Should you’re new to vegetable gardening or increasing an current backyard, you might wonder if cucumbers and spinach make good neighbors. Planting totally different crops collectively in the identical area is named companion planting, a apply that has been accomplished for practically so long as people have been rising their meals.
To find out whether or not two crops are good companions, we have to take a look at each crops’ wants and development habits. The target right here is to find out the next:
- If the 2 crops can profit and complement one another’s development.
- If they could any detrimental results on one another.
Let’s take a look at spinach and cucumbers as companions and resolve whether or not these two can share area within the backyard.
The Fast Reply
Planting spinach with cucumbers is helpful for the spinach. Cucumbers shelter the delicate greens from the scorching warmth, and the 2 gained’t compete for area due to their totally different development habits. These two greens make good companions, particularly if the cucumbers are trellised upward.
The Detailed Reply
Benefits of Companion Planting
I wish to briefly contact on this idea earlier than evaluating the 2 veggies. Companion planting isn’t a brand new thought however a apply that has taken place for ages. When it’s accomplished appropriately, it has a variety of benefits, similar to:
Two or extra crops with totally different however complementary development habits could be planted collectively to save lots of area within the backyard.
Some crops, similar to rosemary or garlic, deter bugs from the neighborhood. These might help maintain pests away from extra susceptible meals crops which can be naturally extra engaging to bugs.
Some crops are reputed to enhance the flavour of others by proximity within the backyard. Planting tomatoes with basil is alleged to enhance the flavour of the tomatoes, making this an ideal partnership within the backyard and on the plate. Whereas this has not been scientifically confirmed, many individuals swear this method works!
Sure crops, similar to legumes, are referred to as nitrogen-fixers. They draw nitrogen from the air round them and course of it by means of their roots, enriching the soil for his or her companions. As their root techniques decay within the soil after the highest of the plant is eliminated later, they launch that nitrogen again into the encircling soil, making it an ideal plant to develop simply forward of crop of greens or different nitrogen-hungry crops!
The Three Sisters
Some pairings solely assist one plant with a impartial impact on the opposite. Others present important advantages for all crops concerned.
For instance, indigenous tribes in the US practiced a type of companion planting referred to as the “three sisters.” these three crops work collectively in a means that allows all three to profit. The sisters are:
- Corn: Corn stalks assist the beans as they climb up, like a residing trellis.
- Beans: These nitrogen fixers take up nitrogen from the air, affix it in nodules on their root techniques for later crops, and supply a secondary harvest in the identical vertical area.
- Squash: The big leaves shelter the opposite crops’ roots from the scorching summer season solar, appearing as a residing mulch. Squash additionally has prickly stems, which can assist to discourage animals that might devour the ripe greens.
Disadvantages of Companion Planting
Not all crops work collectively in a symbiotic vogue, although. In a nasty companionship, there are a number of disadvantages that totally different crops may cause for one another.
Vegetation that compete for assets similar to daylight, soil vitamins, and water will lead to a smaller harvest from one or each crops. Brassicas and nightshades are good examples of this. They’re each heavy feeders and can compete for vitamins.
If two crops are particularly engaging to the identical pests, they might find yourself being a nuisance to one another by attracting pests that stick round and wipe out each crops.
Whereas some companionships could be defined and backed up scientifically, others are merely a historic product of trial and error. Claims of elevated yield or taste just by planting two varieties in shut proximity are sometimes anecdotal.
Armed with the essential basis of companion planting, let’s check out our chosen greens and see if we will come to a conclusion on planting these two as companions.
Spring and fall are planting instances for spinach seeds. This cool-weather crop doesn’t take lengthy to mature, and it might probably undergo within the warmth of summertime. In scorching climates, you might wish to check out Malabar spinach – whereas not a real spinach, it has a really comparable taste and is way more heat-tolerant. Should you want to stick to a real spinach selection, child spinach leaves could be harvested about 20-30 days after sowing.
Spinach roots don’t wish to be disturbed, so it’s best to direct sow them in your backyard beds. Sowing spinach seeds ought to happen a few month earlier than your anticipated final spring frost. Seeds must be direct-sown ½” deep, 1” aside, in rows 6” aside. Skinny out sprouted seedlings so crops are 6” aside.
Spinach is a heavy feeder of nitrogen, which suggests that it’s going to want common entry to nitrogen. Earlier than sowing, work about ½ cup of nitrogen-based fertilizer into a ten’ row. Then, fertilize each 2 weeks to maintain your crops strong.
Spinach crops want about 1” of water per week and nearer to 1½” because the climate heats up. The crops have lengthy faucet roots and an elaborate system of shallow roots. A lot of the feeder roots are near the floor of the soil, so spinach doesn’t must be watered deeply. It thrives higher if it will get the water it wants often.
This inexperienced appeals to pests, particularly aphids, which cling to the underside of the leaves and drain them of moisture. They’re additionally vulnerable to leaf miners. This leafy inexperienced can profit from deterrent companions like garlic, scallions, or onions.
Early Could is usually the very best time to plant cucumber seeds. Direct sowing can also be beneficial for these greens, however the soil has to heat to 60°F to ensure that seeds to germinate. Cucumbers are a warm-weather crop; they can not tolerate chilly temperatures. They will deal with fairly a bit of warmth and daylight.
Cucumber seeds could be planted 1” deep, with every plant spaced 18”-36” aside in all instructions. Cucumbers are vining crops that choose to climb. Cucumbers can be healthiest if they’re trellised. Whereas they’ll develop on the bottom, they’re extra vulnerable to pests and fungi.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders as effectively however want a balanced fertilizer. Nonetheless, excessive nitrogen ranges will gasoline numerous vine improvement and leafy development however not as a lot fruit improvement. Your cucumber crops will let you know in the event that they want vitamins by leaf colour. Yellow cucumber leaves point out a nitrogen deficiency, and bronze discoloration signifies an absence of potassium.
Cucumbers additionally want about 1” of water per week. That is another excuse why they make nice spinach companions! Watering a dual-planted mattress is easier as a result of each crops have comparable wants.
rule for these veggies is to maintain the soil evenly moist, so if the climate could be very scorching and dry, don’t hesitate to water them as wanted. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are higher than overhead sprinklers.
Cucumbers are additionally susceptible to bugs, however not as lots of the identical pests as spinach (though there may be one crossover). Cucumber beetles are probably the most prevalent. Aphids may also be a problem, particularly the melon aphid.
Our Conclusion: Cucumbers and Spinach Make A Nice Pair
Spinach and cucumbers stack up as companions. Each greens wish to be instantly sown, however spinach sometimes goes within the floor a month or two earlier. Nonetheless, this isn’t essentially an issue, as area could be left for cucumber crops that may proliferate within the warming climate. The cucumber crops will present shade for the spinach crops, that are much less tolerant of warmth.
Comparable Fertility Wants
Each greens are heavy feeders however feed on totally different parts of the identical fertilizer mix. Utilizing a balanced fertilizer will give each crops what they should survive.
The spinach will feast on nitrogen, whereas the cucumbers will solely want nitrogen for preliminary vine improvement after which will rely extra closely on phosphorus and potassium for fruiting, flowering, and robust root assist. Early within the season, you might want to use just a little additional nitrogen, however later within the season, constant purposes of a balanced fertilizer will give each crops what they want.
Complementary Development Habits
Cucumbers wish to climb, whereas spinach stays near the bottom. On this means, they share area effectively. If spinach was bothered by the cucumber’s shade, this may very well be a problem. Nonetheless, as the warmer months strategy, spinach will respect the respite. Some mild shade prevents spinach from bolting (going to seed) too quickly.
Comparable Irrigation Wants
Each greens want about the identical quantity of water, so they’re appropriate on this means as effectively. Preserve persistently moist soil and amend with compost to enhance the water-holding capability. Mulch can stop the soil from drying out and profit each crops.
Potential Pest Issues
The one problem with this pairing is that the crops might entice comparable pests. Because of this, it’s an ideal thought to intersperse some marigolds among the many cucumber and spinach crops. Marigolds deter many dangerous bugs and entice pollinators like wasps which prey on these dangerous bugs.
Companion planting generally is a blessing or a curse relying on which crops you select to plant collectively. Inspecting every plant’s wants and development habits ought to supply perception into whether or not or not the crops will thrive collectively or hurt one another.