A companion plant is that which is planted together with another one for their mutual benefit. These are usually plants that don’t compete for nutrients and may even provide such benefits as deterring pests and diseases from attacking either plant.
10 Best companion plants to plant with cucumbers
The best companion crops for cucumbers include the following:
Beans (and other legumes) add nitrogen to the soil making it much more fertile than before. When combined with cucumbers, they will provide nitrogen to the cucumbers making them more robust in their growth and yield. You can also use a shared trellis for the beans and cucumbers with the benefit that they also save on the spacing in the garden.
Planting celery with your cucumbers is neither good nor bad save for the fact that it aids in spacing out your cucumbers for more robust growth. It is thus a neutral relationship although celery has some pest control benefits such as its ability to deter butterflies owing to its strong scent.
Dill is a great spice to have in your garden as you can make pickles from its flowers, seeds, and even leaves. Besides that, they’re great as companion plants to your cucumbers as they attract beneficial insects such as pollinators and parasitic wasps which eat away pests. Dill, however, may add its flavor to your cucumbers and should thus only be grown if you like its taste.
Marigolds are among the best natural pesticides you can have in your garden. A lot of people grow them without really knowing that they repel all manner of insects and beetles from their gardens without messing with the parent crop. When you combine them with cucumbers, they help keep these pests at bay.
Another legume, peas, add nitrogen to the soil and can also have trellis used both with the cucumbers for a mutual benefit. Peas often get ready before the cucumbers which is advantageous to the cucumbers as it leaves them space to further flourish without other plants taking up space.
Cucumbers like climbing up to keep their fruits off the ground. Unless you provide them with a trellis to climb, they’ll climb up any plant or object they find. Sunflowers make a good trellis for your cucumbers especially the smaller cucumbers since the larger ones can weigh the sunflowers down.
Beets are another plant with a neutral relationship with cucumbers in that they don’t affect them either negatively or positively. They can, however, provide a good way of spacing out the cucumbers for the best growth. Beets don’t use up that much of the nutrients in the soil hence a great addition to your garden.
Corn, like sunflower, has relatively strong upright stalks that can act as a trellis for your cucumber plants. They don’t use up much of the nutrition provided in the soil hence a great addition. Like sunflowers, you should only use them as trellis when you’re planting the smaller sizes of cucumbers.
The third companion plant with your cucumbers is lettuce. Without affecting the cucumbers in any way, lettuce will help you space out your cucumbers properly. They also have the advantage of being nutritious in your diet and don’t use up much of the nutrients in the soil.
Any of these plants will do well when combined with your cucumbers.
Why are companion plants good for cucumbers?
For the growth of cucumbers, adding companion plants helps them avoid hugging the ground which may lower their quality. They should offer the cucumbers a way to twine around them and avoid laying on the ground. These have to be plants that don’t require much water and hence don’t offer any competition to your cucumbers for the same.
Besides these benefits, companion plants are good for cucumbers for the following reasons:
Taller plants such as corn offer the cucumbers protection from the effects of laying on the ground where they can easily go bad and be attacked by pests. Essentially, you will be protecting one crop being offering the other its natural growth conditions.
Some companion plants for cucumber produce more nectar and pollen which attracts pollinators to both plants. This makes it easy to have the cucumber flowers pollinated. Besides that, some pollinators act as pest controllers as they chase away and feed on harmful insects and other pests.
With more than one crop in a field or garden, you have better yields financially since one of them failing means that you’ll have the other one to fall back on for income. Even when you’re planting them for your consumption, you’ll have more to consume for the same piece of land.
Add nutrients to the soil
Some plants, especially legumes, add nutrients to the soil thus boosting the growth of the primary plant. In this case, planting beans or peas with your cucumbers as the main crop will boost the cucumbers’ growth.
With companion planting, you exercise organic pest control with some companion plants either repelling the pests or luring them away from your cucumbers. This type of trap cropping has many benefits including reducing the costs of farming the cucumbers.