoes as well as potatoes and tomatoes. So always make sure that you plant these plants on opposite ends of your garden. That way, they are not responsible for taking each other off.
To plant or not to plant?
Unless it is scientifically known that planting certain plants and vegetables side by side will produce wonderful results, think twice about planting things close together. Sometimes a little research and experimentation is the only way to know for sure whether certain types of plants can be good neighbors. However, the best way is to ensure that each of your plants is meeting their growing needs.