Remember having assigned seats in elementary school? You'd hope the teacher would put your BFF or even your crush next to you even though either would be a distraction from your work. Well, companion planting works the same way. What are some of the best companion plants for cucumbers?
Following a companion planting guide is basically a seating chart for your garden. By using companion planting, gardeners set themselves up for success. Gardeners will have a natural weapon against harmful insect pests like nematodes, carrot flies, and bean beetles. They sound terrifying!
Use plants that are native to your area so the insects you want to attract already know what to look for! Plants with open cup shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects like ladybugs. Borage, with its pretty blue flowers, is a great example to bring pollinators to your garden. Read on for some ideas.
Some of The Best Companion Plants For Cukes
Put your corn stalks to work as a natural trellis for lighter weight cucumber vines to wind up and around.
Dill attracts beneficial insects like pollinators and ladybugs who love to eat destructive aphids helping to keep many garden pests away. One popular gardening tip says it's not a good idea to plant very aromatic herbs near cucumbers so the crop doesn't pick up unwanted flavors. But dill is the exception. Dill and cucumbers go together like Laverne and Shirley.
Legumes like sugar snap peas, pole beans, and green beans, make a great cucumber companion because legumes can actually fix the nitrogen levels in the soil. Pretty cool!
Marigolds (aka calendula) aren't just a pretty flower. They repel aphids--an arch enemy of cucumber leaves.
Nasturtium flowers act as a natural pest control decoy to destructive aphids. Plant nasturtiums a few feet away from your vegetable garden bed to lure those bugs away from your future salad.
6. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, radishes, and turnips are good cucumber companions since roots veggies need more underground space and cucumber vines are all about sprawling room. Gardening tip: Radishes also may deter cucumber beetles and squash bugs--some of the worst enemies of a cucumber or zucchini patch.
Who Does Not Make a Good Cucumber Companion?
Avoid too many plants in the Brassica family. No, not the neighbors two house down. I'm talking about the cruciferous vegetable and cabbage family including brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi have a stressful relationship with cucumbers. Brassicas love their water and you don't want a battle underground.
Avoid planting any melons alongside your cucumber plants. Since they're both meandering vines, they could really attract squash bugs and cucumber beetles in unmanageable amounts.
Potato soup may be a good companion on a cold night but potatoes are not a good companion when growing cucumbers. Like the brassicas, potatoes use up a lot of water, so if you plant them next to your cukes, its going to be a veggie fight for nutrients. Potatoes do play nice with tomato plants in the garden beds so go ahead and put them together.
Come closer...I've got some sage advice for you. No, really. I'm talking about the herb sage. Apart from dill, many aromatic herbs interfere with cucumber plants in the garden--and sage is perhaps the worst offender. Since cucumbers have such a delicate flavor (they're 95 percent water, after all), overly powerful aromatic herbs like cilantro, sage, marjoram, mint, and hyssop, when planted too near cucumbers, may affect the flavor profile of your cucumbers.
Fennel is a vegetable that looks like an onion but is actually in the carrot family. Fennel is best as a loner in the gardening world. Plant it totally alone or in a container gardening where it won't negatively affect everything else it's near.