The exuberant vegetable, cucumber, requires so much space for itself to come out well. A healthy cucumber vegetable can be produced when it is not deprived of the essential nutrients and minerals. It must also receive sufficient sunlight without competition.
Cucumbers can be made into different forms to be eaten and enjoyed. They are used in salads or eaten alone as they provide the body with vitamins. They belong to the family of Cucurbita with other plants like pumpkins, watermelons, squash. It companions well with some of its members like zucchini while it is a bad companion to others like melons.
To get the best of cucumbers, provide them with a trellis. Cucumber vegetables are vine plants which means they crawl and can get tangled with their companions. Corn is one of the perfect plants to grow with cucumbers as they offer support as a trellis for it. Corn won’t deprive cucumber of nutrients which makes it a better companion.
It has a good taste that is why it is used in salads. Your vegetable plant can taste bitter if it is not fed with enough nutrients. It, therefore, needs to be planted with different types of plants which include herbs (but not aromatic herbs except dill), flowers, and vegetables to improve its taste and yield. The practice of growing different plants together to benefit each other is termed Companion Planting.
10 Best Cucumber Companion Plants
Cucumbers are nitrogen and water-loving plants. It needs well-drained and fertile soil to come out well. It also needs companion plants to come out with a great taste.
Corn and peas provide cucumbers with so much support and are termed the best companions. There are other plants to accompany cucumbers but the best plants will be listed here.
You need to know why legumes or cover crops make a good companion for your cucumbers. Legumes like peas and beans possess roots that release nitrogen into the soil. It has a relationship with rhizobium bacteria that converts the content in it to nitrogen. Otherwise, this nitrogen is available for any crops grown with it.
Cucumbers thrive in fertile soil and legumes will release nutrients into the soil.
Corn acts as a trellis for young cucumber plants. You can train your vegetable plants when they are young on a corn stalk. Corn is one of the best companion plants for vining plants. It also fixes a little bit of nitrogen in the soil. You can plant corn to maximize space in your garden.
When picking out cucumber varieties to plant, make sure it is the type that produces small fruits. Cucumbers in return act as mulch and conserve moisture.
Oregano is a flowering herb that uses its essential oil to deter pests. Planting it with cucumbers will also attract predators that will keep pests at bay.
Marigold releases a fragrance strong enough to keep pests like beetles at bay. Aphids that eat up the leaves of cucumbers are also kept away when you plant. Marigold is one of the flowers recommended for cucumbers.
After harvesting your cucumbers, these flowers can be eaten as they are edible and used for culinary purposes.
They also have therapeutic effects when used. Nasturtium is an example of a trap crop. It is planted in the garden to repel insects from cucumbers to itself. Aphids and other bugs will eat up your nasturtium instead of your cucumber plants. It can also serve as a trellis in your garden. They are a good companion for most plants.
All parts of the dill plant are important and can be processed into food. Planting dill with cucumbers will attract beneficial insects to it.
Your vegetable plants will also be pollinated when you plant Dill in your garden. Just like cucumbers will not go well with all members of its family except zucchini. It will not go well with all aromatic herbs except dill. Dill offers protection to cucumbers and enhances their taste.
Sunflowers act as a trellis for cucumbers. It possesses stalks like corn that vine plants like cucumbers climb on for support. It also maximizes space like corn. However, it is better to plant pickling or small cucumbers with sunflowers because heavily fruited cucumbers can weigh down the sunflower stalks.
They are also a source of pollinators for your cucumbers.
8. Root vegetables
Root vegetables grow underneath the soil while cucumbers possess a Taproot that goes straight down into the soil. This makes root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, onions, and radishes perfect companion plants for cucumbers as they won’t tangle with each other’s roots.
Radishes attract pollinators to your cucumber plant. Onions and chives will also play a role in repelling insects that plague your cucumber.
Borage invited pollinators to your cucumber vegetables. It is packed with nutrients and vitamins that will be beneficial to your cucumber plant. Common cucumber pests like cucumber hornworms will be repelled from your vegetables. It has similar growing requirements as your vegetable plants so they are good companion plants.
Cucumber is not an enemy of vegetable plants. One vegetable recommended for cucumber is lettuce. After harvest, lettuce can be used for salads. They also go well together in dishes and are ingredients for salads. Lettuce is also a good companion for carrots and strawberries.
What Not To Grow Near Cucumber
Cucumber has quite some enemies. Being a heavy feeder, cucumbers will not appreciate being planted with crops that take up many nutrients from the soil. What are the plants you should avoid planting with cucumbers?
Potatoes are not only found on cucumber’s list of bad companion plants but other garden plants. Both plants are not compatible in the garden.
They can cause harm to each other on the patch. Cucumber and potatoes feed heavily on soil nutrients. Planting them together is equivalent to opening the door for competition. Cucumber on the other hand doesn’t prevent fungal diseases from affecting potatoes.
Potato seems to be the only plant out of the nightshade family that doesn’t go well with other plants. With potatoes on the same patch as cucumbers, the harvest will be small and stunted.
Although sage is a good companion for many garden plants, it won’t do well with cucumber. Cucumber isn’t a fan of aromatic herbs.
Other aromatic herbs that don’t accompany cucumber include; basil, mint. Sage hinders cucumber’s growth and flavor. Aromatic herbs have their scent and flavor.
Growing them close to vegetable plants sometimes can affect their flavor. Do you want your cucumber to give you a sage-like taste? Then, avoid planting them closely.
Mint herb is invasive. Its root is rhizomatous. They spread vigorously and deny close plants space from spreading theirs well. Mint grows better in pots where it has all the space to itself. Cucumber is a vegetable that requires so many nutrients to grow.
Just like watermelons, it is mostly made up of water. Denying it the ability to uptake enough nutrients from the soil will result in a deficient fruit.
They are both water-loving plants but that doesn’t determine their compatibility in the garden. Basil enhances the flavor of other vegetable crops like tomatoes but will destroy that of cucumber. In short, keep aromatic herbs away from each other.
Not every crop in the same family is compatible. An example of crops never to plant together are brassicas and cucurbits. These plants are heavy feeders and will prevent other members of the family from feeding properly.
Never make the mistake of planting squash with cucumber. They are susceptible to the same pests. They could also get tangled together in the garden and get infected by similar diseases.
The number one rule for vine companion planting is never to plant Vine plants together. They need a trellis for support and could tangle together making it difficult to separate during harvest. In the process of separating two different tangled vine plants, you could harm their fruits or stems.
Melons will attract pests to destroy your cucumber plants because they belong to the same family, hence are susceptible to similar pests. Companion planting involves producing a successful harvest after protecting a plant from diseases and pests.
Fennel should not be found in the garden with most plants. Its presence in the garden can look harmless because it harbors beneficial insects that can benefit your plants until it starts to hinder their growth. Fennels could even kill your cucumbers in the process of cultivation.
Brassicas like kale, sprouts, cabbage, etc. act like decoys to cucumber. Growing brassicas with cucumbers is a controversial topic. Some gardeners consider them to be good companions but their proximity to cucumbers will only cause harm. They will compete with cucumbers for everything, depriving them which will result in bad fruit.
Cucumber Companion Planting Guide
Here are some companion planting tips for growing cucumbers in your garden.
I. Choosing a site
- Cucumbers prefer warmth to cold. Choose a site with much exposure to sun and warmth
- Cucumbers thrive in fertile soil. Fertilize the soil with manure or compost at least 2-8 inches deep
- Drain the soil of excessive water or moisture as cucumbers will struggle in wet soil
- Adjust the soil pH to 6-7 which is slightly acidic
- Using clay soil isn’t a problem as long as it has been properly fertilized. The same should be done to sandy soil.
II. Time to plant the cucumber
- Plant your cucumber seeds after the dangers of frost have passed.
- Cucumbers don’t fancy cool seasons, so ensure your soil temperature is 70°F
- Cultivation can be started indoors before being transplanted outdoors.
- Dip the seed into the soil about 1 inch and give them a row spacing of 2-3 feet apart. If supported with a trellis should be spaced 1 foot apart
- Prepare mounds for your cucumbers before planting and space them 1-2 feet apart placing at least 3 seeds.
IV. Cumber plant care
- Thin the plants on the mound when they have grown to be 4 inches tall
- To protect cucumbers seeds from pests, cover them with a netting basket
- Mounds prepared in a cool environment should be covered with plastic to give warmth to the soil
- Provide your cucumber plants with mulch to ward off pests
- Water your cucumber plants consistently as cucumbers contain 95% water and are water-loving plants. Failure to water it consistently will result in bitter cucumbers
- To attract pollinators and improve the flavor of your cucumbers, spray it with sugar water.
What can you not plant near cucumbers?
Cucumbers are friendly vegetables, but they don’t accommodate every plant. Some of the plants that will disrupt your cucumbers are; fennels, brassicas, aromatic herbs; like Basil, mint, sage, and potatoes. These plants affect cucumber’s flavor, growth and invite pests.
What is best to plant next to cucumbers?
Cucumbers are said to be nitrogen-loving plants. Its soil requires fertility and peas, beans are the plants that fit in this category. Grow your cucumbers next to beans and you won’t need to fertilize them often. Corn is also good for vines as they act as a trellis and support them.
Why should you not plant cucumbers near tomatoes?
Some gardeners advise against planting tomatoes close to cucumbers while some recommend tomatoes. An example of nightshade plants that won’t companion well with cucumber is potatoes. It carries blight diseases and dangerous pests which can affect cucumbers. Tomatoes on the other hand will enhance the flavor and taste of cucumbers.
Can you plant tomatoes and cucumbers together?
Yes, they can be planted together although potatoes which belong to the same family as Tomatoes are a bad companion plant for cucumbers.
Can cucumbers be planted next to Peppers?
Cucumbers and capsicum go well together in the garden along with Allium plants. Peppers will do a great job in repelling dangerous pests from your cucumber plant.
Can you plant cucumbers close together?
Cucumbers are water and nutrient-loving plants. Therefore they can compete for space in the garden. The best spacing to avoid competition between cucumbers is 2-3 feet apart. That way each cucumber plant will feed on nutrients without being deprived.
Can zucchini and cucumbers be planted together?
Although they can’t cross-pollinate when planted together and have different growing requirements, they are good companions. They belong to the family of Cucurbita.
Can you grow different varieties of cucumbers together?
Yes, different varieties of cucumbers can be grown together but must be given a large spacing to prevent competition for space, nutrients, and sunlight.
Can cucumbers and sunflowers be grown together?
Marigold is one flower that should be found in your garden. Apart from providing beauty to your garden. It attracts beneficial insects that can eat up pests and can also keep them at bay by releasing their scent. Pollinators will be drawn to your cucumbers when you plant them with marigold.
Can strawberries and cucumbers be grown close together?
Strawberries being close to your cucumbers will cause no harm rather it will improve the cucumber’s flavor. It doesn’t pose an attack on cucumbers by attracting pests.
Cucumber is a beneficial vegetable plant. To have a better yield and sweet fruit, grow it with plants that won’t compete with it.
A little competition for space can result in bitter fruit. Cucumbers are best planted with peas and corn because they offer nutrients and structural support respectively. You can also plant it with lettuce that goes well with it in dishes (salad) and the garden.
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