By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
A technique known among farmers that helps them maximize their land and increase their crops’ productivity is called companion planting. It is the process of planting different crops in proximity of each other for several reasons such as pest control, pollination and the aforementioned.
Masipag Mindanao, a farmer-led network of people’s organizations, NGOs and scientists working towards the sustainable use and management of natural resources, shared a guide for companion planting so farmers can determine which crops to plant together.
Amaranth, or kulitis in Filipino, is generally a good companion for most plants but it is best suited to plant with corn because its leaves provide the corn with shade, giving it a rich, moist roon run. Amaranth also attracts predatory ground beetles.
Ampalaya can be planted with almost every crop. It can be grown with trellised lima bean (patani), yard-long bean (sitaw), and winged bean (sigarilyas).
Basil is a herb that’s said to help tomatoes taste better and it can be planted with peppers and oregano. It repels asparagus beetles, mosquitoes, thrips, and flies.
Beans are suitable for heavy nitrogen users like corn because it fixes the nitrogen from the air into the soil. Its growth is helped by eggplants meanwhile it can be planted with corn, spinach, rosemary, lettuce, and carrots. Beans, however, should be kept away from tomatoes, chili peppers, sunflowers, and kale.
Cabbage should be planted away from mustard, tomato, pepper, eggplant, and sitaw. However, it grows well when planted with geraniums, rosemary, since they trap cabbage worms, and repel cabbage flies respectively. It can also be planted alongside potato, celery, dill, and onion.
Carrots help tomatoes grow better but it could also stunt carrot’s growth. Carrots attract lacewing, parasitic wasps, and other predatory wasps. Plant with aromatic companion plants such as rosemary to repel carrot flies.
Corn should be kept well away from tomatoes. Corn, however, is beneficial to beans as it provides it with a trellis and is helped by sunflower, beans, squash, and amaranth.
Cucumber is best planted with corn and beans since the three all like the same conditions: warmth, rich soil, and plenty of moisture. It can also grow well with sunflowers since the sunflowers provide cucumbers a strong support for its vines.
Eggplant must avoid being planted with potatoes. Nonetheless, it goes well with amaranth, beans, peas, swamp cabbage, golden squash, radish, and marigold.
Garlic repels aphids, ants, and cabbage maggot which is why it’s beneficial for roses, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, and celery.
Lettuce grows well with mint because the herb repels slugs. Planting it near amaranth is also acceptable because the amaranth will act as a good trap crop that attracts lettuce pests.
Onion improves the flavor of chamomile. It can be grown alongside carrot, chamomile, dill, lettuce, and tomato but should be kept away from peas, beans, and asparagus.
Oregano provides ground cover and humidity for pepper plants. It also repels or distracts aphids.
Peppers prefer humid conditions which can be possible by planting with a dense-leaf or ground-cover companion. It can be planted with tomatoes and basil but not with beans, kale, and cabbage.
Potato and tomato should be kept apart because they can both contaminate each other. It is better grown with cabbage, carrot, celery, corn, marigold, peas, and onion.
Rosemary deters cabbage flies and repels many bean parasites making it an ideal companion plant for beans, cabbages, and carrots.
Tomato protects asparagus from beetles while asparagus protects tomatoes from nematodes. Tomatoes can also be grown near roses and peppers.
Marigold can be planted with most plants because it produces a strong pesticide-like chemical from their roots that lasts for years even after the flower is gone.
Sunflower is an excellent trap crop because ants lead aphids onto sunflowers thus keeping them away from neighboring plants.
Squash planted with corn, peas, and beans help the latter crops thrive because the spiky and hair squash vines make it difficult for invading insects to reach the other nearby plants.
Lemongrass helps repel mosquitoes and is best planted with sun-loving plants since the lemongrass loves to bask in the sun. Examples of companion plants that go with lemongrass are tomatoes, pepper, marigolds, and basil.
Masipag Mindanao compiled the information from various sources to spread the word about companion planting and eventually help fellow farmers in getting the most out of their crops.