Companion planting is an ancient planting method of growing plants that will undoubtedly have mutual benefits. Utilizing companion planting means growing a plant alongside other plants that have a reciprocal relationship. The benefit may be on the significant plant or all the plants.
One plant may prevent pests for the other plant(s). Most pests are known to cause diseases to the plants, and by deterring them, you can prevent some plants’ diseases. Companion planting is also known to increase the garden’s diversity, which thwarts pest infestations and diseases.
The primary purpose of companion planting is to improve the plants’ health and boost yields organically without using chemicals and pesticides. Many plants qualify for companion planting, Broccoli included. This article will discuss important information you ought to know about broccoli companion planting.
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Factors To Consider Before Companion Planting
You need to have an adequate amount of space for the companion plant so that you still have space for planting your Broccoli. Ensure enough spacing between the plants to not compete with each other for the available resources. Also, ensure that the spacing is adequate to prevent excessive overshadowing.
Nutrient Sharing And Provision
The available nutrients enhance the ideal growth of your Broccoli. It would help if you considered combining the plants that will not compete with each other for nutrients. If the plants require the same type of mineral, consider mixing the light feeders with heavy feeders.
Physical Protection And Support
Consider combining the plants that will not only protect your Broccoli but also provide support to it as it grows. For example, garlic can provide physical protection to your Broccoli by repelling small animals that tend to eat many green plants in your garden.
For the thriving and blossoming of your garden, consider the plants that are more companion plants than weed. Some plants like mint are so invasive, and if not controlled, it may also result in being one of the weeds infesting your garden after some time. Plants like chive are easily controllable and will result in an ideal companion for Broccoli.
Some plants are so beneficial as they tend to improve the health of both the plants and the soil. Their roots hold the soil particles firmly, which prevents soil erosion and improves the soil composition.
Some plants will also provide the ideal shade to prevent the soil from losing much moisture. Borage is a great companion plant for making the soil fertile.
Check on your Broccoli’s growth rate and compare it to the companion plant. If the companion plant has a faster growth rate than the Broccoli, it is likely to consume the available resources faster, leaving emaciated Broccoli in your garden.
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What To Plant With Broccoli
You can plant your Broccoli alongside various types of plants. I.e., vegetables, fruits, exotics, herbs and spices, and flowers. Broccoli does well with leafy plants such as swiss chard, lettuce, and spinach. These leafy plants grow low to the ground than Broccoli. This creates a shade over the soil, thus increasing the greens’ growing season. Similarly, the shading cools the soil, thus preventing weeds from growing.
Also, you can plant your Broccoli alongside aromatic herbs such as rosemary. Rosemary has a strong smell that repels some broccoli pests like cabbage moths and cabbage loopers. Other herbs such as sage, mint, basil, dill, and thyme also offer the same benefit as rosemary. They have a strong scent and flavor, which repels the pests away. If the aromatic herb has a powerful smell, it can prevent cabbage moths from laying eggs on your Broccoli.
Some plants, like scented flowers, tend to attract insects. For example, chamomile attracts beneficial insects, which tend to improve the Broccoli’s flavor. Other flowers like nasturtiums are planted with Broccoli to provide mulching. Nasturtium grows in a sprawling way around the Broccoli’s base, which has similar benefits to mulching. Plants like geraniums are great to grow alongside Broccoli since they deter brassica-attacking pests and cabbage worms.
You can also utilize companion planting to occupy the space below the soil. Tubers such as radishes, beets, and potatoes are ideal for planting Broccoli since they require different minerals; thus, the competition is very minimal. For example, potatoes need more magnesium and phosphate to grow, while Broccoli grows in the abundance of Nitrogen and calcium. Although these plants are heavy feeders, they do not compete for nutrients; thus, they can be grown together.
This is almost the same case with beets. Beets are a light feeder of calcium, while Broccoli requires the mineral in abundance, thus making the two great companions. Radishes occupy less root space, and they do well with Broccoli since it overshadows them.
Also, the allium family grows well with Broccoli. The allium family includes shallots, garlic, and onions. Onions improve the Broccoli’s flavor while garlic repels pests with its strong scent. The allium family adds to your plant’s flavor while protecting it from pests too.
Planting your Broccoli alongside celery plants will also add to the flavor of the Broccoli. Similarly, the celery plants benefit from the Broccoli’s overshadowing. However, ensure to leave enough space for the plants so that they do not compete for nutrients. You can also incorporate rhubarb in your broccoli garden. Rhubarb plant leaves have toxic oxalic acid that repels the cabbage whitefly and other leaf-eating bugs.
Finally, cucumber can be planted with Broccoli too. However, it is a heavy feeder, and it may end up competing for nutrients with Broccoli. Allow plenty of growth space when you plant cucumber with Broccoli. In addition, ensure that the soil is supplemented with organic matter, which should be fed frequently.
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What Not To Plant With Broccoli
Nightshade family plants do not do well with Broccoli since they are all heavy feeders; thus, they compete for nutrients. Nightshade plants include eggplants, pepper, and tomatoes. Especially tomatoes which are nutrient hungry, thus making a poor companion plant for Broccoli. Similarly, ensure that there are no hot peppers planted near your Broccoli.
Also, avoid planting melon, corn, and squash near your Broccoli. These heavy feeder plants will end up competing for nutrients with the Broccoli. For example, corn requires adverse soil amendments for efficient growth. A squash plant may occupy much space while competing for nutrients with Broccoli.
Asparagus plants cannot be planted with Broccoli, too, since there will be a nutrients competition. Both of the plants will end up having stunted growths. Strawberry plants are the worst to grow with Broccoli. Apart from being heavy feeders, they also tend to attract pests. Pests will infect your Broccoli with diseases, and they may not grow well.
Beans, including pole beans and bush beans, also make bad companions with Broccoli. This applies to all the other legumes because of their property of nitrogen-fixing. These plants will overwhelm Broccoli and other cabbage family plants with soil full of Nitrogen. Ensure you space your beans further from Broccoli.
Finally, do not grow other brassicas near your Broccoli. Brassicas like cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower will provide a ground for rearing pests which will be bad for all other plants. They will attract pests like cabbage moths, whiteflies, and cabbage loopers, that all feed on the same plants’ family.
For example, despite the brussels sprouts having the exact nutritional requirements as Broccoli, they will attract many pests to your garden. Ensure that any brassicas in the garden are well spaced throughout.
Pros And Cons Of Companion Planting
Companion Planting Saves Space
If you are trying to make the most of your small garden, companion planting is ideal for you. Companion planting is known to save on your garden’s space, especially if you plant a vining plant under a taller one.
It ensures that space, otherwise occupied by weed, is filled up, leaving no space for unwanted plants. Similarly, planting fast-growing plants between rows of slow-growing ones will ensure that there are no empty spaces in your garden.
Keeping The Soil Moist And Prevents Erosion
Having small spaces of open soil holds the soil close and keeps it moist. This allows you to grow more plants. Vining plants like cucumber and squash are much beneficial in shading the soil. Companion planting can be much effective in times of droughts.
Similarly, having the ground covered in plants prevents weed growth. For example, a Native American companion planting method grows vining squash beneath corn and beans. This provides shade to the soil while preventing weeds from growing.
It is pretty challenging for pests to infest your crops while utilizing a conventional monoculture garden layout. The pests are much unlikely to find a solid patch of their favorite host. Some plants are even known to repel certain pests, e.g., wormwood can be planted among Broccoli and other brassicas to repel cabbage moths. In contrast, the Mexican marigold is a great companion with beans for preventing Mexican bean beetles.
Diseases are likely to spread quickly in your garden when you plant the same type of plants in your garden. By planting different species in the garden, you will undoubtedly break up your garden’s scheme, thus slowing the spread of disease. Certain plants are known to make others healthier and lowering diseases’ susceptibility.
Attracting Pollinators and Beneficial Insects
When your garden has plenty of food and habitat, beneficial insects of all kinds are more likely to spend time traveling throughout the garden. Consider choosing the plants that contain extended bloom periods.
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How To Plant Broccoli
Broccoli does well when planted in the abundance of sunlight and fertile soil of PH of 6 to 7. You should also take a soil test to amend any mineral deficiency. For example, Broccoli tends to develop hollow stems when planted in soil that has a Boron deficiency.
Since Broccoli is a heavy feeder, supplement the soil with an adequate amount of Nitrogen to enhance the plant’s growth and flavor. Nitrogen is available in cottonseed meal, manure, or garden compost. You should also consider breaking up the soil to at least one foot deep and remove any debris before planting your Broccoli.
Also, add a considerable amount of peat moss for conserving the soil’s moisture. You can now plant any variety of Broccoli ranging from Everest, Windsor, Gypsy, Di Cicco, Arcadia, Packman, or Emerald Pride. Follow the steps below to grow any of the mentioned varieties of Broccoli.
You might encounter diseases like black rot, clubfoot, or blackleg in your Broccoli. You might also consider adding calcium to the soil to add to the plant’s optimum growth and flavor. If planted and cared for properly, your Broccoli should be ready for harvest in 8 weeks.
In addition, Broccoli is sometimes planted alongside other companion plants. These companion plants will deter pests and diseases, conserve moisture, control weeds, offer shade, and enrich your broccoli flavor.
Companion planting is more of a trial and error than scientific. However, the method has been used in the ancient world, thus proving it is effective. For example, the native Americans used to plant squash alongside corn and beans.
After reading this article, you will undoubtedly know companion planting and the best companion plants for broccoli. Planting broccoli alongside these plants guarantees with maximum care high yields of not one plant but two.