Companion planting is a technique used by gardeners to maximize garden space and to place plants that are mutually beneficial next to each other.
One of the most famous examples of companion planting is The Three Sisters. Corn, bean, and squash were companion planted by Native Americans before the settlers ever came over.
What To Companion Plant With Lettuce
Later Maturing Crops – Tomatoes, eggplants, corn, and vining plants like melons and cucumber can be planted next to each other. As the lettuce plants finish up and are harvested these other plants will be ready to take over the space before finishing up their own growing season.
Root Crops – Parsnips, carrots, shallots, and radishes are good root crops that will grow alongside lettuce and utilized the space under the ground while shallow rooted lettuce will grow above the ground.
In the picture above loose leaf lettuce is companion planted with onions. Both are early season crops and the majority of the lettuce’s growth is above the ground and the majority of the onions growth is below the ground.
Shade for Summer Lettuce – Planting vining plants up trellises like cucumber, peas, or beans can provide shade for lettuce plants in the summer heat. If you want to grow lettuce in the summer also look into varieties that do well in the heat.
Trap Crops – A common pest with lettuce plants are slugs. If you have a problem with slugs planting a trap crop away from your main garden is a good idea. A trap crop contains plants that will attract the pests away from your main garden. To attract slugs try planting calendula, any cabbage plants, and strawberries. Note – If you don’t already have a problem with these pests then planting a trap crop could invite more pests than you already have.
Pest Repellers – Mint, garlic, and chives all give off strong odors that repel pests such as aphids.
What Not To Plant With Lettuce
Do not plant any plants from the brassica family with lettuce. Plants from the brassica family off put a chemical of some sort from their roots that makes it difficult for lettuce seeds to germinate.
Other than this lettuce can be grown with most any other garden plant. It should be grown in the early spring as one of the first plants in the garden. If you plant to keep growing lettuce through the summer by successively planting it you’ll want to avoid planting large root crops like potatoes right next to the row of lettuce.
Make sure to weed around lettuce plants frequently especially in their beginning growth stages because they have a shallow root system and will not do well with too many weeds growing close to them.
Companion Plant Lettuce in Containers
Common plants grown in containers are herbs and garden plants that have a bush growth habit like tomatoes and peppers. Lettuce can be planted with any of these in the same containers. Other good options are onions and garlic that will repel unwanted pests from the lettuce. If you don’t have any problems with pests consider keeping one container with only lettuce.
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