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Cucumbers are some of the easiest plants to grow and are prolific. When it gets full sun and moist soil, you’re on the path to success! Cucumbers also love getting plenty of water and are heavy feeders. If you’re thinking of growing some in your garden, work your soil with organic matter. From experience, you are better off starting the plant as a seed in the garden because you don’t want to disturb its roots! Push a few seeds to your designated cucumber patch and once they’ve established, you’ll soon be enjoying your own cucumber smoothie!
Have you ever had a cucumber smoothie? In the era when smoothies and juices became popular, the cucumber was one of those ingredients that caught me by surprise. Up until then, I’ve always limited them to salads and dips. I’ve always thought cucumbers to be strictly vegetables, solely for savory dishes. (There are still ongoing discussions on whether the cucumber is a fruit or vegetable.)
Well, whether fruits or vegetables, I simply find it all to be an exciting way to eat healthier. It opened a world where carrots, beets, radishes, and more are juiced or made into delicious and filling drinks.
It also opened many of us to the world of companion planting. Hey, if we’re consuming all these fruits and vegetables, we should be growing them in abundance, right?
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting may be growing in trend over the years, but it is not new. The Native Americans have long been practicing the age-old grouping technique called “Three Sister Planting.” This ancient method of companion planting groups corn, beans, squash, or pumpkin in the same area. These vegetables grow best together because their qualities protect the other plants.
Beans are legumes, and they are proven to fix the nitrogen levels in the soil. This provides the required soil nutrition of the corn. Squash grows fast and huge and serves as weed blockers. Beans can also find support when they climb up towering corn stalks. This example shows us the great benefits of companion planting.
Companion planting in essence is the practice of growing different plants together for the benefit of said plants. The key to successful companion planting is combining plants that help each of them become more productive because they complement each other. I’m pretty sure there’s a life lesson here…
What Are the Benefits of Companion Planting?
I like how one gardener put it, when we practice companion planting on our vegetable garden, we should think of ourselves to be the mayor or city planner of our ‘garden city.’ When you are growing plants with good companions, you are ensuring the overall safety, health, and harmony of your town.
In this companion planting guide article, we’re specifically learning about which vegetables, crops, and fruits are better fit to grow alongside and support the growth of cucumbers. What good will it do for this plant?
Companion Plants Repel Insects and Pests
Ever since I started my vegetable garden, I’ve learned as much about pests, insects, and pest control as I have about growing plants. It’s just a fact of the garden life. Your vegetable garden can be plagued with squash bugs, cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles, aphids, cabbage worms, carrot flies, and what-have-you! It’s a real bug’s life situation. That’s why companion planting is very beneficial. If you want to repel pests and insects, plants like the chives, rue, and marigolds, and corn marigolds, make for great natural pest control. You can even use the companion planting principle, to grow a pest-attracting plant a distance away from your garden patch to lure insects away. That’s a war strategy right there!
Companion Plants Attracts Beneficial Insects
If you want a thriving garden, you’ll need frequent visits from beneficial insects, pollinators like the bees and ladybugs. Adding attractive flowers to your vegetable plot will help pollinate your crops.
Companion Plants Improve Soil Health
If you’ve dabbled in vegetable gardening, you probably have an idea of the work that needs to be done at the end of every season to revive the nutrients of the soil. Vegetables take up all the necessary nutrients so they can grow well. If you practice companion planting, you can take advantage of crops like bush beans and pole beans that add nitrogen back into the soil. This cuts down your work and helps keep your cucumbers healthy.
Companion Plants Improve Flavor and Hastens Harvest
Plants can either absorb certain substances from the soil that change the soil chemistry in favor of neighboring plants. Or, it can release specific chemicals that improve the taste of their companion plants or causes faster growth. A perfect example of this is the chamomile and summer savory plants. They’re known to improve the flavors especially veggies and aromatic herbs like beans, onions, and basil.
Companion Plants Provide Shade and Regulate Wind
Plenty of plants cannot stand full sun coverage and will easily damage under that light exposure. If you group these plants with those that grow tall and leafy, you can provide the much-needed shade they require. This is also applicable for plants that need protection from harsh winds. The taller and bigger plants can cover the more fragile ones.
Companion Plants Suppresses Weed and Covers the Ground
Companion planting helps you create an effective weed blocking system. Sprawling plants like potatoes planted near upright plants minimizes the opening in your garden, this gives no room for weeds to infiltrate. You also get instant ground covers when you try companion planting. Some plants like the oregano can blanket over the soil, keeping the soil cool for other plants.
Companion Plants Provide Instant Borders
You know how stressful it can be to tend to slow-growing crops sometimes. A good companion to these slow growers is fast-growing plants like radishes that create a marker or border that will tell you exactly where your plants are.
The Best Cucumber Companion Plants
1. Beans – Green beans, beans, peas, and other types of legumes do more than just fill our stomachs. Planted together with cucumbers, they can help fix the essential nitrogen in the soil. Bush beans specifically help increase the vigor of the cucumbers in your garden. Pole beans can also share a trellis with your cucumbers which is a space-saving tip!
2. Corn – Not only are they perfect additions to a refreshing salad bowl but cucumbers and corn are also one of the most prime examples of companion planting. When we plant these two next to each other, the cucumber can help corn by repelling pests and animals like raccoons. You can plant cucumbers around the corn patch to reduce weed growth and retain the soil moisture.
On the other hand, corn also helps the cucumber by providing some needed shade. The vines of the crop can also climb up onto the corn which keeps them off the ground. They will truly be doing the job for you!
3. Dill – Step aside parsley fans, here’s an herb and spice that can be planted together with cucumbers and serve two functions. Dill attracts beneficial insects that can help pollinate your cucumbers. Not only that, dill attracts fly-by and crawl-by insects too! These are necessary for organic gardens because they naturally keep other garden pests down and out of your space.
Now there is a caveat for aromatic herbs like dill. The second function of dill is that it can affect the flavor of your cucumbers. This is good news if you like the flavor of dill.
4. Celery – Celery is often a favored companion plant of the cabbage family. It gives off a strong scent that is believed to ward off pests, especially the likes of the cabbage butterfly and cabbage moths.
Unlike other vegetables and crops on this list, celery has no recorded benefit or disadvantage to planting celery and cucumbers together. It’s simply a neutral pairing. Certain plants just are. Like people, neutral relationships are good, don’t you think? For the garden, it can help you space out the many types of vegetables you grow.
5. Radishes – When we see seed packets say radishes grow quickly and easily, they aren’t kidding! One growing season, I made the mistake of lining my garden with rows and rows of radishes. Let’s just say, all my friends received care packages full to the brim with radishes. These root vegetables are brassicas. But unlike the other plant brassicas, these are absolutely ideal companion plants for cucumbers because they help us check the root system. The roots of radishes and cucumbers do not disturb one another. Radishes are also noted to help avoid the invasion of cucumber beetles.
6. Peas – Legumes from beans, bush beans, sugar snap peas, to green peas are all prime vegetables to grow with cucumbers. Visually, peas and cucumbers complement each other in your garden. Not only that, peas add to the nitrogen content in the soil. Be mindful of the right timing when plant peas and cucumber together, too. Peas can be planted and harvested earlier, just in time for cucumbers to mature and need enough space to sprawl. Just note to never plant peas near garlic or onion because these can stunt the growth of peas.
7. Marigolds – Marigolds stand to be one of the most popular and best companion plants out there because these flowers possess so many positive traits. Not only do they have pretty blooms, but they also quietly do the job of protecting gardens. They have a scent that repels a variety of pests, especially aphids that are common problems for cucumber leaves.
8. Lettuce – Ah, the humble lettuce. If you’re just starting out in gardening, the lettuce vegetable is your best bet to boost your confidence. Leaf lettuce doesn’t require too much attention. While it doesn’t have any primary reason to be planted alongside other plants, lettuce is simply a neutral companion plant. Plant near the cucumber and enjoy a steady harvest of lettuce. Once they’re ready to pick, enjoy a fresh salad with your lettuce greens!
9. Nasturtiums – You know in movies when the hero has to save the day so the sidekick has to sacrifice their life, by becoming the distraction/trap for the villain? I know it’s a pretty random statement. But that’s exactly the role Nasturtiums play in vegetable gardens. Nasturtiums’ flavors are so attractive to aphids that these pests will flock to them instead. Leaving the cucumbers and other veggies safe from harm. Gardeners plant these flowers a short distance away. Also, if you do need a little pop of color on your salad, nasturtiums are edible! They have a peppery tang that would be perfect together with lettuce, cucumber, nasturtiums, oregano, corn, tomatoes mix, and toss.
10. Beets – Some gardeners believe beets fall under the neutral companion plants category. But it’s been also noted that beets add minerals to the soil, especially because the leaves of beets are made of 25% magnesium. Cucumbers can’t stand growing with the Brassicas like the Brussels sprouts and the rest of the cabbage family. But the beets make great companions for these types of plants.
Companion Planting Guide FAQs:
What can you not plant next to cucumbers?
These plants will stunt the growth of your cucumbers, avoid planting the following:
- Potatoes – You can plant eggplants and tomatoes next to cucumbers but never ever potatoes. They are heavy feeders that will take up all the water.
- Melons – unless you want to grow a garden specifically to feed aphids, this is not the plant you want to pair with cucumber. They are both vining plants.
- Aromatic Herbs – Only the dill passes the compatibility award, the rest of the herbs from sage to basil can interfere with cucumber growth. These herbs can flavor your cucumber in a way that won’t be savory.
- Brassicas like Brussels sprouts and cabbage are water-thirsty plants. Some brassicas improves growth of cucumber plants, but generally, it’s best to avoid this family.
What companion plants go with cucumbers?
Can you plant tomatoes and cucumbers together?
Tomatoes and cucumbers can be planted together. Both the tomato plant and cucumbers reach maturity around the same days, which means you can harvest at the same time. However, note that certain diseases can affect both plants. The cucumber mosaic virus, for example, can also damage tomatoes.
Do I need two cucumber plants to get cucumbers?
It depends upon the type of cucumber seed you planted. Ensure that for every Gynoecious cucumbers, you at least two monoecious cucumbers.
Plant flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums to attract bees that can help with pollination.