Planter boxes are the ideal vessel for starting your very own mini garden capable of producing herbs, small vegetables, fruit, and other plants. There is no better feeling than harvesting your own produce and showing your dinner guests some farm-to-table action!Especially in urban areas, space can be an issue, however. That is why understanding the basics of companion planting will help you to understand your limitations, choose the right pot or planter and maximize your yield.
So, what is companion planting, anyway?
Companion planting is the art of placing two or more types of produce together to increase their chances of a beautiful space or a bumper crop. You also get the added bonus of creating a vibrant ecosystem that might be lovely to look at or delicious and nutritious for you and your family.
If you have heard the saying ‘carrots love tomatoes,’ you will understand what we mean!
If not, here are a few reasons you might like to start filling those planter boxes with multiple varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruit, and non-edible plants!
Companion Planting can ward off pests
Careful co-selection of produce in your planter boxes and potted plants will repel pests via their scent, and different colors have the capacity to cause predators to identify them inaccurately. Although you may still get the odd persistent insect, your chance of warding off an entire infestation is dramatically increased. One example we can think of is basil. Aphids love basil! By pairing basil with chives (an arch nemesis of aphids), you can rest easy knowing both herbs will grow freely without insect interference.
Companion planting can have its pitfalls, too!
Suppose you accidentally decide to plant groups of plants that are vulnerable to the same type of insect. In that case, you are enhancing the chances of your beautiful planter becoming a scrumptious home for pests. It pays to research which plants work well together and which do not.
Create an ecosystem ripe for pollination
Of course, not all insects are destructive. Many of your chosen varieties will require pollination, and plants with powerful fragrances and bright colors have the capacity to entice beneficial pollinating insects to your pots and planters. If you have a rockstar plant that gets all the attention, companion planting works wonders for the rest of the band too!
Some plants want all the sun, others…not so much
A diverse selection of plants make for a healthy and beautiful garden. Shade-loving plants go well with high-in-stature varieties that enjoy basking in the sun's rays. In larger pots or planters, we recommend using a tall plant with large leaves that acts as a cover for smaller ones that prefer to be closer to the soil.
Make sure you understand the sunlight requirements for each plant before you put them together, though! It would be a shame to go to all that effort only to find your one of your companion plants is struggling to thrive.
Consider the nutrient requirements of each plant!
Different plants have different nutrient requirements. When arranging your varieties in your pot, It is essential to match plants with a similar need for water and fertilizer. Water-hungry plants like cucumbers will never work with herbs like rosemary, which prefer more arid conditions.
Another no-no we often see is coriander and arugula. Both herbs are nitrogen-loving fiends! Despite all other signs pointing to compatibility for these bedfellows, the opposite is true. Researching the properties of each plant will save you a lot of time in the long run.
We have a wide variety of pots and planters which provide excellent drainage and are large enough to house multiple plants. As overwatering is a frequent problem in container gardening, you should find the vessel that prevents waterlogged soil from taking up needed oxygen and required nutrients your roots need to thrive.
But what types of pots and planters should I use?
As a general rule, companion planting is best served in larger containers. Our durable, weather-tested fiberglass planters come in all shapes and sizes, but we specialize in the larger variety.
Gardeners should research the maximum mature size of each plant and plan the space accordingly. This is especially important when growing vegetables, as the depth of each pot is as crucial as the total volume. Even some herbs, like mint, stretch their roots and take up tons of space in the box.
Remember, just because the plants are compatible doesn’t mean you should stuff as many varieties into the same area. It will almost certainly result in a lower yield, or possibly no yield at all!
Don't skimp on the soil!
Everything starts at ground level, so we encourage our customers to invest in good-quality potting soil, not ordinary garden soil, which does not drain well when used in a pot or planter. Herbs, fruit, vegetables, and other plants, whether they are indoor or outdoor, will thrive in nutrient-rich potting soil.
Pots, Planters, and More have you covered!
We have over twenty years of manufacturing and designing the perfect pots and planters for commercial, home, and office needs. We understand which products will work best when deciding how you would like to start your companion planting journey and are happy to point you in the right direction.
Based in Skokie, Illinois, we are proud to service the entire country. We are more than happy to cater to any bespoke design you have in mind and guarantee a three-year warranty on our professionally manufactured products.
Be sure to get in touch with us to discuss your requirements or if you need advice for your next companion planting project!