For some time now, it has been known that some plants grow better alongside some others. This is called “companinon planting.”
The reason is that these “companions” do not have the same needs and do not compete. For example, the carrot grows in depth as the tomato grows high. The two plants thus occupy the space better.
In addition, some pests are hampered by the presence of an odor nearby. Like the white fly, for example, which does not like the smell of marygold. It is therefore judicious to plant them near the cultures that fear it.
If, in addition, the duration of cultivation is taken into account, and short cycle plants (salad, radish, etc.) are associated with others whose cycle is longer (cabbage, carrot), it is possible to optimize at best the space of our garden.
One of the oldest examples of companionship originated in North and Central America. It is the “Milpa”: it is the ancestral association of maize, climbing beans and squash. The corn serves as a support to the bean that climbs over it. Beans fix the nitrogen benefiting to corn growth. The squash covers the soil thus preserving moisture, which will improve yields of maize. In addition, maize and beans form an extremely nutritious basic food pair.
Nicknamed “the 3 sisters”, this beneficial association holds an important place in the Indian American mythology.