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Growing your own vegetables can be a rewarding experience, especially when you discover unexpected combinations that work well together. You may be wondering if it’s possible to grow cucumbers and peas side by side in your garden.
The good news is that not only can you grow these two vegetables together, but they also have several benefits when planted as companions. In fact, it’s become my favorite way of growing them.
In this article, we’re going to cover the unique growth pattern of cucumbers and peas, why you should give this combination a try, how maximize the use of your trellises, as well as some potential problems to avoid.
Planting Cucumbers and Peas as Companion Plants
Cucumbers are vine plants that need sufficient space to spread out, while peas are smaller plants that can grow in close proximity. These differences allow them to share the same garden space, with cucumbers climbing up pea plants for support.
This unique arrangement not only saves space but also improves the overall health of both plants. Peas also help fix nitrogen into the soil, providing a valuable nutrient for the nitrogen-hungry cucumbers.
Benefits of Planting Peas and Cucumbers Together
There are many benefits to pairing cucumbers and peas together, so if you worry you’re going to crowd or stunt your plants, keep in mind that there are plenty of advantages to this companion planting that will make cucumbers and peas thrive.
First, peas are nitrogen-fixers. This means that they draw nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that other plants, like cucumbers, can use to grow. As cucumbers are heavy feeders, providing them with additional nitrogen will help them thrive.
Additionally, peas can serve as a living trellis for cucumbers, offering them support as they grow. If you are planting climbing varieties of both vegetables, this can be especially helpful. By interplanting peas and cucumbers, you’re making efficient use of your garden space.
Another bonus is staggered harvest. Once your peas have finished cropping, you can keep on harvesting your cucumbers until the plant dies off or the first frost sets in. By the time peas are ready to pick, cucumbers will only have grown halfway up the trellis, so there’s no need to worry that these two crops will affect each other’s yields.
Upkeep can also be easier with these paired plants. Mulching around cucumbers and peas will help to conserve moisture in the soil, which, in turn, will benefit both plants during dry periods – check this article on straw mulching if you’re interested to learn more. Plus, companion planting may also help to deter some common garden pests.
While there are many advantages to planting cucumbers and peas together, it’s crucial to be aware of potential drawbacks. One possible issue is that both plants require full sun to grow their best. If the peas grow too tall or too densely, they may end up shading the cucumbers, which can affect their growth and productivity.
To handle this, make sure to space your plants accordingly and monitor the sun exposure they’re receiving. Using a tall trellis and guiding both the peas and cucumber vines as vertically as you possible can also help ensure both plants have access to ample sunlight.
Another consideration is that both peas and cucumbers have some common pests and diseases. Make sure to stay vigilant and inspect your plants regularly for signs of infestation.
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How to Plant Cucumbers and Peas Together
Now let’s get down to business. If you’re new to gardening and short on trellis space, you’re probably wondering how to grow these two different plants.
Or, if your peas have failed to thrive and suffered from poor germination (like it happened to me), you might want to plant something in there to fill in the gaps – cucumbers are perfect for this!
Timing and Planting Techniques
When planting cucumbers and peas together, it’s essential to consider the right timing. To ensure success with this combination, follow these guidelines:
- Start by sowing peas early in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Alternatively, you can start them in modules in early March, and transplant them outdoors. Peas prefer cool weather and can withstand light frost. They typically take 60-70 days to mature.
- Cucumbers, on the other hand, enjoy warm weather and can’t tolerate frost. You can sow cucumber seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before your last expected frost date or direct seed them after the danger of frost has passed.
- Make sure that your garden soil is well-draining and enriched with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure.
Garden Layout and Trellises
To create an efficient garden layout for planting cucumbers and peas together, keep these tips in mind:
- Plan your garden layout to provide both plants with plenty of sun since peas and cucumbers thrive in full sun. You can read more about trellis orientation in this article.
- Utilize trellises or other supports to save space and promote healthy growth. Plant peas along one side of the trellis, and cucumbers on the other side. This allows peas to grow up the trellis during the cooler spring months, and as they finish producing, cucumbers can take over the same structure for support.
- Consider planting corn or beans near your cucumbers as they can provide additional benefits. Corn stalks can serve as support for climbing cucumbers and provide shade, while beans can help increase nitrogen levels in the soil.
- Intercrop other companion plants, such as oregano and celery, for pest control and overall garden health.
By properly timing your planting and creating an efficient garden layout that incorporates trellises and other supports, you can successfully plant cucumbers and peas together in your garden. Enjoy the fruits (or rather, vegetables) of your labor as your garden thrives in full sun with well-draining soil.
Other Companion Plants You Can Choose From
In this section, let’s explore other companion plants that work well when planted near cucumbers and peas.
Other Companion Plants for Cucumbers
Cucumbers thrive when planted alongside a variety of other plants. Here are some great companions for your cucumber plants:
- Beans: Like peas, beans can provide nitrogen to the soil, which will benefit your cucumbers.
- Corn: This plant can offer your cucumbers some shade and support as they grow.
- Dill: A natural insect repellent, dill can help keep pests away from your cucumber plants.
- Lettuce: It can be a good spatial companion as it requires less space and nutrients than cucumbers.
- Nasturtiums: This flower can deter various pests, making it a beneficial companion for cucumbers.
- Melons and squash: These plants share similar growing requirements and often work well together.
- Radishes: They can deter pests like the cucumber beetle, which could otherwise damage your cucumbers.
- Oregano and sage: These herbs can repel sap-sucking aphids and squash bugs.
Remember to avoid planting cucumbers near potatoes, as they can inhibit cucumber growth.
Other Companion Plants for Peas
Pairing your pea plants with suitable companions can also increase their health and productivity. Some excellent options include:
- Carrots: This root vegetable can make use of the different soil layers, limiting competition for nutrients.
- Garlic, chives, and onion: These plants can repel pests and their strong smell can help deter animals from nibbling on pea plants.
- Mint: A versatile herb, mint can repel pests like aphids while attracting pollinators.
- Alyssum: This low-growing plant can attract pollinators to help increase your pea yield.
- Turnip, parsnips, and leeks: These vegetables can take advantage of different soil depths, reducing competition for space and nutrients.
- Tomatoes: They can repel pests like the armyworm, which can harm your pea plants.
However, keep in mind that peas typically don’t grow well near onions, scallions, or garlic, as these can stunt their growth.
Feel free to mix and match these companion plants in your garden to support the health and growth of your peas and cucumbers.
How to Keep Your Cucumbers and Peas Healthy in the Garden
Growing cucumbers and peas together in your garden can be a great way to maximize space and yield. However, these plants can be susceptible to various diseases and pests that can hinder their growth and productivity. Here are some tips to help you keep your cucumbers and peas healthy and thriving in your garden.
Powdery mildew can affect both cucumber and pea plants. You’ll notice this disease form as a white, powdery substance on the leaves and stems of your plants. Here are some ways you can prevent the formation of powdery mildew:
- Ensure proper air circulation by spacing your plants adequately.
- Prune cucumbers for better airflow and increased production
- Minimize wetting plant leaves by watering at the base
- Spraying with baking soda or neem oil
- Neem oil root soak
Protect Your Cucumbers from Beetle Infestation
Cucumber beetles can be a significant threat to your cucumber plants, as they can transmit bacterial wilt, which can cause them to wither and die. Here are some effective ways to control cucumber beetles and reduce the risk of bacterial wilt:
- Use plant covers or row covers to keep cucumber beetles away from your plants.
- Remove weeds from your garden, as cucumber beetles feed on them.
- Plant tansy, catnip, or radish plants nearby to repel cucumber beetles with their fragrant aroma.
- Use organic insecticides to control the beetle population.
Prevent Diseases in Your Pea Plants
Pea plants can also be susceptible to various diseases such as root rot and fusarium wilt. Here are some preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk of these diseases:
- Practice crop rotation, alternating where you plant peas each year to prevent the buildup of pathogens.
- Ensure proper drainage in your garden to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot.
- Use organic treatments to control pests and diseases, such as neem oil or copper fungicides.
Keep an Eye on Your Garden Hygiene
Gardening is more than just sowing and planting seedlings – to keep your plants healthy you need to focus on those maintenance tasks that so many of us forget about. Here are some additional tips to help you keep your garden clean and healthy:
- Remove any dead or diseased plant material promptly.
- Disinfect your garden tools regularly to prevent the spread of pathogens.
- Monitor your plants frequently for signs of diseases and pests, such as wilting, yellowing, or chewed leaves.
With a little effort and consistency, you can ensure that your cucumbers and peas grow together successfully in your garden and produce to their full potential.
By taking advantage of these natural synergies between cucumbers and peas, you can create a more efficient and productive garden. So go ahead and give this plant duo a try in your garden for healthier plants and a greater harvest.
To make the most out of this pairing, remember to:
- Plant peas first, giving them a head start on growing before introducing the cucumbers.
- Provide a trellis or other support system for cucumbers to climb if the pea plants aren’t enough.
- Ensure that both plants receive adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients for optimal growth.
Check out these must-have gardening products
You don’t need much to start gardening, but some tools and products will make a difference in how comfortable and effective gardening can be for you. Here are my favorites:
- Garden Trowel. A good garden trowel will last you many years. I love how sturdy this hand trowel from WOLF-Garten is, the metal doesn’t bend and it has a nice grip.
- Trimming Scissors. I use them for delicate pruning and harvesting all summer long, and they’re super handy. These Teflon Trimming Scissors are extra nice because they don’t rust as easily.
- Dutch Hoe. Dutch hoes may seem old-fashioned, but there’s nothing like a quick sweep through the topsoil to get rid of small weeds – no bending required. I love WOLF-Garten’s selection: this dutch hoe coupled with their universal handle.
- Grow Lights. These grow lights from Mars Hydro are super strong, yet dimmable, so they fit every stage of growth. They don’t put out too much heat and are very economical.
- Seedling Trays. There’s an art to choosing the best size for seedling trays so that it holds the perfect amount of water and gives the roots enough room to grow. These germination plugs are perfect when coupled with 1020 bottom trays.
- Liquid Fertilizer. You’ll need to feed your plants from the seedling stage, all the way to fruiting. This organic fish & seaweed blend is a very versatile option. Use it half-strength for young plants and full-strength for established plants.
Browse our list of tools, fertilizers & pesticides, indoor growing products and seed shop recommendations – we hope you find our selection useful and it saves you some time!