When you’re new to vegetable gardening or increasing an present backyard, you could ponder whether cucumbers and spinach make good neighbors. Planting totally different crops collectively in the identical area is known as companion planting, a observe that has been carried out for practically so long as people have been rising their meals.
To find out whether or not two vegetation are good companions, we have to have a look at each vegetation’ wants and development habits. The target right here is to find out the next:
- If the 2 vegetation can profit and complement one another’s development.
- If they could any detrimental results on one another.
Let’s have a look at spinach and cucumbers as companions and determine whether or not these two can share area within the backyard.
The Fast Reply
Planting spinach with cucumbers is useful 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 need to briefly contact on this idea earlier than evaluating the 2 veggies. Companion planting shouldn’t be a brand new concept however a observe that has taken place for ages. When it’s carried out appropriately, it has a variety of benefits, similar to:
Two or extra crops with totally different however complementary development habits may be planted collectively to save lots of area within the backyard.
Some vegetation, similar to rosemary or garlic, deter bugs from the neighborhood. These may help maintain pests away from extra susceptible meals crops which are naturally extra enticing to bugs.
Some crops are reputed to enhance the flavour of others by proximity within the backyard. Planting tomatoes with basil is claimed to enhance the flavour of the tomatoes, making this an incredible partnership within the backyard and on the plate. Whereas this has not been scientifically confirmed, many individuals swear this technique works!
Sure vegetation, similar to legumes, are known as nitrogen-fixers. They draw nitrogen from the air round them and course of it by their roots, enriching the soil for his or her companions. As their root programs decay within the soil after the highest of the plant is eliminated later, they launch that nitrogen again into the encompassing soil, making it an incredible plant to develop simply forward of a great crop of greens or different nitrogen-hungry vegetation!
The Three Sisters
Some pairings solely help one plant with a impartial impact on the opposite. Others present vital advantages for all vegetation concerned.
For instance, indigenous tribes in the US practiced a type of companion planting known as the “three sisters.” these three vegetation work collectively in a means that allows all three to learn. The sisters are:
- Corn: Corn stalks help the beans as they climb up, like a dwelling trellis.
- Beans: These nitrogen fixers take up nitrogen from the air, affix it in nodules on their root programs 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 dwelling mulch. Squash additionally has prickly stems, which can assist to discourage animals that may devour the ripe greens.
Disadvantages of Companion Planting
Not all crops work collectively in a symbiotic style, although. In a foul companionship, there are a number of disadvantages that totally different crops may cause for one another.
Vegetation that compete for sources 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 vegetation are particularly enticing to the identical pests, they may find yourself being a nuisance to one another by attracting pests that stick round and wipe out each crops.
Whereas some companionships may 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 fundamental 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 undergo within the warmth of summertime. In scorching climates, you could need to check out Malabar spinach – whereas not a real spinach, it has a really comparable taste and is way more heat-tolerant. When you want to keep on with a real spinach selection, child spinach leaves may be harvested about 20-30 days after sowing.
Spinach roots don’t prefer to be disturbed, so it’s best to direct sow them in your backyard beds. Sowing spinach seeds ought to happen a couple of month earlier than your anticipated final spring frost. Seeds ought to be direct-sown ½” deep, 1” aside, in rows 6” aside. Skinny out sprouted seedlings so vegetation 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 vegetation sturdy.
Spinach vegetation want about 1” of water per week and nearer to 1½” because the climate heats up. The vegetation 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 have to be watered deeply. It thrives higher if it will get the water it wants usually.
This inexperienced appeals to pests, particularly aphids, which cling to the underside of the leaves and drain them of moisture. They’re additionally prone to leaf miners. This leafy inexperienced can profit from deterrent companions like garlic, scallions, or onions.
Early Might is often the most effective time to plant cucumber seeds. Direct sowing can be really useful 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’t tolerate chilly temperatures. They’ll deal with fairly a bit of warmth and daylight.
Cucumber seeds may be planted 1” deep, with every plant spaced 18”-36” aside in all instructions. Cucumbers are vining vegetation that want to climb. Cucumbers will likely be healthiest if they’re trellised. Whereas they will develop on the bottom, they’re extra prone to pests and fungi.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders as nicely however want a balanced fertilizer. Nevertheless, excessive nitrogen ranges will gas a lot of vine growth and leafy development however not as a lot fruit growth. Your cucumber vegetation 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 a scarcity of potassium.
Cucumbers additionally want about 1” of water per week. That is one more reason why they make nice spinach companions! Watering a dual-planted mattress is less complicated as a result of each crops have comparable wants.
rule for these veggies is to maintain the soil evenly moist, so if the climate may 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 most of the identical pests as spinach (though there may be one crossover). Cucumber beetles are probably the most prevalent. Aphids will 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 prefer to be immediately sown, however spinach sometimes goes within the floor a month or two earlier. Nevertheless, this isn’t essentially an issue, as area may be left for cucumber vegetation that may proliferate within the warming climate. The cucumber vegetation will present shade for the spinach vegetation, that are much less tolerant of warmth.
Related Fertility Wants
Each greens are heavy feeders however feed on totally different components of the identical fertilizer mix. Utilizing a balanced fertilizer will give each vegetation what they should survive.
The spinach will feast on nitrogen, whereas the cucumbers will solely want nitrogen for preliminary vine growth after which will rely extra closely on phosphorus and potassium for fruiting, flowering, and powerful root help. Early within the season, you could want to use a little bit additional nitrogen, however later within the season, constant functions of a balanced fertilizer will give each vegetation what they want.
Complementary Progress Habits
Cucumbers prefer to climb, whereas spinach stays near the bottom. On this means, they share area nicely. If spinach was bothered by the cucumber’s shade, this may very well be a problem. Nevertheless, as the warmer months method, spinach will admire the respite. Some mild shade prevents spinach from bolting (going to seed) too quickly.
Related Irrigation Wants
Each greens want about the identical quantity of water, so they’re suitable on this means as nicely. Preserve constantly 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. For that reason, it’s an incredible concept to intersperse some marigolds among the many cucumber and spinach vegetation. Marigolds deter many dangerous bugs and entice pollinators like wasps which prey on these dangerous bugs.
Companion planting is usually a blessing or a curse relying on which vegetation you select to plant collectively. Analyzing every plant’s wants and development habits ought to supply perception into whether or not or not the vegetation will thrive collectively or hurt one another.