Growing a successful pea garden can be quite a challenge, especially with bugs nibbling on your plants and competition for nutrients.
As a gardener myself, I’ve experienced this frustration firsthand but discovered that pairing peas with certain companion plants offers many benefits, such as attracting beneficial insects and reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizer.
A few amazing companions for peas include beets, turnips, lettuce, kale, spinach, sweet alyssum, carrots, and corn.
In this article, I’ll share the best and worst companion plants for peas, and how they help enhance the growth of your garden while protecting them from pests. Stick around to discover how to make your pea garden thrive!
- Companion planting with peas offers benefits such as decreased reliance on nitrogen fertilizer, the encouragement of beneficial insects, and the utilization of natural shade.
- Plants that make good companions for peas include beets, turnips, lettuce, kale, spinach, sweet alyssum, carrots, and corn.
- It is best to avoid planting tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers alongside peas, as they can negatively affect their growth.
- Key Takeaways
- Understanding the Concept of Companion Planting
- The Benefits of Companion Planting with Peas
- Characteristics of Peas
- Best Companion Plants for Peas
- Avoid Planting These Near Pea Plants
- Final Thoughts
- FAQs About Pea Companion Plants
- What should not be planted with peas?
- What is best to plant next to peas?
- What can I grow under a pea trellis?
- What herbs can you plant with peas?
- Is it OK to plant peas in the same spot every year?
- What is the best month to plant peas?
- How late can you plant peas?
- Do you fertilize peas when planting?
- How do companion plants benefit pea gardens?
- Is it true that peas grow best with other legumes?
- How does companion planting help keep pests away?
- Do peas need shade to grow?
- Can peas and beans be planted together?
- Should I soak peas before planting them with companion plants?
- Why are peas a great companion for other plants?
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Understanding the Concept of Companion Planting
Companion planting means growing different types of plants together for the mutual benefit of each other. This practice is typically used to enhance growth, reduce pests, and maximize space usage in your garden.
For instance, peas are exceptional when it comes to companion planting because of their nitrogen-fixing capability.
This unique attribute allows them to absorb atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a usable form for plant growth.
In addition to nutrient sharing, companion planting also helps control harmful insects in natural ways.
Peas tend to attract certain insect pests like aphids and whiteflies, which love feeding on their lush green foliage.
By pairing peas with flowering plants such as sweet alyssum or calendula, we bring beneficial bugs like ladybugs or lacewings into our gardens that prey upon these destructive pests.
Moreover, some crops naturally provide shade because of their tall stature as they mature, while others require cooler conditions and less direct sunlight to thrive.
Hence, using taller pea varieties can offer lower-growing leafy vegetable coverage from intense sun rays during hot summers, ensuring a better overall productive yield from your vegetable garden without any extra effort!
So whether you’re planning out your spring garden or simply want a healthier backyard filled with vibrant plants, understanding the ins and outs of companion planting should definitely be on your list!
Be sure that not only will these combinations keep your crops happy, but they can also add beautiful variety to your landscape, making gardening a more enjoyable process overall.
The Benefits of Companion Planting with Peas
Companion planting with peas offers several benefits that can help improve the health and productivity of your garden.
Decrease Nitrogen Fertilizer Applications
Growing peas offers an incredible advantage in your garden, they’re nature’s own nitrogen factory! Peas form a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria in the soil.
This partnership results in atmospheric nitrogen being converted into a plant-available form, ammonia.
Now, this beats relying on manufactured nitrogen fertilizer!
Switching to companion planting with peas is not just eco-friendly but also budget-friendly. As peas enrich the soil naturally, you’ll use fewer packaged fertilizers, which means more savings for you and healthier plants too!
The excellent nitrogen-fixing capability of peas makes them perfect companions for heavy feeders like corn and helps boost their growth without extra applications of nitrogen fertilizer.
Encourage Beneficial Insects
Creating an inviting environment for beneficial insects in your garden can boost your pea crop’s health and productivity. Green lacewings, ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps are natural enemies of pests that damage peas.
They hunt down aphids, thrips, spider mites, and whiteflies that threaten your plants. Attract these garden friends by planting companion plants like sweet corn, beans, or carrots, which also promote soil fertility while suppressing weed growth.
Add flowering plants such as sweet alyssum to the mix; their blooms not only add beauty to your scenery but also serve up generous amounts of nectar and pollen that beneficial insects love.
The more varied your garden is with different types of plants; the more balanced its insect population will be, resulting in fewer harmful bugs feasting on your peas!
Not to mention less reliance on synthetic insecticides, making it a win-win for you and nature alike!
Utilize Natural Shade
Peas can serve as a natural shade provider in your garden, especially for heat-sensitive crops. By growing peas on a trellis or support, you create a cool and shaded area that can benefit plants like lettuce.
This shade helps to protect cool-weather crops from the scorching sun and allows them to thrive even during hot summer days.
So, let your pea plants not only provide delicious pods but also offer some relief from the heat for your other garden vegetables.
Characteristics of Peas
Well-draining soil, keep consistently moist
Typically 1-6 feet tall, depending on the variety
Well-draining, loamy soil; pH 5.8-7.0
Cool-weather crop, sensitive to heat; thrives in USDA zones 3-11
Annual climbing vine
White, pink, or purple, depending on the variety
Green, compound leaves with tendrils for climbing
Seeds (direct sowing)
|Pruning and Maintenance
Provide support for climbing varieties; pick regularly to encourage continued production
|Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, pea weevils, powdery mildew, root rot
Carrots, lettuce, radishes, beans, and other cool-season crops
Edible pods (snap peas and snow peas) and edible seeds (garden peas)
Pea flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies
|Special Care Instructions
Avoid overwatering; provide support for climbing varieties
Best Companion Plants for Peas
Looking to maximize the productivity of your pea garden? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best companion plants for peas!
Beets make excellent companion plants for peas because they have similar nitrogen needs. Both beets and peas are hungry for nitrogen and use it to improve the soil.
Planting beets alongside your peas allows you to take advantage of their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil.
This means that beets can help supply the necessary nutrients to both themselves and your pea plants, resulting in healthier growth and higher yields.
Turnips are a great companion plant for peas because they can benefit from the nitrogen fixed by pea plants. Both turnips and peas are root crops, meaning that they have similar needs when it comes to nutrients in the soil.
Planting turnips alongside your pea plants allows them to gather more nitrogen from the soil (thank you, peas), which will help both plants thrive.
Plus, having turnips grow next to your peas adds variety to your garden and allows you to enjoy even more fresh vegetables at harvest time.
Lettuce is an excellent companion plant for peas in your garden. It benefits from the nitrogen that peas provide, which helps it grow and thrive. Peas can also offer natural shade to lettuce plants, protecting them from heat stress.
The growing conditions of both lettuce and peas are quite similar, making them compatible companions. Adding lettuce to your pea garden creates an extra boost and improves the health and yield of both plants.
Not only will they benefit each other’s growth, but the combination also creates a visually appealing and productive addition to your vegetable garden.
Kale is an excellent companion plant for peas because it has high nitrogen requirements, just like other brassicas.
This means that kale and peas can work together to create a mutually beneficial relationship in the garden.
Peas are able to fix nitrogen in their roots with the help of rhizobia bacteria. This then becomes available for other plants nearby.
By planting kale alongside your peas, you can take advantage of this nitrogen fixation process and provide your kale with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
Plus, having kale in your pea garden adds variety and visual interest to your vegetable patch!
Spinach is a fantastic companion plant for peas in your garden. They are both cool-weather crops, and spinach can benefit from the nitrogen that pea plants fix.
Peas have a unique ability to capture atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a form that other plants can use.
Spinach loves this extra dose of nitrogen in the soil, as it helps promote healthy growth and vibrant green leaves.
Additionally, adding flowering plants like sweet alyssum and calendula to your garden can attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and hoverflies, which can help with pest control for your spinach.
6. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum is an excellent companion plant for peas in your garden. It attracts beneficial insects like green lacewings, ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps, which help deter pesky insect pests such as aphids, thrips, spider mites, and whiteflies.
This pretty flower also acts as a trap crop, diverting these pests away from your precious pea plants. The best part?
Sweet Alyssum is low-maintenance and can be easily grown alongside your peas without much effort.
Its presence not only adds beauty to your garden but also enhances the overall health and productivity of your pea plants.
Carrots are an excellent choice as companion plants for peas. They thrive in the same cool and moist conditions that peas love, making them great garden buddies.
One of the reasons carrots work well with peas is that they both require high levels of nitrogen.
Pea plants release nitrogen into the soil, which can benefit nearby carrot plants by improving soil fertility and nutrient absorption.
Additionally, carrots help loosen the soil around pea roots, allowing better access to air and water.
Another advantage is that planting carrots near your peas can attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on common pests that attack pea plants.
So not only do you get a bountiful harvest of sweet carrots alongside your juicy peas, but you also create a healthy ecosystem in your garden!
Corn is another fantastic companion plant to pair with peas in your garden. One of the main benefits of planting corn alongside your pea plants is that it provides natural shade.
Peas are heat-sensitive, so the corn stalks can help protect them from excessive sunlight and keep them cool during hot summer days.
Additionally, corn can act as a trellis for the pea vines to climb up, maximizing garden space and allowing both plants to grow harmoniously together. It’s a win-win situation for your pea garden!
Avoid Planting These Near Pea Plants
Not all plants pair well with peas. When you plan your garden, make sure you avoid planting tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers alongside your peas because they can negatively affect their growth and development.
Tomatoes are not the best companion plants for peas. They can attract pests and diseases that could harm your pea garden.
It’s important to avoid planting tomatoes near your peas to prevent potential pest and disease issues.
By keeping these two plants separate, you can ensure a healthier and more productive garden for both your tomatoes and peas.
Onions may not be the best companion for peas in your garden. This is because onions and peas have different growth habits and nutrient requirements, which can hinder each other’s development.
Planting onions near peas also leads to stunted growth and reduced yields for both crops. Onions also compete with peas for sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil.
It’s best to keep these two plants separate to ensure optimal growth and harvest for both crops.
Garlic is another plant you should avoid putting near peas. Similar to other alliums, garlic can stunt the growth of peas because both plants compete for nutrients in the soil, water, and sunlight.
If you’re wanting to add garlic to your garden, I recommend planting it as far away from your pea plants as possible.
Companion planting is a valuable technique for maximizing the growth and productivity of your pea garden.
By strategically selecting plants that complement peas, you can reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer, attract beneficial insects, and provide natural shade.
Be sure to avoid planting peas with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers as they may not thrive well together.
With the right combination of companion plants, you can create a thriving and vibrant garden that will yield delicious peas all season long.
FAQs About Pea Companion Plants
What should not be planted with peas?
It’s best to avoid planting tomatoes and certain plants from the cabbage family near peas. These plants can compete for nutrients and stunt the growth of peas.
You will also want to avoid onions, garlic, and chives, as they may inhibit the growth of peas. Additionally, avoid planting potatoes near peas as they can compete for nutrients in the soil.
What is best to plant next to peas?
Some of the best companion plants for peas are cucumber, radish, carrot, and pole beans. These plants help enhance the growth and overall health of peas.
What can I grow under a pea trellis?
A few plants you can grow under a pea trellis include lettuce, spinach, arugula, radishes, and some herbs like cilantro and parsley.
What herbs can you plant with peas?
You can plant herbs like mint, dill, basil, marjoram, and chives alongside peas for several benefits, like pest deterrence and enhanced flavor.
Is it OK to plant peas in the same spot every year?
No, it is not recommended to plant peas in the same spot every year. Peas are heavy nitrogen feeders, and continuous planting in the same location can deplete the soil of essential nutrients, leading to poor growth and reduced yields.
Crop rotation is advised to maintain soil fertility and reduce the risk of disease and pest buildup.
What is the best month to plant peas?
The best month to plant peas depends on the climate and growing season in your region. In general, peas are typically planted in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked and temperatures are consistently above freezing.
This is usually around March to April in most regions, but it can vary. In some cooler climates, fall planting for a late-season harvest is also possible.
How late can you plant peas?
The timing for late-season planting of peas depends on the average first frost date in your area. Peas can be planted as late as 8 to 10 weeks before the first expected fall frost.
For example, if the first frost is expected around October, peas can be planted in late July to early August. Late planting may result in a smaller harvest window, but it can still yield a crop before the frost arrives.
Do you fertilize peas when planting?
Peas are generally not heavy feeders and can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of bacteria in their roots.
However, adding a moderate amount of fertilizer or compost to the soil before planting can help provide essential nutrients and improve overall soil fertility, especially if the soil is nutrient-deficient.
Avoid using excessive nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as they can lead to lush foliage growth but lower pea pod production. A balanced, low-nitrogen fertilizer or compost can be used to promote healthy pea growth.
How do companion plants benefit pea gardens?
Companion plants benefit pea gardens by attracting beneficial insects that help pollinate the flowers and control pests.
They can also enhance soil fertility through nitrogen fixation or nutrient cycling and provide physical support or shade to the pea plants.
Is it true that peas grow best with other legumes?
Yes, peas grow best when planted with other legumes such as beans and peas. These plants have a mutual relationship where they exchange nitrogen, benefiting each other’s growth.
How does companion planting help keep pests away?
Companion planting can help keep pests at bay by attracting beneficial insects that prey on them. For example, planting radishes near peas can attract insects that eat pea weevils, protecting the pea plants.
Do peas need shade to grow?
While peas prefer cooler temperatures, they do not necessarily need shade to grow. In fact, they require full sun to produce the best yields.
However, planting them near taller companion plants that provide shade can be beneficial.
Can peas and beans be planted together?
Yes, peas and beans can be planted together. Both are legumes and have similar growth habits, making them compatible companions in the garden.
Should I soak peas before planting them with companion plants?
Yes, it is recommended to soak peas for a few hours before planting them, regardless of the companion plants. Soaking the peas can help speed up germination and ensure successful growth.
Why are peas a great companion for other plants?
Peas are a great companion for other plants because they have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. This nitrogen is beneficial for neighboring plants that require a sufficient amount of nitrogen for their growth.