Spinach is such a great crop to grow in your garden. Spinach isn’t a tricky plant to grow if provided with all its required environmental needs. Give it the right sun, suitable soil, and the proper nutrients to grow, and it will provide harvests all season long. But if you include a few spinach companion plants, that growth will be stronger and healthier with far fewer opposing environmental challenges like pests and diseases.
The Best Spinach Companion Plants You can Grow in Your Gardens
The best spinach companions are the ones that do not compete for nutrients and water and can offer shade and or pest control:
Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Turnip, Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, and Brussels Sprouts
Members of the brassica family like cabbage, kale, broccoli, turnip, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, and others from the cabbage family make great companions for spinach. Other plants in the brassica family will also make good companions.
They all share very similar growing needs and environments and will not compete. Therefore, spinach will not impact the growth of cabbage family plants.
Help keep weeds down: Spinach planted in open spots where brassicas grow will help keep weeds down. You can harvest the spinach before the brassicas fill in and take over the growing space.
- We have a blog post dedicated to the best companion plants for turnips. It’s a great resource to use if you are planning your vegetable garden.
- Check out this article for more information on companion planting with kale.
- Weeds are the bane of all gardeners everywhere. Learn how weeds grow to understand the best ways to control weeds in your garden.
Beans and Peas
Pole beans, green beans, and peas are grown vertically, so they make excellent companions for spinach. Other plants in the legume family will also make good companions for spinach.
The peas and beans will help shade the spinach from the harsh afternoon sun.
Beans, bush beans, and peas will also fix nitrogen into the soil, which will help the spinach grow bushy and turn dark green.
The spinach, in turn, acts as a living mulch under the bean plants keeping the soil cool and moist.
Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants
Tomato, pepper, and eggplants are part of the nightshade family and make good companion plants for spinach.
These plants do not compete for nutrients; they grow alongside each other like common buddies.
There’s evidence that both nightshades and spinach work well when planted one after the other. The nutrients they leave in the soil are beneficial for a second planting.
- Learn More: We have a post list for the best Eggplant companion plants. Check it out if you want to grow healthy sweet eggplants in your veggie patch this year.
We have a few great growing guides for nightshades that you may find helpful as well:
- How to fertilize peppers for robust harvests
- How to stop tomatoes from splitting
- How to grow cherry tomatoes in pots
- How to Prevent and Treat Blossom End Rot
Radishes are also excellent companions and bring many benefits to the garden.
Radish plants repel cabbage maggot, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles.
Radishes make good companions to spinach. They can serve as a trap crop for leaf-mining insects and other harmful insects.
You can plant several different leafy vegetables alongside spinach that will not compete for nutrients.
Lettuce, swiss chard, field mustard greens, and watercress are leafy greens that you can plant with spinach with great success.
Densely planted beds or rows will help prevent weeds, prevent soil erosion, and keep the soil well shaded and moist.
Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Onions, and Shallots
Allium family plants like garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and shallots are just a few of the many allium plants you can plant successfully with spinach. Other plants in the allium family will grow very nicely aside from your spinach plants.
Leeks make great companion plants; they help prevent carrot fly infestations from attacking the spinach.
Garlic will discourage other pests, like beetles, aphids, leaf miners, carrot rust flies, and spider mites, which will help with higher yields of harvestable spinach.
Garlic also collects sulfur in the soil, a natural preventative measure against diseases.
As companion plants, chives also help repel undesirable pests such as cabbage worms, slugs, aphids, and beetles.
Learn More: Garlic works as a companion plant for so many different garden plants from preventing carrot rust fly to stopping diseases in their tracks. We have an article that outlines all the best companion plants for garlic as well as the ones you will want to avoid.
Strawberry plants and spinach are two plants that do not compete with one another. Strawberries make excellent companion plants for spinach because they go after nutrients at two different levels in the soil, so they do not compete with one another.
Spinach will also provide shade as the strawberry plant grows.
Strawberries also benefit from the saponin produced by spinach, which is both antibacterial and antifungal.
- Learn More: Strawberries are one of our best and favorite crops to grow, and we always include companion plants in our beds every year. Check out the must-have Strawberry Companion Plants for your garden.
Nasturtiums will act as a barrier against many harmful insects, making them one of the best companion plants you can plant with your spinach. These flowering plants can help to repel, confuse, deter, and trap:
- Cabbage worms
- Cucumber beetles
- Colorado potato beetles
- Mexican bean beetles
- Squash bugs
- Carrot files
- Cabbage moths
They also act as a trapping crop for insects like flea beetles.
The flowers of the nasturtium plants act as a colorful aromatic beacon for beneficial bugs like bees, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs.
The lush foliage will help create a living ground cover making a blanket over the soil. In addition, plants that protect the soil will help keep moisture evaporation low and cool the ground soil during the hottest days of summer.
- Learn More: Nasturtium plants are one of the most popular companion plants to add to your garden. Our complete guide lists the best and worst companions you should check out before planning your gardening beds.
- Related: Also, check out our complete guide on how to grow lush, healthy nasturtiums in your gardens.
Marigolds make excellent spinach companion plants to add to your garden beds. The heavily scented blooms have several benefits in the veggie garden:
Marigold’s bright colors and the heady scent will attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory wasps. Ladybugs will happily lunch on aphids which will protect the tender spinach leaves.
The flowers of the French marigolds are said to repel harmful insect pests. Marigolds’ strong aroma will help keep bugs at bay. It’s been reported marigolds can help repel tomato hornworms and Mexican bean beetles.
Spider mites, slugs, and Japanese beetles love eating marigolds. Planting the flowers on the edge of your spinach bed can help trap these harmful bugs before they make their way into your spinach.
Marigolds can help the soil. Tilling the flowers into the soil can destroy root-knot nematodes. Densely planting marigolds around your crops can also help choke out weeds and help keep the soil cool and moist.
- Learn More: Marigolds make an excellent companion plant for countless fruits and vegetables around the vegetable garden. Check out our list for the best (and the worst) companion plants for marigolds.
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The Worst Companions For Spinach
There are several plants you will want to avoid planting next to your spinach plants. These plants will compete for nutrients and cause stunted growth:
Potatoes and spinach will fight it out for nutrients. The root systems of potatoes can grow at the same level in the soil as spinach, and they will compete for moisture and nutrients.
Fennel is what we call an allelopathic plant. Allelopathic plants send out chemical compounds into the surrounding soil. These compounds stunt the growth of many fruits and vegetables in the garden. So it’s best to keep the fennel away from your spinach plant.
Sunflowers are also allelopathic plants and will inhibit the growth of spinach. In addition, sunflowers are heavy feeders and will deplete the ground and compete for nutrients with the spinach plants.
Sunflowers can also provide too much shade for the spinach plants making it difficult for the spinach plant to grow.
- Related: Learn how to grow sunflowers and how to get the best out of these beautiful plants around the garden.
How to Plant and Grow Healthy Robust Spinach in your Garden
Here is a simple planting guide to help you get delicious tender spinach plants:
Season: Cool season crop (plant spinach in early spring or fall).
Exposure: Spinach likes full sun but will grow well in partial shade.
Planting Out: Spinach is a cool-weather crop. Therefore, you can direct sow 3-4 weeks before and three weeks after the last frost date in your area.
Spinach will bolt once the days grow long and hot.
Seed Starting: Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep with 2-3 inches spacing. Over plant seeds as spinach only has a 65% germination rate. Plant spinach out 2 weeks before your last frost date.
Soil Requirements: Planting spinach in soil with a pH level of 6-6.5 will ensure healthy growth. This leafy green is a heavy feeder that requires soil rich in organic material. You can add 1 inch of compost to your planting area before planting. The soil also must be well-draining, especially if you want to overwinter your spinach.
Harvesting Spinach: Pick when the leaves are four inches long for baby greens. You can pick individual leaves until the plant has started to bolt.
Pests and Diseases: Common pests that attack spinach plants are aphids, leaf miners, cutworms, slugs and snails, and flea beetles. Spinach can also be affected by downy mildew and viruses. Luckily companion planting can help with that problem.
The Benefits of Companion Planting
Companion planting is a fantastic way to solve many common gardening problems without resorting to harmful chemicals. It can even reduce the amount of weeding you have to do! Expected benefits of companion planting are:
Companion Plants Can Help Attract Pollinators
Using flowers as companion plants for your vegetable crops can help attract bees and other pollinators. Those pollinators will help increase yields in your vegetable gardens.
Companions Will also Help Attract beneficial Predatory Insects
Many plants attract helpful bugs like parasitic wasps and ladybugs, which will feed on pests like aphids.
Companion Planting Can Help Repel Harmful Insects
Some plants have strong scents that control common garden pests, such as squash bugs and tomato worms. Or they attract harmful pests and work as a trap crop to keep these pests away from your veggies.
Adding a Companion Plant can Also Help Improve the Soil
Some flowers like marigolds help destroy root-knot nematodes that live in the ground and destroy plants below. Other plants can act as mulch to keep the ground cool and retain moisture.
They Help Control Weeds
Densely planting under plants like beans or in open spaces around other veggies like spinach makes it difficult for weeds to take hold.
Companion Planting Will Help Prevent The Spread of Diseases
Diseases are spread more quickly through your garden when plants of the same type are planted in a large grouping. Adding different species throughout the planting can help break up the garden and slow the spread of diseases like powdery mildew or blight.
Spinach Companion Planting
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Companion planting isn’t 100% guaranteed, and what works for some people may not work for you. I think of companion planting as my plan B. Think about your issues before choosing a partner to get the most out of companion planting.
For example, if aphids are an issue in your garden, try planting marigolds. Or, if you want a robust tasty strawberry crop, consider growing your spinach in your strawberry bed.
If you want to learn more about companion planting, we recommend reading” Carrots Love Tomatoes.”
What Should You Plant With Spinach? Good companion plants for spinach are cabbage, kale, cauliflower, eggplants, lettuce, brussels sprouts, strawberries, garlic, lettuce, watercress, radish, beans, peas, nasturtiums, marigolds. Avoid planting spinach near fennel and potatoes.
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