Companion planting in square foot gardening has a number of advantages. Not only does it save room, but it also saves energy (after the initial work of mixing the correct soil mixture).
Additionally, you get to grow more veggie varieties in a limited space, but the pairing of the right crops can eliminate weeds and pests. Essentially, you can go chemical-free. However, it’s important to provide adequate spacing and keep the heights of plants in mind so that yield is maximized.
How To Companion Plant within A Square Foot Garden
Square Foot Gardening is a gardening method that allows you to grow a lot more in a tiny space than you could normally cultivate. It’s a new way to cultivate that takes up 80% less area and requires 80% less effort.
You can make a 16-square-foot grid out of a 4-foot by 4-foot rectangle. Each square foot is handled as a separate patch, with a set number of plants per square foot being planted.
How Do You Start
The key is to think of each square as its own growth place, similar to a 12-inch by 12-inch pot. Keep in mind that each square next to it should be a respectable neighbor. Planting things that don’t get along, such as garlic or onions, with peas or beans is a bad idea.
Why Companion Planting is Essential in a Square Foot Garden
Even if you have a huge area to cultivate your plants in, a square-foot garden is still helpful. Plants indeed grow better together, some more than others, but when done correctly, the results will astound you.
A three-by-three-square foot garden will cover nine square feet and allow you to cultivate nine different plant species. To aid in the growth of your crops, you can attract helpful insects, pollinators, and predators.
How Many Plants Can you Plant in a Square Foot Garden?
The concept behind square foot gardening is understanding how much each plant takes up space. This means a tomato plant requires around 1 square foot of space. However, there is some buffer there.
Plants placed too close together may grow smaller than normal, and if planted too close together, they may not mature or have enough nutrients to share.
Square foot gardening isn’t an exact science, but it is a solid guideline for making the most of tiny spaces by negating the need for walking rows in gardens.
Plat Spacing Cheat Sheet
So, if a plant requires a square foot, a 12″x12″ is ideal, but a 10″x14″ can suffice because the occupied area is nearly the same. Carrots require around 3″ of space between them, so you may grow up to 16 in a square foot area!
You could use 12×12 for one tomato plant and the remaining 12×8 for roughly 8 carrots in your 12″x20″ planter, with a little extra room left over for a basil plant.
Determining the Right Spacing
- Step 1: Take a look at the back of your seed packet for the seed spacing number. (For this example, we’ll use a seed spacing of 3 inches.)
- Step 2: Divide your planting section’s width (about 12 inches) by the 3-inch seed spacing. 4 plants x 12 inches wide / 3-inch seed spacing.
- Step 3: Step two should be repeated for the length of your planting section. (It’s also around 12 inches.) 4 plants x 12 inches wide / 3-inch seed spacing.
- Step 4: Multiply both of your responses. 4 plants on each side X 4 plants on each side = 16 plants.
- Step 5: Get ready to plant. You may cultivate 16 plants in a 1 square foot area with 3-inch seed/plant spacing requirements.
- Step 6: Continue to plant. You now know how to space your plants for the rest of your garden.
Companion Planting Tips
It’s simple: within each square, particular veggies are planted in specific amounts (the number varies depending on the plant) at their appropriate distances from one another.
This maximizes each plant’s area and nutrient utilization while pushing out weeds as a living mulch, allowing you to grow more vegetables in less space. Even improving plant health through companion planting.
Do extensive research before planting your seeds (or transplanting your seedlings) onto your square foot garden to discover what you should plant together within each square.
2. Not all plants get along
Some plants fight for nutrition, while others attract dangerous pests that can harm their plant companions.
Some exceptional pairings, on the other hand, have the opposite effect: they bring out the best in each other, attract the correct insects or pollinators, and produce the ideal healthy balance.
3. No Monoculture
Plant a range of mutually beneficial plants in your square foot garden, as one kind planted close together will attract more pests and disease.
4. Keep Height in Mind
Plant taller vegetables on the north side of your bed to encourage shorter plants (like basil, bush beans, and celery) to get their portion of the sun’s rays.
If you’re combining tall plants with a mix of shade and heat-loving plants, though, put your tall ones in the middle. Plant shade-loving plants on the north side and heat-loving plants on the south.
5. Choose Veggie Protectors
Alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots) can be used to create a barrier around your growing area, as they repel insects and pests. Keep them far from beans.
6. Add a Touch of Color
Planting herbs and flowers that repel insects like egg-laying butterflies and nematodes, such as sage with brassicas or marigolds with nightshades, will benefit your square foot garden.
Plants Need Friends Too
Our plants, like us, have companions. Planting your vegetables with others that they enjoy or dislike will help you enhance harvests, reduce disease, and restrict pests.
It’s what we call a win-win situation when you can pair plants together and obtain those effects. Companion planting offers four advantages.
- Crop Protection: Allow hardy plants to withstand weather that more delicate plants cannot. Plant hardy kinds that can withstand the sun and wind and act as a natural defense against the elements.
- Limiting Risk: Things beyond your control (such as the weather) can wreak havoc on your productivity. Increasing your chances of greater yields can compensate for any losses and result in a net increase in output.
- Good Hosting: Growing all of the insects’ favorite foods is the best way to entice them into your garden. Beneficial insects can be kept around by plants that generate a surplus of nectar and pollen, which can assist manage detrimental pests.
- Trap Cropping: A good defense is the best offense. Plants that insects like to eat should be placed adjacent to plants that they can’t stand.
What Can You Plant Next to Each Other in a Square Foot Garden?
Another ideal partner is marigolds, which fight worms and other plant pests. Asparagus, carrots, celery, the onion family, lettuce, parsley, and spinach are all good tomato companions.
Foes: Cabbage, beets, peas, fennel, dill, and rosemary are among the vegetables included. Corn and tomatoes both have corn earworm, and tomatoes and potatoes both have blight, so keep these plants apart to avoid pests and disease from spreading.
Friends: Peppers benefit from basil because it repels aphids, spider mites, mosquitoes, and flies. Basil is also supposed to enhance the flavor of the pepper. Onions, spinach, and tomatoes are also nice partners.
Foes: Beans, because the vines will spread amongst the pepper plants.
3. Green Beans
Friends: Corn and beans grow nicely together because the beans will climb up the corn stalks, eliminating the need for a scaffold. Beans also help corn grow by fixing nitrogen in the soil. Marigolds, nasturtiums, and rosemary increase the rate of development and improve the flavor.
Foes: Anything from the onion family, such as beets. Bean plant growth, in particular, is inhibited by onions.
Friends: To keep aphids and beetles away from your cucumbers, plant marigolds, and nasturtiums among them. Companion plants include beans, celery, corn, lettuce, dill, peas, and radishes.
Foes: Aromatic plants, such as sage, will prevent cucumbers from growing well
Friends: Carrots should be planted near onions to keep the carrot fly at bay. Plant onions near aphid-prone (but onion-friendly) vegetables to keep the pests away. Beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, parsnips (which also endure carrot fly), tomatoes, and spices like marjoram, savory, and rosemary are all wonderful buddies of onions.
Foes: Asparagus, beans, and peas.
Friends: Plant mint among your lettuce to keep snails away from the leaves, or chives and garlic to keep aphids at bay. Companion plants include beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, radishes, and marigolds. Ladybugs that consume aphids are attracted to marigolds.
Foes: Because parsley grows into a little but bushy plant that can choke out your lettuce.
Friends: Corn and squash are ideal garden buddies because the cornstalks provide a place for squash vines to develop. Squash goes well with beans, peas, radishes, dill, and marigolds when grown together.
Foes: Potatoes, as both crops are susceptible to blight.
Friends: Carrots are heat tolerant, which is why they pair nicely with tomato plants that may give some shade. Tomatoes also contain solanine, a natural pesticide that is effective against pests that attack carrot plants.
Mutual Benefits: Carrots are also beneficial to tomatoes. Carrots help to aerate the soil around tomato roots, allowing more air and water to reach them. Carrots and leeks make wonderful companions because carrots repel carrot flies and leeks repel leek moths and onion flies. Carrot flies are also deterred by rosemary, sage, and chive.
Foes: Keep coriander and dill far from carrot plants since they both create substances that might harm them, and parsnips suffer from the same illnesses and pests as carrots, so keep them separated to avoid an infestation.
Read Best tomatoes to grow in pots
Friends: Cucumber pests will be drawn away from cucumbers if radishes are planted among them. They also thrive in the presence of carrots since they are picked before the carrots help soften the soil as the carrots grow. Radishes get along well with onions, beets, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, and squash.
Friends: Green beans, for example, are a favorite of corn because they fix nitrogen in the soil. Cornstalks can also be used to support vining or trailing plants such as beans, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, and melons. When planted alongside maize, zucchini grows well.
Foes: Corn earworms damage tomatoes and corn. Plant these two far apart to prevent pests from spreading.
What plants grow well together chart
|Crop||Ideal companion||Dislikes Growing With|
|Asparagus||Asters, Basil, Cilantro, Marigolds, Oregano, Parsley, Peppers, Sage, Thyme, Tomatoes||Onion, Garlic, Potatoes|
|Beans||Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Marigolds, Corn||Chives, Leeks, Garlic|
|Broad Beans||Broccoli, Lettuce, Carrot, Corn, Celery||Fennel, Onions|
|Basil||Asparagus, Oregano, Peppers, Tomatoes, Peppers||Sage|
|Beets||Bush beans, Broccoli, Corn, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Onion, Leeks, Lettuce, Mint, Sage, Cauliflower, Garlic||Pole beans|
|Broccoli||Celery, Dill, Rosemary, Hyssop||Oregano, Strawberries, Tomatoes|
|Cabbage||Beets, Potatoes, Onion, Sage, Celery, Chamomile||Strawberries, Tomatoes, Eggplant|
|Carrot||Beans, Lettuce, Peas, Tomatoes, Onions, Chives||Chives, Dill, Parsnip|
|Cauliflower||Beans, Celery, Oregano, Hyssop||Nasturtium, Peas, Tomatoes, Potato|
|Celery||Cabbages, Spinach, Tomatoes, Onion||Parsnip, Potatoes|
|Corn||Beans, Cucumber, Peas, Pumpkin, Potato, Sunflowers||Tomatoes|
|Cucumber||Pea, Lettuce, Celery||Cauliflower, Potatoes, Basil|
|Eggplant||Spinach, Peppers, Potatoes, Beans||Fennel|
|Lettuce||Carrots, Radish, Strawberries, Beets||Beans, Parsley|
|Onions||Broccoli, Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes||Beans, Peas|
|Peas||Beans, Carrots, Corn, Cucumber||Onion, Garlic|
|Peppers||Tomatoes, Parsley, Basil, Carrots||Fennel|
|Potatoes||Corn, Cabbage, Peas, Eggplant||Pumpkin, Sunflowers, Cucumber|
|Radish||Beets, Carrots, Peas, Spinach, Beans||Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts|
|Spinach||Brassicas, Eggplants, Leeks, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Strawberries||Parsnips, Potatoes|
|Swiss Chard||Beans, Brassicas, Celery, Cauliflower||Parsnips|
|Strawberries||Beans, Borage, Garlic, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Spinach, Thyme||Brassicas, Fennel, Kohlrabi|
|Tomatoes||Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Celery, Chives, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Marigolds, Mint, Onion, Parsley, Peppers,||Brassicas, Corn, Dill, Fennel, Potatoes|
How Do You Lay Out a Square Foot Garden?
When considering close spacing, it’s helpful to think about root systems that are compatible. Crops with comparable root development patterns are paired together in the following pairings.
When roots are planted close to each other, they will not compete and will make the most of the available underground area.
- Beans- carrots, celery, corn, cucumbers, onions, radishes, squashes
- Kohlrabi- beets
- Leeks- carrots
- Lettuce- carrots, onions, radishes
- Onions- cabbage, carrots, eggplant, peppers, radishes, spinach
- Parsnips- lettuce
- Peas- radishes, turnips
Combine plants that have different light requirements but grow nicely together. The veggies listed on the left enjoy full sun, whereas the vegetables listed on the right tolerate shadow.
- Bush beans- celery, lettuce, spinach
- Cole crops- celery, lettuce, spinach
- Trellised cucumbers- celery, lettuce
- Eggplant- celery
- Onions- carrots, lettuce
- Trellised peas- lettuce, spinach
- Staked tomatoes, lettuce
Set the Pace
Water on a regular basis harvests and appreciate your hard work. Once your seedlings have germinated, you’ll be shocked at how much food you can grow in such a little space and with so little effort.
And once you’ve picked everything you can eat, planting another succession is surprisingly easy, and you’ll be feasting on excellent vegetables in no time.
Try Again If You Fail
If some seedlings do not thrive, simply replace them with new seeds. In more packed squares (such as 8, 9, and 16-plant spacings), it’s best to wait for other successful veggies in the same plot to achieve maturity and harvest first. This way, your little new plant introductions aren’t overshadowed and crowded out.
Not only will you have a blooming, charming food garden with little effort compared to what it takes to maintain a full-sized one, but you’ll also save money on your food budget.
You may like the following vegetable garden articles:
- What You Need To Know About Square Foot Gardening Spacing
- Square-Foot Gardening Soil Mix [Best Tips & Tricks]
- How to use mushroom compost in vegetable garden
- Vegetable Garden: What You Shouldn’t Plant Next To Each Other
- Square Foot Gardening Strawberries
- How to use mushroom compost in vegetable garden
- Square Foot Gardening Broccoli
- Square Foot Gardening Spinach
- Vegetable Garden: What You Shouldn’t Plant Next To Each Other
Who doesn’t desire fresh, homegrown veggies from their own yard (and the fruits of their labors)? Nothing compares to vegetables that you have grown yourself. Companion planting in square foot gardening is the best way to achieve this.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.