TO DETER PESTS OR PROVIDE OTHER BENEFITS
Learning the best zucchini companion plants, as well as companions for other crops, is an important part of planning your vegetable garden ideas as it helps negate the need for pesticides, an important element in creating a sustainable garden.
Zucchini companion plants fall under two main categories: those that help to protect against pests, and those that help improve the general conditions for the plants to thrive.
The main pests of zucchini are:
- Cucumber beetle
- Squash vine borers
- Spider mites
- Leaf miners
There are several different types of zucchini companion plants that can help protect against these pests. These include trap plants that are more appealing to pests than the zucchini crops, drawing them away; others that will attract in beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybird and lacewings that predate zucchini pests; and companion plants for zucchini that deter pests from zucchini with strong smells or visual confusion.
There are then zucchini companion plants that improve their general growing conditions. These include plants that do not compete for space or nutrients; those that house nitrogen fixing bacteria within their roots and can help to increase nitrogen levels in the soil; and ground cover plants that cover the soil and reduce water loss.
HERB ZUCCHINI COMPANION PLANTS
If you are including herb garden ideas in your vegetable garden plans, then add in some of these herbs as useful zucchini companion plants.
DILL will repel squash beetle and flea beetles and is a great companion plant for lots of crops, including zucchini. It is worth knowing how to grow dill to enjoy as a herb, in itself, and its tasty leaves and seeds are also really good at attracting beneficial insects, such as hoverflies and lacewing that will predate your pests.
‘LAVENDER is a great zucchini companion plants as bees pollinate the lavender plant, making their way over to pollinate your zucchini plants as well. As a result, the bees will distribute more zucchini pollen throughout your garden, hopefully yielding more zucchini at the time of harvest,’ says Mary Jane Duford from Home for the Harvest.
Lavender is also among the strongly smelling herbs and is known to deter some pests, such as aphids and whitefly.
CHIVES is another strong-smelling herb that will deter aphids with its odour. It’s a delicious and easy to grow herb that will not compete with your zucchini for space and will also attract pollinators when its flowering.
OREGANO, marjoram, sage, and rosemary are all aromatic herbs that pair well with zucchini. They will not compete for water or nutrients, and they will attract pollinators. Their scents also deter aphids, whitefly and even squash beetle.
FLOWERS AS ZUCCHINI COMPANION PLANTS
It’s a great idea to have flowers in your vegetable garden, whether or not they are meant as companion plants for zucchini. Attracting and supporting pollinators is a great way to ensure good crops of fruits and vegetables.
If zucchini are not pollinated you will see the end of the small, developing fruit start to rot. It’s tempting to assume that this is due to pests, disease or lack of nutrients, but more often than not it is a pollination issue. This can be avoided by simply planting more flowers.
NASTURTIUMS are a wonderful trap plant that are tasty to aphids and squash beetles, thus drawing them away from your zucchini. They are also great at pulling pollinators into the garden with their gaudy orange, yellow and red flowers. Growing nasturtiums couldn’t be easier, and the flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible, and great to use in a salad, or make into a pesto with a beautiful peppery taste.
BORAGE is a brilliant plant for any garden. With beautiful – and edible – blue, pink and white flowers, and large edible stems, they are very attractive to pollinators and insects that will prey on aphids, whitefly and thrips. They are easy to grow and will readily self-seed if allowed.
SWEET ALYSSUM is particularly attractive to hoverflies and parasitic insects that will help to control your pest populations. With its dainty flowers, it also provides good ground cover and will not compete with your zucchini for space.
Article by Becky Searle
Source: Zucchini companion plants: the best plants to grow with them | Homes & Gardens | (homesandgardens.com)