by Jennifer Poindexter
Spinach is a wonderful crop to add to your garden. Not only is it cold-hardy, but it’s also one of the few super foods in the world.
If you’re considering growing this plant, be sure you understand its companions in the garden. There are some vegetables that seem to benefit each other when grown together.
Then there are other plants which seem to harm each other when grown in close proximity. If you’re unsure of which plants thrive near spinach, you’ve come to the right source.
I’m going to walk you through each friend and foe of spinach. Here are its companion plants:
Benefits of Companion Planting with Spinach
Companion planting is a great way to improve your growing experience when gardening. These are a few general reasons why people choose the companion planting method:
- Companion planting can attract pollinators to a growing space and also protect plants from insects which could harm them and your harvest.
- Growing certain crops together can improve the quality of your soil and maximize your growing space.
- Some plants serve a sacrificial purpose. This means that you plant something with the intention of bugs destroying it to save your harvest from another plant.
These are a few general benefits of companion planting. If you’re interested in using this technique in your growing space, let’s discuss which plants are companions to spinach.
Companion Plants for Spinach
All companion plants don’t exist to help both partners thrive. In some cases, one plant sacrifices itself for the other.
This is the case when growing nasturtium. These flowers sacrifice themselves to attract pests which typically harm spinach. They’re especially great for keeping aphids away from your spinach crop.
The brassica family consists of many favorite vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. These plants are a great option for companion planting with spinach.
Though they like many of the same nutrients, they won’t compete. Brassica crops have roots which grow at a different depth than spinach roots. Therefore, they’re able to draw nutrients from different levels in the soil.
You might think that growing cucumbers near your spinach is a bad idea because cucumbers produce a vine.
In fact, cucumber crops are great for encouraging spinach plants to grow healthier and faster. Plus, they don’t compete with spinach for nutrients.
4. Nightshade Vegetables
When growing these plants together, the nightshade vegetables are a source of shade to spinach. However, they also benefit from being succession planted with spinach as well.
Radishes not only grow quickly to provide a harvest, but they also are a wonderful trap for leaf miners. These pests can wreak havoc on your spinach harvest.
However, if they’re attracted to the tops of the radishes first, then you won’t lose either crop. The radishes will be ready to harvest before the leaf miners can work through their foliage.
Cauliflower is a difficult crop to grow as it requires stable temperatures to prosper. If you’re up for the challenge, consider growing it near spinach.
These companion plants help boost each other’s harvests since they don’t compete for nutrients. Their root systems grow at different depths and are able to draw nutrients from different levels.
Dill is a tricky companion plant for spinach. You must plant spinach first and wait until it’s approximately 30% through the growth cycle. At this time, plant dill. Young dill will help spinach to thrive.
However, you must have the spinach harvested prior to dill reaching maturity. Once dill reaches maturity, it will stunt your spinach crop.
Cilantro is an excellent crop to grow in your spinach bed. The reason being is it prevents diseases and attracts beneficial insects.
However, the roots of each plant grow at a different depth. Therefore, they won’t compete against each other for nutrients.
Peas can be interplanted with your spinach crop. This not only saves time, but it also saves room in your growing area.
Plus, peas are nitrogen-fixers. The pea crop will pull nitrogen directly from the air which means it won’t compete with the spinach which will pull nitrogen from the soil.
If you’re considering growing onions, shallots, leeks, chives, or garlic, you’re in luck. Each of these crops belong to the allium family and are an excellent companion to spinach. These crops are known for keeping aphids, spider mites, and beetles out of your garden.
The leek is great for keeping carrot rust flies away. Garlic also infuses sulfur into the soil which is great for deterring fungus. If you’d like to keep your garden protected, consider growing alliums alongside your spinach crop.
Spinach loves nitrogen. Therefore, it’s wise to add plants around it that are known for producing nitrogen or are nitrogen-fixers.
This is why beans make an excellent companion to spinach. They provide shade and nitrogen for your spinach crop.
Carrots are another great choice to plant alongside spinach. These plants work together for a variety of reasons.
The first reason is they both enjoy the same growing conditions and climate. The other reason is carrots grow at a much deeper level than spinach does. Therefore, they won’t compete for nutrients.
Zucchini is a great plant to grow. It only takes a few plants to provide an abundant harvest. It’s also good for growing with spinach.
When growing spinach and zucchini together, their relationship encourages faster and healthier growth. They also don’t compete for nutrients since their roots grow at different depths.
14. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a great option to grow around spinach. Lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, and watercress all grow well with this plant.
These crops shouldn’t compete for nutrients, and they also attract beneficial insects to protect your spinach harvest.
Strawberries and spinach coexist well in the garden. Spinach can provide some shade for strawberry plants. Plus, spinach produces a substance known as saponin.
This is an antifungal property which should protect your strawberries from fungal issues.On the other hand, strawberries won’t compete with spinach for nutrients as it grows at different depths.
Tansy is an herbaceous flower that’s great for adding color and beauty to your growing area. This plant is also great for spinach.
When you add tansy to your garden, it will help repel unwanted pests from the area to protect your spinach crop. It’s also known for increasing the potassium levels in soil.
Parsley isn’t what most of us would consider to be an aromatic herb. However, to some pests it is. Keep this in mind, if pests are causing issues in your garden.
Most pests don’t enjoy the fragrance of parsley and will stay away from your spinach because of it. This is a good thing as the scent is an added layer of protection.
Celery and spinach have similar growing conditions which make them excellent companions in the garden. They both enjoy cooler temperatures, the same amount of lighting, and consistently damp soil.
Companion planting is more than providing protection for each other. It’s about marrying two plants together that can thrive in the same growing conditions.
Melons are our final companion plant for spinach. This plant is an excellent choice because it encourages the spinach plants to grow stronger.
This is accomplished because melons and spinach don’t grow at the same depth. Therefore, there’s no competition in the garden for different nutrients.
Plants to Avoid Growing Near Spinach
Before I leave you, I must also warn you of a couple of plants which shouldn’t be grown near spinach. The first crop to avoid growing near spinach is fennel.
The reality is fennel doesn’t get along with many plants in the garden. It tends to stunt, and even kill, plants growing near it.
The other plant depends upon your personal experience. Some gardeners report that their spinach doesn’t grow as well when planted with potatoes.
Yet, others say it works because they grow at different depths. Be mindful when growing spinach with potatoes and see what your experience amounts to.
You now have multiple plants that grow well with spinach. You also have a few that you need to be mindful of when planting near spinach.
Hopefully, these tips will help you design a garden layout that will encourage thriving plants and an abundant harvest.