If you have a vegetable garden, you know that spinach is an easy-to-grow vegetable to have around. It’s compatible with most garden vegetables and requires no special care.
In addition, companion planting is healthy for your spinach, allowing a fast growth rate and pest control. So, do you want to know more about the best companion plants for spinach?
Let’s get down to them and take your spinach planting a notch higher.
The Spinach Plant
Spinach is native to Persia and a member of the Amaranth family. It’s a hardy leafy green vegetable that is best planted in early spring.
You can also plant it during fall or winter in specific areas. Gardeners love it because of its versatility and rich source of nutrients.
Spinach prefers partial shade in warm climates. Plant them in well-drained loamy soils that are rich in organic content.
In addition, ensure the soil pH is 6.0-6.8. Their ideal growing weather is 10-21 degrees celsius.
Some Reasons For Spinach Companion Planting
Spinach tastes better when you plant it with specific plants. What’s more, some plants add minerals to the soil, boosting the spinach’s growth and flavor.
Reduced Pest And Diseases
Companions help reduce disease spread. Growing spinach entirely in your garden is a recipe for pest and disease invasion.
On the flip side, companion plants attract (sacrificing themselves) or repel the pest and diseases, saving you from the resultant loss.
Proper Utilization Of Space
Planting spinach, like any other vegetable, involves separation into rows and columns. Unfortunately, that leaves your garden with lots of unutilized space.
However, planting companion plants will help you use the space available in total.
Improved Spinach Growth
Some plants catalyze the healthy growth of spinach by adding helpful nutrients to the soil. Your spinach grows healthier and stronger as a result. This is best done at the sprouting stage.
Notably, spinach is also beneficial to its companion plants. This is because it contains the compound Saponin that is produced by its roots.
Other plants produce saponin as well. Saponin has antifungal and antibacterial properties that protect spinach and its companion plants.
Best Companion Plants For Spinach
It turns out that spinach has a broad range of companion plants. So rather than focusing on individual plants, we prefer giving you a detailed list of these plant groups.
So let’s get down to the list and see what is in store for you.
1. Leafy Vegetables
Most leafy vegetables can grow well besides spinach. However, not all leafy vegetables are beneficial. Some consume plant nutrients from the soil more rapidly than spinach.
It’s better to grow vegetables that don’t compete with spinach for food. Several leafy green vegetables fit well in this criteria.
Some to consider are
- Swiss chard
- Beet greens
You want to use these vegetables as companion plants to your spinach for the benefit of prevention against pests and diseases.
Having them around your garden makes your spinach experience fewer cases of disease spread. The leafy plants will also attract bugs away from the spinach plant.
Brassicas belonging to the mustard family is the other plant group you want to consider growing alongside spinach. The two plants are comfortable growing beside each other since they don’t compete for nutrients.
The plants blend in well because of their ability to absorb nutrients at a slower pace. The brassicas you can grow with your spinach include:
Radishes stand out amongst brassicas. This is because the plant traps leaf-miners saving your spinach from the effects of the leaf-damaging insects.
Thus, the damage to radishes is only limited to foliage. Besides, radish is a rapid maturing plant, giving a small window of opportunity for damage.
Therefore, leaf miners can only destroy radishes when they are still young.
Some other brassicas you can add to the list for planting alongside spinach are:
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet Alyssum
Another group of plants that make good neighbors to spinach is the alliums. Among the numerous benefits they bring, one that stands out is their ability to deter spinach feasting pests.
A typical example is the garlic plant. Garlic repels several insects in the garden, with the common ones being aphids, spider mites, and flea beetles.
Garlic is also known for accumulating sulfur which is responsible for fighting fungal diseases. Therefore, the sulfur in garlic and the saponin in spinach make an excellent match in preventing diseases in your garden.
Leeks, another member of the allium family, is also known for deterring carrot rust flies from damaging spinach.
Here are other plants of the allium family that make good companion plants for spinach:
Spinach does well amidst the cucurbits. It grows strong and healthy when planted alongside them.
Cucurbits are known for producing vegetation of vines that are non-damaging to spinach. Also, the plants offer less nutritional competition to spinach plants.
You should note that cucurbits grow faster than spinach. You risk covering your spinach if you plant it later than the cucurbits. Common cucurbits to grow with spinach are
Peas are suitable for companion planting with spinach for their ability to add nitrogen to the soil. Similar to peas are the bean plants.
Besides, they provide shade to spinach and also make efficient use of space. However, peas are more beneficial to spinach than beans because they leave more nutrients in the soil.
Also, they release chemical compounds that help protect the plant roots.
Some peas and beans to plant beside your spinach include:
- English peas
- Pole beans
- Snow Peas
- Sugar snap peas
- Black-eyed peas
- Bush beans
Plants in the nightshade family play a vital role in adding flavors to our dishes. Likewise, they are also beneficial to spinach as companion plants.
These plants grow well alongside spinach without competing with them for nutrients.
The tomato plant is one good example in the nightshade family. Despite being a heat-loving crop, it can grow well with the cool season spinach.
Nightshades also leave nutrients in the soil that promote spinach growth.
More plants to consider in the nightshade family are:
- Okra and
Strawberry plants are a worthy companion to spinach and will leave you beaming with satisfaction. They don’t compete with spinach for available nutrients.
This is because of their ability to consume nutrients at a different soil depth than spinach. You will also love strawberries for the sheer reason of keeping your soil moist and cool.
The two plants have a symbiotic relationship.
Saponin in spinach makes both plants benefit from protection against common diseases.
In addition, planting your spinach with strawberry fosters the healthy growth of the group, promoting better yields in the process.
Have you heard of umbellifers? The name may sound unfamiliar, but it’s a general name for the typical aromatic plants you use as vegetables in your garden.
Some of these plants are herbs. Umbellifers have a strong scent that deters pests from invading your spinach population.
For example, dill, a member of the Umbelliferae family, promotes the growth of spinach and other neighboring plants.
Dill should be grown when spinach is maturing. This helps to maintain a balance of nutrients making the spinach produce larger and tastier.
Celery also works well as a companion plant for spinach since they thrive in the same growing environment.
Tansy serves as an excellent companion to spinach, thanks to its yellow leaves that repel insect pests. Tansy also helps to increase nutrients in the soil, such as potassium.
Potassium is an essential nutrient beneficial for spinach growth. However, keep tansy away from animals and children because of its toxicity.
Instead, only grow it as an ornamental plant alongside your spinach.
Nasturtiums are suitable for growing alongside your spinach as a pest repellent. They contain bright-colored flowers that trap insects such as aphids and beetles.
On the other hand, spinach also plays a wonderful companion to other plants. Essentially, what that means is that they fit pretty well in the same garden or growing environment.
Ever thought about growing spinach together with fruits and exotic plants? Here are a few to mention.
11. Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi fruit is an edible berry found in the species of woody vines. Apart from being edible, the plant also provides beautiful foliage for your garden.
Saponin in spinach serves Kiwi fruit best protecting it against bacteria such as PSA (Pseuodomonous syringae actinidiae).
Ginger is widely used as a spice. It’s found in the Zingiberaceae family together with other plants like turmeric and cardamom.
It has narrow leaf blades and grows to about one meter tall. Ginger blends in well with spinach and forms a good team in repelling insects and bugs in the garden.
Companion Plants To Avoid
Some of the worst companion plants to spinach are Fennel, Coriander, Caraway, and Potatoes since they compete for nutrients and are harmful in some way or the other.
Companion plants can be beneficial to the growth of your main crop. However, not all plants can be companions since they may have conflicting nutrient and water requirements.
If you have been leaving lots of space around your spinach, you now have more than a fair idea of how to utilize it.