This article was originally published on 2Fast4Buds and appears here with permission.
Companion plants are beneficial plants that can be grown near cannabis and will result in a symbiotic relationship .
Growing cannabis alone, either indoor or outdoor, leaves them exposed to the elements and can result in problems like mold or bugs. Just like cannabis, companion plants also produce terpenes so planting the right ones at the right time can help you combat pests, improve soil, and invite beneficial microorganisms to your garden.
1. COMPANION PLANTS
Companion planting is a method of cultivation where specific plants are grown together for their properties and benefits, promoting a natural ecosystem. This method is super old, dating back to the beginning of agriculture itself, back then farmers didn’t have synthetic products to combat pests so they tried with aromatic vegetation and realized the benefits of this technique.
These aromatic herbs and cover crops are a natural way to protect your grow from pests and diseases, they can attract beneficial bugs that feed on harmful species, some also can combat mold and fungi that can attack your garden.
Vegetation thriving along in a beautiful garden.
This happens because plants produce terpenes and other compounds that can deter or attract pests and can live in a beneficial relationship with marijuana. Now, most growers stick to growing Cannabis but by mimicking nature and maintaining the right biodiversity you can not only avoid problems but also improve soil quality and help fixate nutrients in the soil, resulting in more resiliency to pathogens and a healthier garden.
2. THE HISTORY OF COMPANION PLANTING
Companion planting of beneficial plants has been a practice for many centuries, dating back to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks (and possibly even further back than that, although there are no historical records to back this up). The idea of planting different plants together, in order to maximize their mutual benefits and minimize their potential downsides is anything but new, and while modern-day horticulturalists have science to back up this practice, the benefits have been widely known for a very long time. Some cultures even believed that certain plant combinations could bring fertility or ward off disease.
Ancient Romans planted garlic around rose bushes and cucumber plants to ward off pests. But they also took this one step further when the realization was made that rose bushes and grapevines are susceptible to the same mold issues, with one caveat. White powdery mildew is one of the most devastating issues a vineyard can face, but by simply planting rose bushes throughout the vines, the 'Vintners' (the vine growers) had a better chance of stopping the spread throughout the grapes. This is because the mildew first attacks the roses, and then the vines.
The North American Hidatsa and Iroquois tribes planted corn, squash, and beans together in a technique known as the “three sisters”. This technique worked amazingly well, due to the fact that the three crops work in a symbiotic manner – The corn acts as a support structure for the beans, the beans act as a nitrogen fixer for the soil, and the squash minimizes the chance of pests infestations, while also adding much need mulch to the surrounding soil. And, on top of this, the three crops complement each other in terms of nutritional value.
The beans provide protein, the squash offers a range of vitamins and is a great source of fiber, and the corn is full of carbs. Other cultures around the world have also practiced companion planting for centuries. In Asia, for example, farmers often plant lemon grass near onion and garlic beds to ward off pests, while in Central America, marigolds are often planted near vegetables to keep away certain bugs. Today, horticulturalists have conducted their own studies on companion planting and the results show that this practice is a valuable tool for all gardeners, cannabis or not. Planting companion plants can help to improve soil fertility and aeration, ward off certain pests, and provide additional nutrients to the soil. In addition to this, companion planting can add a splash of color to your garden and attract beneficial insects to help ward off all those annoying little critters that like to spoil our fun.
3. DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPANION PLANTS
Even though companion plants are any type of vegetation that can have a beneficial relationship with your cannabis, there are different types. Depending on the type of plant and herb, it can have different effects, from preventing bugs to improving soil and the nutrients available in it, you need to have in mind that each one brings different benefits.
Cover crops help in the texture of your soil, help protect beneficial microbes and manage nutrients, making them more available when needed.
Nitrogen fixers pull nitrogen into the soil, which is used by Cannabis in photosynthesis, have in mind …