What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the practice of grouping plants together to help provide needed nutrients for each plant, pest protection, or to maximize space. While it might take you a little longer to plant your garden, researching companion plants increases the health and overall yield of your vegetables.
For example, corn plants are considered heavy feeders, which means you need to provide additional nitrogen in the soil. Beans produce nitrogen, so planting the two vegetables close together benefits both of them.
Companion Plants for Corn
Beans are not the only vegetable that goes well with corn. Some of the other well-known corn companion plants include:
- Watermelon or different types of melon
While not all of these plants provide specific nutrients for corn [ink u=young-corn-plants]plants[/link], there are other benefits to planting them next to corn. An example is how melons provide shade to keep the roots of the corn plants moist and also serve as a natural weed suppressant.
Three Sisters Planting
One of the most popular methods of corn companion planting is called the Three Sisters. In this grouping, you plant the corn first. Once the seedlings are about four inches tall, you can plant pole beans. Last, approximately a week after planting the bean seeds, you plant a winter squash variety. As the growing season progresses, the corn stalks provide a pole for your beans to climb, and the winter squash leaves shade the roots of both corn and beans.
Tip: The Three Sisters method is best for winter squash and beans
you will dry out for winter storage.
How to Find Out What Plants are Good Companions
If you have been a gardener for any length of time, you likely know which vegetables to grow close to corn. If you are new to gardening and are not familiar with the properties of different plants, you should research corn companion plants before planting.
There are ample resources about companion planting on the Internet, and you can also call your local Extension office. Or, you can talk with a seasoned gardener and get all the information you need, as well as make a new friend!