Companion Planting Tips For Squashes and Pumpkins

Squashes and pumpkins do like heat but choose the right varieties and they can be grown in sunny and sheltered spots or under cover. The best squash and pumpkins to grow will depend on where you live and the conditions there. This month, those of us who have been growing plants of this family on our windowsills will be planting them in their final growing positions outside or in a greenhouse or polytunnel. When planting out members of this family, it is a good idea to consider what other plants you will choose to plant nearby. Here are a few companion planting tips for squash and pumpkins to help you give yours the best possible chance:

Three Sisters Technique

Three Sister's Technique

Some companion planting theories are merely anecdotal and far from scientific but others have been discovered and have been honed over the centuries, proving themselves year after year. One of the most famous examples of companion planting is the 'three sisters technique'. This refers to a practice of native American peoples, who planted three crops: winter squash, maize/corn and climbing beans together. This combination works well because the maize shaded the squash and gave support for the beans; the squash provided valuable ground water and helped retain moisture and the beans fixed nitrogen from the air and helped ensure soil health for coming seasons. Growing this combination can work well in our gardens too.

Radish and squash

Trap Crops

Certain other plants will be useful when planted alongside squash and pumpkins because they will become infested with pests, keeping those pests away from the more valuable crops. Plant radishes close to squash and pumpkins, for example, to trap flea beetles.

Squash and nasturtiums

Pest Repellents

Still other plants are beneficial companions for squash and pumpkins because they repel a common pest. Amongst all the pest repellent plants that are effective against enemies of cucurbits, marigolds and nasturtiums are often considered to be the best companions to choose. Marigolds are a general pest repellent that should be used throughout any edible garden. Nasturtiums are particularly effective against squash beetles.

Companion planting is often a lot about trial and error. Why don't you see which plants work best together in your garden?