Squash is a delicious and easy to grow vegetable that is fairly popular in several countries. There are many, many different kinds and each has its own hardiness, flavor, and look. Companion planting is a great way to keep your garden healthy and avoid many pests and diseases that can kill the plants. There are many different ways to companion plant, planting them close to each other, using one as mulch for another, etc. There are also many benefits to it as well besides just preventing bugs and diseases, some planting can help boost flavor of each other and some can help others grow better by adding nutrients. Here are some ideas to help decide what plants you would like to plant with your squash to help them grow better and healthier.
There are two main types of squash, summer and winter. While many people think this is the time of the year to grow them, it is in fact not. The names summer and winter were originally used to describe how long they could be stored. For instance, winter squash can be stored all the way through winter while summer squash tends to only last through summer, fall and sometimes part of the winter. Summer quash varieties have a more tender skin and higher moisture content, hence why they do not keep long. Some of them are Crookneck, Zucchini (yellow and green) and Pattypan squash. Some of the winter are Spaghetti, Acorn, Hubbard, Banana, Butternut, and Gold Nugget squash.
The Native Americans had a practice of planting either squash or cucumbers with corn and either peas or beans in a circle. With the corn planted first in the middle, it gave support to the peas or beans that were planted around them while the squash or cucumbers planted on the outside gave a shade that prevented most weeds from growing and deterred many pests. These ‘sister’ plants all complimented each other and grew better when planted close to the other two.
Borage is an herb that can be used for medicinal purposes or to flavor food. The leaves taste like cucumbers and is generally used on salads as garnish. It is also high in vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. The flower is also edible and one of the few true-blue foods. Growing it around squash or close by deters cabbage worms and squash beetles. Bees love Borage and so do wasps. A good thing about Borage is that it will self-seed every spring so you will not need to replant it.
As many gardeners know, mint is a great herb to plant around almost all other plants. Squash is no exception. Its strong smell deters most of the bad insects and attracts the good ones. It is an invasive plant, meaning it has a tendency to take over many plants. If you don’t want to plant it, you can still chop up the leaves and use similar to mulch around the plants.
There are several other plants that can be used as companion plants for squash; radishes, cucumbers, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and cabbage. Each other these will either benefit from growing near squash or benefit the squash. Two plants that should never be planted near or close to any variety of squash are potatoes and tomatoes.
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