Corn Companion Planting Chart: A Comprehensive Guide for Gardeners

This corn companion planting chart will help you find the perfect partner for your cobby companions, and some that shouldn’t be let anywhere near them.

Companion planting is all about placing plants together that can help each other grow better. For corn, this means finding plants that can deter pests, enrich the soil, and even provide a bit of shade on those hot summer days.

Following the recommendations in this guide can help you maximize your garden’s potential, reduce the need for chemical pesticides, and even improve the taste of your corn.

corn on the cob

The Corn Companion Planting Chart

To use the chart below effectively, you need to understand your garden’s unique conditions. Every garden has its own microclimate, soil type, and pest issues. So, while the chart provides a general guide, you’ll need to adapt it to your garden’s specific needs.

🌽 Corny Clue: Start small. Choose a few companions from the chart and see how they perform with your corn. Monitor their growth, check for pests, and observe any changes in your corn’s health and yield. 🌽

Good Companions for Corn

These are the plants that play nicely with our corn, each bringing their own unique benefits to the garden party.

  • Basil: This fragrant herb is a real friend to corn. It deters the maize weevil, a common pest that loves to infest corn kernels. So, planting basil near your corn can help keep these pests at bay. Plus, you’ll have fresh basil on hand for your culinary creations!
  • Dill: Dill is like the pied piper of beneficial insects. It attracts parasitic wasps and other helpful critters that prey on pests like aphids, corn earworms, and cutworms. This natural pest control can be a real boon for your corn.

🌽 Corny Clue: Rotate your crops yearly to prevent disease build-up. 🌽

  • Nasturtiums: These vibrant flowers are more than just a pretty face. They act as a trap crop, luring aphids away from your precious corn. Planting nasturtiums, corn, and dill together can create a powerhouse of pest control.
  • Potatoes: Grow corn as green manure for your potato crops. This can reduce the risk of verticillium wilt by 60 to 70 percent, giving a boost to your potato yield.
  • Beans: Beans are like the best roommates your corn could ask for. They contribute nitrogen to the soil, promoting healthy corn growth, and they can use the cornstalks as vertical support.
  • Borage: This star-shaped flower is a champion at deterring insect pests and attracting beneficial insects. It’s a win-win for your corn.
  • Cucumber: Cucumbers act as a living mulch under corn, suppressing weeds and improving soil moisture retention. Plus, they can use the cornstalks as living trellises.

🌽 Corny Clue: Harvest corn when the silks turn brown for the sweetest kernels. 🌽

  • Marigolds: These sunny flowers deter a wide range of insect pests, providing a general pest protection in your garden.
  • Melons: Melon vines are excellent at suppressing weed growth and retaining soil moisture. Plus, they provide an additional harvest alongside your corn.
  • Thyme: This aromatic herb discourages pests, like corn earworms, from attacking your corn when planted nearby.
  • Peas: Peas are another nitrogen-fixing friend for your corn, and the corn can provide shade for well-established peas to continue growing.
  • Winter Squash: Winter squash vines smother weeds, improve soil moisture retention, and may even deter raccoons from accessing your corn.

Remember, every garden is unique, so feel free to experiment with these companions and see what works best for your corn. Happy gardening!

corn ready to harvest

Plants to Avoid Planting with Corn

Just as there are plants that make good companions for corn, there are also those that are best kept at a distance. These plants can compete with corn for nutrients, attract similar pests, or simply don’t play well with our star crop. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi): These heavy feeders can compete with corn for nutrients. Plus, corn can provide excessive shade for these sun-loving plants. So, it’s best to give them their own space in the garden.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes and corn can be a troublesome duo. They attract similar pests, such as moth larvae, which can wreak havoc on both crops. I’ve learned this the hard way in my own garden, so I recommend keeping these two apart.
  • Eggplant: Eggplant and corn share a common enemy – the tomato hornworm. This pest can spread easily between the two crops, causing significant damage. So, it’s best to keep them separated.
  • Fennel: Fennel is a bit of a garden loner. It can stunt the growth of nearby plants and requires a good deal of personal space. So, keep it separate from your corn and other crops.

Remember, successful gardening is all about balance. By understanding which plants to grow together and which to keep apart, you can create a harmonious and productive garden. Happy planting!

corn companion chart

The Three Sisters Method

Additional to the above list of Do’s and Don’ts, there is a method of planting corn that is as old as the hills, but remains as effective now as it did back then. It’s called the Three Sisters method, and it involves planting corn alongside beans and squash.

This trio of plants has been grown together by Native American communities for centuries. They’re called the Three Sisters because, just like siblings, they support and complement each other.

Here’s how it works:

  • The corn provides a natural trellis for the beans to climb.
  • The beans, in turn, enrich the soil with nitrogen, benefiting the corn.
  • The squash spreads along the ground, shading the soil and helping to retain moisture.
  • It’s a beautiful example of nature’s synergy, and it’s a technique I’ve used in my own garden with great success.

It’s a testament to the wisdom of ancient gardeners and a reminder that sometimes, the old ways are still the best ways.

Corn Characteristics

Here are some other factors to keep in mind when growing corn…

  • Sunlight: Corn requires full sun to grow. It needs a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day, but eight to ten hours is ideal.
  • Soil: Corn prefers well-drained soil with a pH between 5.8 and 7.0. It’s a heavy feeder, meaning it requires a lot of nutrients, particularly nitrogen. Therefore, it’s beneficial to amend the soil with compost or a balanced fertilizer before planting.
  • Temperature: Corn is a warm-season crop and does not tolerate frost. It’s typically planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 50°F (10°C). The optimal temperature for corn growth is between 60°F and 95°F (15°C – 35°C).
  • Water: Corn requires regular watering, as it has a relatively shallow root system. It’s particularly important to provide ample water during the tasseling and ear development stages.
  • Spacing: Corn is wind-pollinated, so it’s usually planted in blocks rather than rows to ensure good pollination. Seeds are typically planted about 1 inch deep and 4 to 6 inches apart, with 30 to 36 inches between rows.
  • Growth Time: Depending on the variety, corn can take anywhere from 60 to 100 days to reach maturity. Sweet corn varieties are usually harvested when the kernels are still immature and milky, while field corn is left to dry on the plant and harvested when the kernels are hard.
  • Pests and Diseases: Corn can be susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, including corn earworms, corn borers, rootworms, smut, and rust. Regular monitoring and appropriate control measures (and of course companion planting) can help keep these issues in check.

So, there you have it, the corn companion planting chart is a powerful tool that can help you maximize your garden’s potential and keep your corn happy and healthy (and tasty too). I encourage you to give it a try in your own garden.

Remember, every garden is a unique ecosystem, and with a bit of experimentation and observation, you’ll find the perfect companions for your corn. Happy gardening!

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