Top 12 Cucumber Companion Plants

Companion plants are plants grown alongside the main crop. Companion planting can also be explained as the practice of cultivating different plants together often for beneficial reasons.

Chances are that you have heard about companion planting and its benefits in agriculture.

This post will show you some of the companion plants you can plant alongside your cucumber crop.

Companion planting is not too common in cucumber farming in Nigeria as most of the cucumber farmers in Nigeria grow cucumbers commercially on a large scale.

companion plant

Benefits of using companion plants in cucumber farming

Cucumber farming as earlier explained can benefit a great deal from the use of companion plants.

Below are some of the benefits of using companion plants in the growing of cucumbers:

Enrichment of the soil

Some companion plants like beans, cowpea and other leguminous plants can fix nitrogen into the soil.

Nitrogen is one of the macro nutrients needed by plants. Nitrogen can improve the growth of the cucumber plant during the vegetative stage and also enhance the photosynthetic ability of the cucumber plant.

Tilling of some companion plants into the soil can also improve the microbial activities n the soil and improve the texture and cation exchange capacity of the soil.

Enhanced Pollination

Bees are some of the most prolific pollinators in farming. Some crops like marigold and sunflower attract a lot of bees and other pollinators to the field.

The colourful flowers of sunflower and marigold attract a lot of bees.

Pollination enables flowers to turn to fruits. In the case of cucumbers, the enhanced pollination of the flowers can lead to improved yield and better profitability.

cucumber companion plant

Weed Control

Some companion plants can be used to prevent weeds in the growing of cucumbers. Some companion plants can occupy the space weeds would have occupied. This can have the effects of plastic mulches.

Pest Control

Do you know that companion plants like marigold can repel insects and kill soil nematodes? Marigold has a unique scent that repels pests especially beetles and insects which may want to attack the main crop.

Burying and tilling marigold in the soil can also kill the nematodes in the soil. Nematode is a harmful pest that deters plants from extracting water and nutrients from the soil.

Staking/Trellising

Some companion plants like corn can serve as stakes or trellises for some crops.

Corn plant for example can act as a stake for cucumber plants when the cucumber plants are at the early stage.

Effects of crop rotation

The use of companion plants mimics the effects of crop rotation as no single crop is planted on the soil for a long time.

Crop rotation prevents the build-up of pests and diseases. Crop rotation is important in the growing of cucumbers.

Some cucumber companion plants in Nigeria

The following are some of the companion plants you can grow alongside cucumber plants in Nigeria:

Cowpea

This is leguminous crop called beans in Nigeria.  In Nigeria, there are two types of cowpea namely the red beans and the white beans.

Cowpea fixes essential nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is one of the macro nutrients needed for the growing of crops. Nitrogen ensures the vegetative growth of plants and also positively impacts the process of photosynthesis.

With more nitrogen in the soil, lesser quantity of nitrogen fertilizer will be used for cucumber farming.

Cowpea can be a fantastic companion plant for cucumber.

Corn

Corn also called Maize in Nigeria is one of the most cultivated crops in Nigeria. Go to any place in Nigeria and you are likely to see more corn farmers than other crops farmers.

Maize can be a good companion plant for cucumber plants. There are some benefits of planting corn as a companion plant to cucumbers.

Corn as a plant can repel some of the pests that attack cucumbers.

The corn plants can also act as a stake for cucumber plants especially when the cucumber plants have no fruits.

Celery

Celery is not a common crop in Nigeria, though some farmers still cultivate it.  Celery farmers in Nigeria mostly sell their harvested crop to high end customers, hotels and organized vegetables’ retailers.

Celery has a strong scent; it has been proven that the scent of celery repels a lot of pests that affects cucumber plants.

Cucumber as a crop attracts a lot of pests like beetles, aphids and other types of insects. If you plant cucumber, you are likely to see insects and other pests feasting on the leaves of the plant within a few days.

With celery as a companion plant, some of the pests that affect cucumber plants can be repelled.

Marigold

This is one of the best plants when it comes to the repelling of pests. Marigold has a natural ability of repelling beetles and insects. Beetles and insects are pests that can damage crops and transmit viral diseases from one plant to the other.

Marigold is one of the most popular cucumber companion plants. This is due to its ability of wading off pests from cucumber plants.

Marigold also helps in defeating nematodes which are harmful soil based pests.

Marigold can surely address some of the mistakes in cucumber farming.

Radish

radish as companion plant

Radish is a crop with a good insect repelling plant. Radish is fairly common among urban farmers in Nigeria.

The health benefits of radish have made some farmers to embrace its cultivation in Nigeria. Radish can be a fantastic companion plant to cucumber plants.

Sunflower

Sunflower is also a type of crop that can be used as companion plant to cucumber plants. Sunflower can repel some pests that affect cucumber crop.

Other plants that can be used as companion plants in cucumber farming:

  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger etc

A case study of a farmer who used companion plants with his main cucumber crop

Tunde, one of our customers is a time tested cucumber farmer; he has planted cucumber for several years.

Few weeks ago, Tunde tested the use of companion plants with the cultivation of cucumber. He planted some marigold with his main crop which is cucumber.

Tunde was able to spend 40% less on purchase of pesticides. He also realized that there was lesser pests and disease pressure on his cucumber plants.

The growing of cucumbers can be a profitable thing to do; having companion plants with your cucumber crop can make cucumber farming even more profitable.

Ayo Akinfolarin
 

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