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What is a Good Companion Plant For Asparagus

What is a Good Companion Plant For Asparagus

Asparagus is a popular spring vegetable that can be grown in home gardens. While asparagus is not too difficult to grow on its own, companion planting can help maximize its growth and yields.

Companion planting involves strategically planting different crops to benefit each other through symbiotic relationships.

The right companion plants can help asparagus by deterring pests, improving pollination, enhancing soil nutrition, and more. This guide will cover the basics of companion planting and outline the best and worst companion plants for asparagus.

An Introduction to Companion Planting

Companion planting is the practice of planting two or more plant species together to help each other thrive. It is based on the idea that certain plants can form mutually beneficial relationships when grown side by side.

Some key benefits of companion planting include:

  • Pest control: Some plants naturally repel or deter certain insect pests, reducing damage to other plants.
  • Enhancing pollination: Plants that attract pollinators can help improve fruit set and yields for other crops.
  • Soil enrichment: Some plants help fix nitrogen or accumulate minerals from the soil that other plants can use.
  • Weed suppression: Low-growing ground cover plants can crowd out weeds and reduce labor.
  • Efficient use of space: Vining plants can grow vertically and leave room below for low-growing plants.
  • Improving growth: Some plants regulate soil pH or moisture in ways that benefit their companions.

The basic idea is to mimic natural ecosystems through cooperative growing of mutually beneficial plant companions. This practice of intercropping can lead to healthier, more productive gardens.

Good Companion Plants for Asparagus

Regarding asparagus, there are many great options for companion plants. Here are some of the best:

Tomatoes

Tomatoes make an excellent asparagus companion. Asparagus benefits tomato plants by improving drainage and aeration in the soil. Tomatoes provide shade for asparagus roots and repel certain asparagus beetles. Plus, both crops thrive in the same soil conditions.

Peppers

Peppers are another ideal choice for an asparagus planting partner. Peppers contain compounds that deter asparagus beetles and other pests. They also help accumulate minerals that benefit asparagus. Plant peppers after the last spring frost when soil temperatures warm.

Basil

Sweet basil is a perfect herb companion for asparagus. Its strong scent confuses pests and masks the smell of asparagus, protecting it from infestations. Basil also provides ground cover to suppress weeds. Plant it around the asparagus crowns.

Parsley

Parsley is a versatile companion plant for asparagus that offers multiple benefits. Its smell disguises asparagus from pests while attracting predatory insects that eat asparagus beetles. Parsley’s shallow roots don’t compete for nutrients.

Marigolds

Bright marigolds make excellent asparagus companions. They repel nematodes, beetles, and other harmful asparagus pests. Marigolds also accumulate copper, deter fungi, and suppress weeds as a living mulch around asparagus.

Lettuce & Spinach

Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach thrive when planted near asparagus. Asparagus provides the shade these crops need, while the greens deter weeds and pests. Their shallow roots don’t compete for nutrients.

Beets & Carrots

Root crops like beets and carrots are great for intercropping with asparagus. Their shade-tolerant leaves benefit from the asparagus canopy, while their roots improve soil structure and nutrition.

Onions & Garlic

Onions and garlic can help mask the distinct scent of asparagus, offering pest protection. Their antimicrobial compounds also suppress fungal diseases. Plus, they don’t compete for nutrients.

Nasturtiums & Petunias

Edible nasturtiums and ornamental petunias are pretty choices for asparagus companions. They repel aphids, beetles, and other pests through their pungent odor. Their trailing vines also suppress weeds.

Bad Companion Plants for Asparagus

While asparagus enjoys the company of many plants, there are a few crops that should be avoided:

Potatoes

Potatoes and asparagus are a bad pairing. Both require high levels of potassium, so they end up competing for soil nutrients. Planting them together results in reduced yields for each crop.

Onions & Garlic

Although onions and garlic can repel asparagus pests, their close onion family ties mean they compete for nutrients and space. Keep them separate for best results.

Corn

Tall corn blocks sunlight from reaching asparagus plants. Corn is also a heavy feeder that competes for nitrogen and water. Separate corn and asparagus beds for optimal growth.

Cabbage Family Crops

Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and other brassicas are not ideal neighbors for asparagus. They occupy a lot of space and can stunt asparagus growth.

Legumes

Beans, peas, soybeans, and other legumes are not great asparagus companions. As nitrogen fixers, they can over-enrich the soil in ways that encourage asparagus fern growth at the expense of spear production.

By avoiding these bad companion plants and sticking with beneficial companions, you can help your asparagus plants thrive!

How to Companion Plant with Asparagus

Here are some tips for successful companion planting with asparagus:

  • Prepare an asparagus bed in a sunny spot with well-drained, compost-amended soil. Dig a trench 6-8 inches deep.
  • Purchase 1-2 year old asparagus crowns and plant them 18-24 inches apart in the trench, spreading the roots out. Cover with 2-3 inches of soil.
  • Select companion plants that will enhance asparagus growth. Favor pest-repelling flowers and leafy greens over heavy feeders.
  • Plant companions 18-24 inches away from asparagus crowns to prevent crowding. You can scatter smaller plants around crowns.
  • Use trellises, cages, or towers to grow vining companion plants vertically to save space.
  • Interplant quick-growing companion crops between asparagus rows to use all available space efficiently.
  • Mulch around asparagus and its companions to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Water and feed companions without over-fertilizing the asparagus. Excess nitrogen reduces spear size.
  • Harvest companion crops promptly to avoid shading asparagus. Cut asparagus spears no more than 2 months the first year.

With the right companion planting choices, your asparagus will thrive! The plants detailed here are proven to maximize asparagus health, improve growing conditions, and protect it from pests when planted nearby. Try combining several beneficial companions like tomatoes, marigolds, and basil to exploit their many symbiotic effects. Avoid bad companions like potatoes and corn that compete for nutrients. Use these companion planting techniques to help your asparagus grow stronger and more productive.

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