What Is Companion Planting?
Photo credit: Remei AG
Companion planting also known as trap crops in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for any of a number of different reasons, including pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase crop productivity. Companion planting is a form of polyculture.
Is used by farmers and gardeners in both industrialized and developing countries for many reasons. Many of the modern principles of companion planting were present many centuries ago in forest gardens in Asia, and thousands of years ago in Mesoamerica.
More recently, starting in the 1920s, organic farming and horticulture have made frequent use of companion planting, since many other means of fertilizing, weed reduction and pest control are forbidden.
The list of companion plants used in such systems is large, and includes vegetables, fruit trees, kitchen herbs, garden flowers, and fodder crops. The number of interactions both positive (the pair of species assist each other) and negative (the plants are best not grown together) is also large, though the evidence for such interactions ranges from controlled experiments to hearsay. For example, plants in the cabbage family (Brassicaceae) grow well with celery, onion family plants (Allium), and aromatic herbs, but are best not grown with strawberry or tomato.
Further information: Trap crop
Trap cropping uses alternative plants to attract pests away from a main crop. For example, nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is a food plant of some caterpillars which feed primarily on members of the cabbage family (brassicas) some gardeners claim that planting them around brassicas protects the food crops from damage, as eggs of the pests are preferentially laid on the nasturtium.
Companion Plants for Growing Cotton
Cotton gets along well with many herbs including basil, cilantro, mint, dill, and sage. It makes a good pairing with onions and garlic which may help with repelling the boll weevil. It’s also a good companion for sunflower.
Avoid growing cotton with potato.
Some important trap crops commonly used in pest management include bhendi/okra in organic cotton to trap bollworms and marigold at the border of the field.