Are you interested in growing vegetables in pots but unsure which ones to plant together? Growing vegetables in pots offers many advantages, such as the convenience of moving your plants around easily or growing them if there’s limited outdoor space.
Growing plants together (companion planting) is an age-old practice that involves placing different plants close enough for beneficial effects. Discover some of the best combinations for container gardening so you can get started on your own mini farm straight away!
First — What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the practice of growing two or more plants that benefit each other. It’s a great way to increase crop production and reduce the need for chemical pesticides while optimizing space usage in your garden. Companion planting can improve nutrient uptake, encourage pollination, provide natural pest control, and more!
When done correctly, companion planting helps you create microclimates better suited to certain vegetables than others. For example, planting shade-loving vegetables alongside taller crops provides the former with extra protection from direct sunlight. Similarly, some veggies thrive when planted near herbs and flowers. These plants help ward off pests and act as natural soil amendments.
Besides its practical benefits, companion planting is also an aesthetically pleasing way to spruce up your garden. Combining different colors, textures, and shapes within a limited space creates a beautiful display of color and scent that will brighten up your outdoor area.
Whether you’re looking for more efficient ways to grow fruits and veggies or make your garden look more inviting, companion planting is a great option. With the right combination of plants in close proximity, you reap the benefits of a flourishing garden without using expensive chemical treatments.
Container Planting Vegetables Together
When planting vegetables together, consider the size of the vegetable plants you’re growing and select appropriately sized containers — ideally 5 gallons or larger. Look for containers with at least six to eight drainage holes, as this allows excess water to drain away from your veggies.
Also, choose a lighter color pot. Dark-colored containers retain more heat, which causes faster evaporation after watering. Finally, use a soilless potting mix specially formulated for container gardening to provide all the necessary nutrients for a successful harvest.
Tomatoes and Marigolds
Although technically not a vegetable but a flower with edible cultivars, marigolds make the perfect pairing for tomatoes in pots. Not only are they both easy to grow and harvest, but planting them together in a pot has some extra benefits. Marigolds secrete thiopene, a chemical that helps fend off tomato-damaging nematodes. Research done by the Stockbridge Technology Centre shows that growing marigolds alongside tomatoes also helps reduce thrips populations. Although technically not a vegetable, and more of an edible cultivar, marigolds make the perfect pairing for tomatoes.
Plus, this combination of plants looks excellent too! The marigolds’ golden hues bring warmth and brightness to your garden, while the lush green foliage of the tomato plants contrasts nicely. As a bonus, the marigolds also attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. This helps pollinate your other plants.
When it comes to planting, give the tomato plant a little more space since it grows larger than the marigold.
Squash, Corn, and Beans
The combination of these three plants has been an agricultural technique used by Native American tribes for centuries. Colloquially called “the three sisters,” in this system, the beans give nitrogen to the soil, and the corn stalks assist the beans in climbing. The squash plant provides the soil with shade. This aids in temperature regulation and soil moisture.
For those who don’t have much space in their gardens but still want to replicate this symbiotic system in their backyard, growing these three plants in pots is a brilliant solution.
To ensure these three plants thrive in pots together, water them regularly and fertilize them as needed throughout the growing season. To help retain moisture in your container garden, add some mulch on top of the soil and give your pot a good soak. At least 1 inch per week is best.
Spinach and Strawberries
If you love the taste of fresh strawberries but find your plants are susceptible to disease, try planting them in a pot with spinach! It will add a layer of protection to your fruit, and the two plants’ complementary growing styles and flavors make this pair an ideal choice for container gardening.
Spinach’s deep roots pull water and nutrients from lower levels of soil, while strawberry roots stay closer to the surface, where they soak up the extra sun. This means you get healthy spinach leaves plus sweet and juicy strawberries without competition between the two plants.
Tomatoes and Basil
Tomatoes and basil are a classic combination in the kitchen, but you can also bring their flavor to your outside space by growing them together in pots. Basil prefers well-drained soil with some shade. At the same time, tomatoes love the sun and need plenty of water to thrive. By planting them together, they benefit each other as they grow. The tomato plant helps keep its leaves cool during hot days while providing some necessary shade for the basil. Meanwhile, the aromatic herb helps improve the flavor of the juicy tomatoes and attracts pollinators like bees!
Besides these delicious benefits, one of the best things about this combo is that it helps repel insects naturally. Flies and mosquitoes hate the smell of basil, so it’s great for keeping away those pesky bugs.
Cucumbers, Beets, and Bush Beans
Cucumbers, beets, and bush beans are perfect for growing together in pots. With similar needs for sun and water, these vegetables thrive side-by-side in the same container. All three veggies benefit from evenly moist soil and plenty of sunshine. More than six hours daily is recommended to get the most out of your crop.
Planting them all together allows each veggie to use enough space and resources without overcrowding or competition.
Once they start producing fruit, harvest regularly so that new fruits have plenty of space to thrive.
Think Outside the (Planter) Box
Growing vegetables in containers is a great way to introduce fresh produce into your life. It also upgrades your outdoor space and saves money. All you have to do is choose the vegetables, flowers, and herbs you want to plant together and watch as they enrich the soil organically.
Now that you know how easy and accessible companion planting in containers is, all you have to do is act! Share this post with your friends and family and challenge them to try their own container garden setup. Remember — leave a comment below if you try companion planting in containers!