This garden is coordinated by the Churchill Park Community Garden Collective a group of gardeners and community volunteers. We look forward to the upcoming season and hope that you will join our garden community. Please feel free to explore this website for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact us at garden@opirg.ca.

May 30, 2012

Companion Planting

Last week as I researched methods of keeping pests out of our plots, I found many references to companion planting and, being fairly new to term, I decided to dedicate this blog post to finding out more about it.

Companion planting, according to one site is one part folklore and two parts science, a description that, as I’ve learned more about it, seems more and more accurate. Gardeners who follow this style of gardening organize their plots such that plants that complement one another are near one another and those that are detrimental are further apart. Reasons  that a plant may be good for another is to help by warding off detrimental insects or attracting beneficial ones (as we saw many examples of last week), absorbing different nutrients in the soil and improving plant yield and flavor or allowing gardeners to maximize space. Plants may be harmful to one another if they negatively affect taste or yield through cross pollination and using the same soil nutrients or impede each other’s growth by using too much space.

When companion planting there a few things you should remember. One is not planting produce that can cross-pollinate, such as different types of peppers, near one another. Also, remember to use space effectively by noting when produce can be harvested and how much space it needs when planning your garden’s layout. For example, lettuce and tomatoes can be planted very near one another as the lettuce will be fully grown before the tomatoes are too large (depending of course when you plant them). Similarly, you should also remember how much different plants will grow and ensure that the larger ones will not overtake or shade the smaller plants. Talking to past gardeners about what types of pests have been present in the past or what plants are well-suited to the soil here can also be very valuable. Finally consider viewing a companion planting chart which will have great tips for the best garden layout, such as this one provided by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants.

I hope this serves as a good intro to companion planting and helps you plan your garden either this year or in years to come. As always, please feel free to comment me or e-mail me if you have more comments or suggestions.

My name's Laura Crump and I'm a third year student in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. I've been gardening my whole life but this is my first year at Churchill Park Community Garden. I'm really looking forward to working here this summer, 2012.


  1. If you are looking to maximize the available room you have in your yard or on your property, while at the same time promoting healthier plants through better soil and other means,companion planting is the way to go. Companion planting is a great way to combine various plants in a single location all of which work in conjunction with one another as opposed to competing with each other for the same nutrients.