The cucumber belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and has a lot of economic applications. It is widely cultivated across tropical and temperate regions of the world. Since it abundantly contains water, nutrients, and phytochemicals, it has a lot of uses in culinary, cosmetic as well as therapeutic purposes.
It is an annual climbing herbaceous plant. Cucumber has a shallow root system, and it gets distributed in the cultivated land layer. The stem of the plant is in the form of a vine. The color of the young fruit changes from pure white to pale green, while the mature fruit is of a darker hue, i.e., it can vary from yellow to brown. The shape of the fruit varies between different colors, such as clublike or cylindrical.
Companion Plant for Cucumber
Following are a list of the various plants that would make for a good companion along with your cucumber:
Beets can be tucked neatly in the side spaces beside the cucumber, thus maximizing the space in which they are provided. Not only do they add diversity to the soil, but also they loosen the soil with their bulbous roots.
Dill is a good aromatic herb that is suitable for home planting as it attracts pollinators and beneficial insects, which helps to keep the level of pests in your garden down. It is believed that dill improves the flavor of mature cucumber as well.
The main benefit of growing lettuce and cucumbers together is that they help to optimize garden space. The cucumbers thrive in direct sunlight; hence they should be planted in an area where they receive ample sunlight. On the other hand, lettuce prefers cooler temperatures and partial shade. Consequently, planting them both together has the advantage of allowing both of them to thrive.
The marigolds have a strong odor in their blooms as well as foliage. This helps to keep aphids away from the crop. Marigolds are drought-tolerant and can be planted fruitfully in hot weather conditions.
The sunflowers may be planted early on in the season and allowed to reach their full height within the first few weeks. Planting cucumber seeds when the sunflowers have grown above 10 to 12 feet gives the former a chance to mature. In contrast, the cucumber plant is about to produce its vines.
The sturdy stalk of the sunflower acts as a good anchor for the vines of the cucumber. Meanwhile, the large leaves of the cucumber shade the soil, helping it retain its moisture and also keeping it free of weeds.
Both sunflowers and cucumbers require frost-free conditions to grow well.
Nasturtium is a flowering plant that makes for a good trap plant. They strongly attract pests; hence planting them along with the cucumber would cause the likes of aphids and black flies to be drawn toward them, leaving the cucumber plant alone. In addition, the flowers of the plant are also edible. The nasturtium flowers make for a good sight when intertwined with the vines of the cucumber.
While the nasturtium grows best in full sunlight, it is also tolerant of light shade. In case they are planted in partial shade, the blooming of the plant will get affected. However, this will not affect the pest-attracting capacity of the plant. The nasturtium also helps to improve the taste of the cucumbers.
Tansy is a powerful herb that repels a lot of pests such as cutworms, mosquitoes, squash bugs, and sugar ants, and it also keeps away larger preying animals such as rodents and deer. It has bright yellow flowers, which are a good attraction point for pollinators. Also, tansy is beneficial in concentrating potassium in nearby plants. Potassium is an essential nutrient that improves the flowering and fruit formation process in plants. Although caution needs to be exercised while planting it, for it is toxic, and children and other animals should not be let around the tansy plant.
The cucumbers provide shade to the broccoli, while the latter prevents the cucumber vines from sagging too much. The two plants also have a beneficial impact on each other in terms of nutrients. The broccoli adds nitrogen to the soil, whereas the cucumber aerates the soil and improves the drainage in the soil system.
The broccoli should be planted about two weeks after the last frost. Both these plants are sensitive to frost. It should be remembered that cucumbers and broccoli both require full exposure to the sun to deliver their best yields. Consequently, both of them may be planted together in an area of the garden which receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.
While cabbage is usually a problematic crop for companion planting with most other vegetables, it is a good companion for cucumbers. Of course, cabbage is a brassica which is a cool season crop. However, it is suggested that the two be grown together in the summer, for cucumber is a warm-season crop.
Cucumbers grow vertically, and thus they provide shade to the cabbage. The shade also helps to retain moisture around the soil surface of the vegetables. This is crucial since both plants require frequent applications of water. In case the two are planted together, the gardener must ensure that there is no letdown in the irrigation which is provided to the two crops.
Similar to other root crops such as radishes and carrots, onions are a good companion plant for cucumbers since they do not spread above the ground and thus do not compete for space. Cucumbers mainly send one large tap root and a few other shallow roots below the ground. Root vegetables, as well as cucumbers, both thrive upon the soil that has been tilled properly.
It is a popular pest control crop, and it will do well when planted with most vegetable crops. Of course, it is a very good companion, especially for cucumbers. The leaves have a peppery aroma which helps to repel aphids as well as squash bugs.
There are various ways in which oregano can be grown as a companion plant with the cucumber. It can be sown in borders around the cucumber crop, or it can be grown on the corners of a raised bed. However, a distance of 14 to 18 inches has to be maintained from the neighboring crops. Since oregano tends to be a low-growing plant, it would make sense if the cucumber is grown on a trellis, leaving both free to draw the sunlight in equal measure.
Legumes are a good option when it comes to companion planting with cucumbers because they aid in fixing nitrogen in the soil. For instance, planting bush beans helps to improve the vigor with which the cucumber plant grows. In case the gardener is thinking of growing beans, he should use a shared trellis for both the beans as well as the cucumbers. While this will certainly save space in the garden, it will also ensure that the cucumbers enjoy the company of the beans.
Cucumbers and radishes fall under the same family. Both of them come from the gourd family. Consequently, they have similar needs when it comes to growing. In case they are planted together, they would keep pets away, such as aphids, flea beetles, and cucumber beetles. It would also help to improve the growth of both plants, as the cucumber vines climb on the radishes and shade them from the sun. Radishes help to loosen the soil at the base of the cucumbers and improve the quality of nutrients available to them. While cucumber and radish are both high-yielding vegetables, planting them together would even further increase the overall yield.
What Not to Plant Besides Cucumbers
Some plants are not suggested to be planted beside the cucumber vines. Here we have listed the same:
Potatoes are heavy feeders, and they require a lot of water while growing up. Consequently, they will compete heavily for the water in the soil. In the process, the cucumber is likely to get malnourished, as it has a weaker root system.
Harvesting potatoes also requires uprooting them. This can easily cause the soil to get fragmented, thus breaking up the thin shallow roots of the cucumbers. Both of the plants are susceptible to blight. Potato blight is a fungal disease that spreads via airborne spores until it lands on a plant that it can infect. Planting both cucumbers and potatoes together can greatly increase the chances of one of these plants contracting the blight.
Sage tends to stunt the growth of cucumber and other crops around it. Except for oregano, other aromatic herbs are not advisable to be planted around the cucumbers. The sage would also impart a certain flavor to the cucumber growing alongside it that would not taste too savory.
Planting melons next to cucumbers makes them vulnerable to several insects and diseases since both of them are from the cucurbit family. The potential pests include cucumber beetles, aphids, and flea beetles. Some of the diseases in common include bacterial wilt, viruses, and fungal leaf spot.
This plant may quickly overtake the cucumber plant and would thus affect the taste of the cucumber plant in the process. It would also be aggressive in its growth, thus eventually competing with the cucumbers for not just nutrients but also space in the garden.
Fennel is an allelopathic plant in that it releases compounds into the soil. It is an aromatic plant, and it is a poor companion plant for nearly every other plant.
Cucumbers are very rich in Vitamin K and are also filled with Vitamins A and C.
There are several different varieties which range from mini cucumbers to long English cucumbers, field cucumbers, and so on.
Yes, there is a widely held belief that cucumbers and melons can reproduce to produce hybrid varieties. However, this is not true since the female flowers of the variety can only be fertilized by pollen from the same species. The two may belong to the same family but are of different species.
In this article, we have covered all the plants that would be beneficial in planting, along with cucumbers. We have also discussed some of them, which would generally not work well with cucumbers. We hope you will find this discussion useful.