If you are planning to grow melons but have failed in the past, try pairing them with companion plants this season. The plant is easy to grow, but bugs and pets like us love to feast on the juicy melons.
Keeping melon companion plants nearby can significantly help you tackle that issue. Some will help the plant grow better by making the soil more porous or nutrient-rich.
Some of the most common melon companion plants include garlic and mint, which help deter harmful pests like aphids and mildew.
But there are some plants, too, that can heighten the risk of them attacking your beloved plant. So knowing which melon companions to avoid is also important.
Let’s see the best and worst companion plants for melon without wasting more time.
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Best Melon Companion Plants To Grow in Your Garden
These seasonal flowering plants will not only add a hint of color to your veggie garden. But will also protect your melon saplings from nasty bugs and insects.
Marigolds have a distinct and strong odor that repels harmful pests and attracts pollinators and beneficial insects.
Plant them while you plant the melon seeds so that they can protect the melon vine. Remember, marigolds enjoy full sun, but during the afternoon sun, partial shade will be more beneficial. They can grow in almost any well-drained soil, so there is no need to worry about that.
You can use them as edging plants around the melon fences.
The strong fragrance of lavender repels pests like moths, fleas, and mosquitos. It also attracts pollinators that can help your melons pollinate better. You may find the lavender scent soothing, but some pests don’t.
They are very easy to grow and can tolerate even the poorest soil. Lavender roots help to improve soil drainage, which can be another plus point for melons. Besides its usefulness, edging with these purple beauties will uplift your garden aesthetics.
Garlic, be it hard neck or soft neck, acts as a great pest and fungus repellent. Some common garden pests it helps deter include aphids, ants, gnats, moths, and snails.
The strong garlic smell is a natural pest control, and you won’t need to sprinkle those harsh chemicals over your melon plants. Plus, growing garlic is super easy.
All it needs is decent soil and adequate moisture. The harvesting also takes a long time (between 8 to 9 months). So you can rest assured that your melons will be ripe and ready before your garlic does.
The best time to plant garlic is during the fall and before winter begins, usually around late September to mid-October in most parts of the globe.
Mints keep pests at bay and attract bumble bees, helpful pollinators for melons.
Although a single melon vine can grow male and female flowers, its pollen is heavy and sticky. So it often requires the help of such pollinators to complete the fertilization.
Mints are one of the easiest herbs to grow. However, since their roots are often invasive, growing them in pots and placing them near the melon plants is better.
Growing them from seed can be tricky, so cut a six-inch piece of a rooted stem and plant it horizontally in the soil.
The fuzzy borage flowers are the gardener’s best friend. Their purple-blue flowers attract most of the beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies and improve the overall pollination of your garden. They are a good companion plant for most flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
They also attract some beneficial insects that control common garden pests. It doesn’t stop there; it also repels tomato hornworms and cabbage worms! So Borage can be termed an all-rounder.
Growing Borage is also quite hassle-free. They thrive in full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil, and the soil pH does not matter much.
You plant chives once and can harvest them for years! But we are here for something else. Besides being a ridiculously low-maintenance perennial, chives are also a great companion plant.
Chives will benefit your main crop by attracting helpful pollinators or deterring pests. Butterflies love their beautiful purple blossoms, while their strong odor is something that aphids and Japanese beetles hate.
The best time to plant the rooted chive clumps is during spring, just after the frost. They grow nicely in containers and ground, so you can pick whichever suits you.
Lettuce can be a good melon companion plant besides making your salads crunchy. It is usually paired with deep-rooted vegetables like carrots and radishes but can be grown alongside melons.
They are shallow-rooted vegetables that keep root space for melon plants to grow. Lettuce plants are relatively small, so they can be grown in tight spaces and help you maximize the use of your ground space.
They are also a fast-growing crop, and interplanting them with other crops can maintain the soil health by not making them nutrient depleted. Lettuce is a spring and fall crop that matures in 40-45 days.
Catnip belongs to the mint family, meaning their scent attracts and repels some. Bees and parasitic wasps are some of the beneficial insects that get attracted by its fragrance and become a free pest control for your garden.
These wasps are among the biggest enemies of harmful cucumber beetles that damage melon plants. Catnip also helps improve soil health by absorbing nutrients deep in the soil and bringing them close to the surface.
Catnips don’t take much space either, and you can grow them all year round.
Radishes are considered a great melon companion plant due to multiple reasons. The first and foremost is their ability to improve soil health. As they grow underneath the grounds, radishes help break up compacted soil and improve drainage.
Their odor also helps repel most melon enemies, such as cucumber beetles and squash bugs. Besides, since they are a cool season crop, you can plant them before melons to loosen up the soil and bring back nitrogen.
10. Bush Beans
Beans are known for their nitrogen fixation properties. Besides, they don’t overgrow and shade the melon plant, which is why they are better than other bean plants.
Bush beans also act as a great distraction for common enemies of melon, such as cucumber beetles, aphids, Japanese beetles, corn earworms, etc.; the plant will attract them towards itself while your melon plant grows in peace.
Key Tips For Growing Melons With Companion Plants
Melons love well-drained, fertile soil and a location where they can bask in full sun and enjoy sufficient wind flow. Apart from these basic aspects, here are some tips for growing ripe and juicy melons.
1. Keep The Soil Loose
Melon creepers have significantly deep root systems. Their roots can grow anywhere between two to ten inches long, and in some cases, they can go as deep as 6 feet.
Thus, the soil must be loose and moist to give them a comfortable growing space.
2. Make The Bed Warm Before Planting Seeds
If you want your melons to grow within 75 to 100 days, seed them only when the soil temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Water Them Enough
On regular days, melon plants require at least one inch of water to thrive, but they need more during the hot summer days. So ensure that you are watering them enough.
4. Plant Them Before Summer
Spring is the best time to plant melon seeds as the tree grows enough as the summer arrives. It would help if you had long and hot summer days to grow juicy and delicious melons.
5. Switch Fertilizer With Manure
Strong chemical fertilizer will defeat the purpose of homegrown fruit. Instead, switching to well-aged herbivore manure (sheep, cow, horse, lama, etc.) will add the same benefits without any side effects.
Worst Companion Plants For Melons: Keep These Away
Now that you know what plants to pick as a companion for your melon vines and how to grow them healthily, let’s look at the plants you should avoid planting with them.
The following attract the same enemies as melons, creating a dangerous situation for both.
- The cucumber family or Cucurbits includes summer squash, zucchini, pumpkin, ground, winter squash, cucumber, cantaloupe, cushaw, luffa, etc., are from the same family as melons and attract the same pests and diseases.
- The nightshades, like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, attract the same mites and flea beetles as melons.
- Potatoes attract potato beetles that are also attracted to the cucurbits family, which includes melons.
- Strawberries attract spider mites that can damage your melons.
- Corn is considered a good companion plant by some as it provides support to the melon vines. But they also attract pests like corn earworms and corn borer. These pests can also attack your beloved melons.
The melon plant itself is a fuss-free one to grow but is prone to catching pests and diseases. However, you can easily fix that by planting the right companion plants with them. Fortunately, the list of such plants is long, from flowers to vegetables to herbs.
But ensure that you are also avoiding those mentioned as non-compatible plants. Planting them with melons can wreak havoc on your melon plant and make it infertile.
Therefore, choosing the right melon companion plants can provide benefits like improving soil health and deterring pests, while choosing the wrong ones can do the opposite.