Companion planting is a design technique that is used to assist in the health of crops and gardens by placing specific combinations close to one another.
By choosing plants that are known to repel certain pests, attract certain beneficial insects, or provide needed shade, nutrients or other types of support, and combining those plants to assist others that will benefit from those intrinsic characteristics, is the definition of companion planting.
Groups of companion plants that are planted together to provide multiple supportive combinations, either to each other, or to another plant, are called Guilds.
What are Companion Planting Charts?
Many different companion planting charts exist that can be used to assist in understanding various beneficial and adverse combinations of plants.
Many charts contain the same information, while some do not.
Here are some examples of widely used companion planting charts:
How Does Companion Planting Work?
A common example of companion planting is The Three Sisters:
The Three Sisters have been used for centuries by many first nations and indigenous cultures. Corn, beans, and squash were planted together to benefit each other in a number of ways.
While corn provides a support for the beans by acting like a living beanpole, squash shades the soil with its leaves, deterring animal pests and weeds from disturbing its companions, and beans have a bacteria found on their roots, called rhizobacteria, which supplies nitrogen, enhancing the growth of the corn and squash.