Broccoli is a delicious cool season vegetable that many gardeners love to grow. Broccoli plants can get very large, so companion broccoli plants are one of the best ways to maximize space in your garden when planting broccoli for the season.
There are many types of broccoli, but the most common is the Calabrian variety, which is sold in stores. This is a headline variant that can take up several feet of space in your yard. If you are growing in a raised bed or container, be sure to choose companion plants carefully so that you can maximize your garden space.
Since broccoli has high nutrient and water needs, we focus on planting companions that will work well with a very hungry and thirsty plant. It's also great to keep in mind that members of the cabbage family tend to be exposed to a lot of pest pressure. Hence, it is important to watch out for your companions when planting a brassica such as broccoli in your garden.
Let's jump in and learn how to accompany plants with broccoli in the garden!
What is companion planting?
Choosing the right broccoli companion plants is surprisingly easy. Source: cold_penguin1952
Companion planting is a traditional way of planting a garden where plants are purposely planted near others, which in some ways helps them. While some companion planting guides can feel complicated with so many different plant relationships, there is actually science behind the method!
One reason companion planting is popular to this day is because it can attract beneficial insects for pollination or distract insect pests with "trap fruits" sacrificed to protect the main plant. Companion plants can also improve the taste of their neighbors through chemicals secreted in their roots.
Low-growing companion plants can serve as living mulch, cool the soil, hold back water, and suffocate weeds. They can also help take advantage of limited space by taking up vertical and horizontal space. In some cases, larger companion plants can be used to shade shorter heat sensitive plants. They can also be used as row markers so you don't overplant your garden or forget where to plant.
In general, companion plants are a great way to maximize the space you will grow in and the quality of the yields you will get from your garden. Let's get to know some of the best companion plants to broccoli!
Good companion plants for broccoli
Onions are excellent companions for your broccoli. Source: Toritoons
Broccoli, or Brassica oleracea var. Italica, grows well with leafy vegetables like Green salad, Swiss chard, and spinach. Leafy vegetables like lettuce tend to grow deep in the ground, while broccoli can get quite large. Growing broccoli near leafy greens can help lengthen the growing season by shading the soil so the greens can produce for a longer period of time before they slip. Lettuce, in particular, grows best when protected from the hot afternoon sun. Leafy vegetables also take up space close to the ground, so they can cool the ground by providing shade, prevent weeds from germinating, and use otherwise open space. Leafy vegetables are great companions to plant near broccoli.
Successful planting companions may include aromatic herbs such as rosemarywho have favourited broccoli pests like cabbage grinders and cabbage moths with their strong odor. Herbs like basil, mint, thyme, Sage, and dill also have the same benefits as rosemary and can repel insect pests with their strong smell and taste. The smell of highly aromatic herbs can even keep cabbage moths from laying their eggs on broccoli! Like fragrant flowers chamomile are good companions for broccoli because they are said to attract beneficial insects and improve the taste of broccoli.
Chamomile isn't the only flower that makes a great companion for broccoli in the garden. Nasturtiums are good companions for broccoli because they form a living mulch. Since nasturtiums are sprawling, they grow around the base of your broccoli plant and offer benefits similar to mulch. They're also light feed and don't compete with broccoli for nutrients. Geraniums Make great companions for planting broccoli near them as they will deter cabbage worms and other pests that attack Brassica plants.
Another reason for companion planting is to take up empty space below the surface of the soil. Root crops like potatoes, beets, and radishes grow well with broccoli because they have different nutritional requirements than broccoli. Their growth is underground so it takes up another space. Potatoes need soil rich in magnesium and phosphate, but broccoli needs calcium and nitrogen. Although both plants are heavy feedstuffs, their different nutritional needs allow them to grow close together. Same goes for broccoli and Beets: Broccoli pulls calcium out of the soil, but beets prefer less calcium in the soil, so they're great companions. radish Don't take up much root space in the garden and they will thrive near broccoli in the shade it provides.
One family that grows well with broccoli is the Allium family, which includes onions, shallots, and garlic. These plants include Onionsintended to improve the taste of broccoli. Plants like Shallots also grows well with broccoli. garlic is a great companion for broccoli as its strong scent can repel pests, much like the strong scented herbs do. This protects the plants from pests and gives your broccoli plant a great taste.
If you want to get creative with planting your broccoli companion, you can try mixing it up celery Plants with broccoli. Broccoli is said to taste better when planted near celery, and the celery plant grows better in the shade that broccoli throws. Just make sure that there is enough space for both plants as they can get very large and potentially compete for nutrients. Another great companion for broccoli is rhubarb. Be careful not to overcrowd any of the plants as they will suffer if they don't have enough space, light, or nutrients to thrive. However, rhubarb plants will deter the cabbage whitefly as well as other leaf-eating beetles because their leaves are full of toxic oxalic acid.
at last, cucumber Plants can be planted with broccoli, but cucumbers are heavy feeders. Hence, you may need to make sure that your soil is modified with organic matter and fed frequently. Plant a cucumber near broccoli and give it enough room to grow.
What not to plant with broccoli
Summer squash like this zucchini doesn't make great broccoli friends. Source: thomas pix
Broccoli plants don't do well for the nightshade family because they are heavy feedstuffs that compete with broccoli for nutrients. This contains pepper, tomatoes, and Eggplantall of which rid the soil of its nutrients. Tomatoes are particularly nutrient-hungry and make poor companions for broccoli. Keep your hot peppers away from your broccoli plants. To ensure proper growth, avoid planting near these nightshade plants.
You should also avoid planting Summer squash and Winter pumpkin, Melons, and Corn because these plants consume too much nutrients from the soil and compete with broccoli. For example, corn needs a lot of soil improvement to grow well during the season. A pumpkin plant may need a lot of space and nutrients to compete with growing your broccoli. asparagus Plants also need rich soil and compete with broccoli for nutrients, resulting in both plants stunted and not growing as well as they could on their own. Strawberries are particularly poor companions for broccoli because they are heavy feedstuffs and are known to attract pests. It may be better to plant strawberries further away in the garden.
Special, Beans, including French beans and runner beans, are poor companion plants for broccoli plants because they fix nitrogen in the soil, making it too rich for broccoli. This applies to all members of the legume family, as their nitrogen-fixing properties overwhelm members of the cabbage family like broccoli with nitrogen-rich soil. Plants such as beans should be further away from the broccoli in the garden.
Finally, it's best to avoid growing broccoli plants nearby other Brassicas such as kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower because pests infest plants in a family quickly and easily at the same time. By attracting pests that all feed on the same family of plants, you risk pests eating your broccoli and attract whiteflies, cabbage grinders, and cabbage moths to feed on your other Brassica plants. For example, though Brussels sprouts They have the same nutritional needs as broccoli and can add twice the pest pressure to your garden. Keep the brassicas apart in the garden to avoid pests destroying the entire crop at once.
frequently asked Questions
Q: What can I plant with broccoli and cauliflower?
A: Plants such as leafy vegetables, strongly scented herbs, medicinal flowers and potatoes!
Q: Are broccoli and carrots companions?
A: No, because carrots and broccoli compete for calcium in the soil.
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