I’m sure most are used to seeing gardens or crop fields planted in rows. While in large format farming it is for ease, in gardening there is a science behind it. Large format farms do not have to worry about things like companion planting or plant size. Did you know that growing some plants next to other plants can foil your garden plans? Did you know that some plants attract bugs that will kill other plants? Did you know that planting plants in the same place year after year can strip your soil and harm your yields?
Crop rotation is one of the easiest ways to have an amazing garden year after year. But planting certain plants next to each other can really cause a problem. Here are some quick reasons why you should make sure you are careful where you plant certain plants.
- Soil change – Did you ever notice that a field is rarely planted in corn or beans more than one year in a row? That is because the soil changes after each crop. Corn tends to strip the soil of nutrients while soy beans replenish the soil. If the farmer planted corn every year the crop would suffer and the soil would start to have issues. (i.e. The Dust Bowl of the 1930’s). That is just one example. Even trees and their root systems can change the soil. Oak trees for example can put acids into the soil.
- Some plants just get too big! – If you have a plant that loves to be in the shade, like lettuce for example, it might be ok to plant it next to a tall growing plant, like under a cucumber trellis. Planting potatoes under your cucumbers would hurt both plants. The potatoes wouldn’t get enough sun and the soil combo can hurt the growth of both plants.
- Bacteria – Most everyone knows there is good an bad bacteria. The same is true with bacteria in the soil. Bad bacteria can cause roots to rot and other problems for your garden plants. Good bacteria can get sucked from the ground and needs to be put back in for a balanced garden. Legumes (Beans, alfalfa) and even some trees can help encourage the bacteria back into the soil. The bacteria thrive on these plant’s roots and they stay in the spoil once the plant dies at the end of the season leaving your garden with lots of good bacteria in the soil.