If your garden aesthetic is “the bigger the better” or you simply want a healthy garden, here are our top ways to use companion planting to maximize your yield.  Companion planting is placing certain crops in close proximity to help mitigate pests, increase pollination, to maximize space or just overall improve crop productivity. Companion planting, also known as intercropping, can also be used to improve soil fertility, maintain plant health, provide weed suppression, offer shade regulation and you can even use tall plants to support lower growing plants by using them as natural support.    

We could talk forever about the benefits of companion planting, but here are some basic rules to follow to help maximize your yield and promote healthy garden growth.

The Potato Factor

Keep potatoes away from cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers as blight and disease can easily be shared across these plants and can ruin your potato harvest.   

Insect and Pest Repellent

Grow basil to help repel mosquitos and plant marigold, alyssum, zinnias and nasturtiums to keep pests away.  

Indigeneous Roots

The tried and tested “Three Sisters” planting method was established by the indigenous community where beans, corn and squash are planted together for maximum success. Radishes and cucumbers also work well in this combination because the corn provides shade protection and a place for the vines to grow up and be supported.

The Vampire Effect

A good way to remember a popular companion planting rule is that if it is thought to keep away a vampire, it should be kept away from most crops. Keep onion, garlic and shallots away from peas, corn, carrots, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips, cabbage, lettuce, basil, beans, peas and strawberries!   

Greens and Greens

Oftentimes  green plants will do well together, meaning you can always plant members of the broccoli family with lettuce, kale and spinach. Carrots also go well with the broccoli family. 

Friends not Foes

Common foods like corn, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, celebrity and turnips all pair well together. 

Are you new to companion planting and looking for a foolproof way to impress your friends? Try using your raised garden bed to make a “salsa garden” to spice up your weekly Taco Tuesday. Simply plant one oregano plant, two cilantro and nine red onions in the front of your bed. Place one serrano pepper plant, one staked fresno chili plant and one caged Roma tomato in the middle and finish it off with two planted tomatillos in the back. Tomatillos must be planted in pairs to ensure cross pollination and voila – a salsa garden, margaritas not included.   

If you are still unsure whether your plant combination will make a friend or foe out of your garden, contact us for an assessment and we can design the landscape of your dreams.

Building Raised Gardens

Looking to elevate your outdoor space? Try physically elevating your gardens and build a raised garden. Especially if you are working with a limited outdoor area, raised gardens are a fun DIY project to maximize your area and are the perfect backyard addition for growing vegetables and herbs.  

There are DIY kits available for you to use, however, with a quick trip to the hardware store, we are confident that you can make one yourself! Channel your inner HGTV and follow our below helpful tips and tricks.

Size matters

Depending on what you will be using it for and your specific needs, find the dimensions that will best suit your project and available space. Decide how big you want your raised garden to be and try to design it so it is 4 feet wide or less.  Anything wider than 4 feet will make it difficult to utilize the center of the bed. 

The perfect spot. 

Choose a spot for your garden that gets lots of sunlight and make sure you are using a flat surface area. Use a  shovel to remove ground that will prevent the garden from remaining completely flat. 

If you can dream it, you can create it.

Once you have visualized your dream built up garden, get 2 x 10 inch lumber pieces that have been cut to length to create a four-sided structure. To create a rectangle shape, place the shorter walls flush to the longer walls and drill pilot holes to fasten the short walls to the end of the long walls. We recommend using 2 ½ inch deck screws to keep the structure together.

Line, soil and plant!

After you have placed your structure down, line the rectangle with landscape fabric and begin to add soil. Plant your favourite seeds, step back and watch your garden flourish! If you want to make your garden stackable, meaning you can grow plants with long stem roots, add a second level of lumber when making the frame to add height to the walls.

Now that you have built your garden, are you ready for a full backyard makeover? Ask us about our landscape design process and how we can transform your garden.