If you’ve been gardening for even a little while, you may have come across the idea of Companion planting.
What is companion planting? Simply, it’s when a gardener plants two different plants near each other because the two plants have a mutually beneficial relationship. Maybe one plant will help the other grow stronger, one will help deter pests from the other, etc.
It’s a lovely and beautiful concept, and it really does work. I always plant radishes with my cucumbers to help deter pests. It works marvelously. I highly recommend this book to help you learn more about companion planting, it’s a wealth of information and detail.
But in my experience I’ve found that there are a few draw backs to companion planting.
- The companion I want/need to plant doesn’t grow well in my zone. Gardening in Florida I’ve found this to be a major issue for me with companion planting. Lavender for example is a lovely companion plant, but it does not grow well here.
- The companion plant is too large for my small garden space. I’m a backyard gardening, I have limited space, and when I first started I had a much smaller garden then I do now. An example of this problem is rosemary. It’s a wonderful companion plant, but it gets huge. And I don’t want to sacrifice my vegetable growing space for a giant rosemary bush.
So what can we do?
Use essential oils.
I know that might sound strange, but this is one of my favorite ways to use essential oils in the garden. I can’t grow lavender in my garden, but I can make a little spray with lavender essential oil and spray it on my plants! For about about 10 cents, I’ve got myself a companion “plant” for the season.
How to make companion planting essential oil sprays:
First select the companion plant you need, and get the oil for it.
Add 10 drops of that selected essential oil to the mini spray bottle , then fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel.
Make a little label, and then spray on your plants a couple times a week to help enhance growth, flavor, deter pests, and attract pollinators.
Here are some really great oil companions to start with:
Basil : Companion plant booster for Tomatoes, Beets, Cabbage, Peppers, Asparagus, Potatoes, Beans, Eggplant
Rosemary: Companion plant booster for Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans
Cilantro : Companion plant booster for Potatoes, Spinach, Tomatoes
Lavender: Companion plant booster for Beans, Peas, Cauliflower