Companion plants for squash

If you are toying with starting a garden and don’t know where to start, squash is where it’s at. There are quite a few varieties {some that will store nearly all winter}, they offer high yields, and are pretty easy to grow.

Because squash can be susceptible to pests and disease, I typically use companion planting to ward off as much as I can. Plus, using companion planting to enhance all of their awesomeness is another way to grow organically {and send a message to Mother Nature saying, “Hey, I get it, let’s do it your way.”}

If you are growing squash this year, here is a list of companion plants to try pairing it with:

  1. Beans. Beans provide their own nitrogen {and give some back to the soil as well}, so they will leave plenty of nitrogen goodness for squash to grow.
  2. Peas. Peas do the same as beans, so mix and match or pick whichever you prefer.
  3. Corn. In the dead heat of summer, corn will provide a nice amount of shade for squash.
  4. Marigolds. Marigolds deter pests. You can pretty much integrate them into any crop.
  5. Catnip or Tansy. Both have been shown to reduce squash bugs–which WILL happen, so might as well make it less desirable for them to hang around.
  6. Sunflowers. Sunflowers do the same thing as corn in that they provide shade for squash plants in the dead of summer.
  7. Mint. The strong odor of mint will help deter pests.
  8. Nasturtiums. This is another flower that will repel insects. Mix them in with the marigolds and people will think you were just going for aesthetics, instead of being the master gardener that you are. 🙂
  9. Radish. Again, the aroma is said to keep pests away.

Do you plan on using companion planting with your squash this year?


Companion Planting with Squash

Squash is a delicious and easy to grow vegetable that is fairly popular in several countries. There are many, many different kinds and each has its own hardiness, flavor, and look. Companion planting is a great way to keep your garden healthy and avoid many pests and diseases that can kill the plants. There are many different ways to companion plant, planting them close to each other, using one as mulch for another, etc. There are also many benefits to it as well besides just preventing bugs and diseases, some planting can help boost flavor of each other and some can help others grow better by adding nutrients. Here are some ideas to help decide what plants you would like to plant with your squash to help them grow better and healthier.

There are two main types of squash, summer and winter. While many people think this is the time of the year to grow them, it is in fact not. The names summer and winter were originally used to describe how long they could be stored. For instance, winter squash can be stored all the way through winter while summer squash tends to only last through summer, fall and sometimes part of the winter. Summer quash varieties have a more tender skin and higher moisture content, hence why they do not keep long. Some of them are Crookneck, Zucchini (yellow and green) and Pattypan squash. Some of the winter are Spaghetti, Acorn, Hubbard, Banana, Butternut, and Gold Nugget squash.

The Native Americans had a practice of planting either squash or cucumbers with corn and either peas or beans in a circle. With the corn planted first in the middle, it gave support to the peas or beans that were planted around them while the squash or cucumbers planted on the outside gave a shade that prevented most weeds from growing and deterred many pests. These ‘sister’ plants all complimented each other and grew better when planted close to the other two.

Borage is an herb that can be used for medicinal purposes or to flavor food. The leaves taste like cucumbers and is generally used on salads as garnish. It is also high in vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. The flower is also edible and one of the few true-blue foods. Growing it around squash or close by deters cabbage worms and squash beetles. Bees love Borage and so do wasps. A good thing about Borage is that it will self-seed every spring so you will not need to replant it.

As many gardeners know, mint is a great herb to plant around almost all other plants. Squash is no exception. Its strong smell deters most of the bad insects and attracts the good ones. It is an invasive plant, meaning it has a tendency to take over many plants. If you don’t want to plant it, you can still chop up the leaves and use similar to mulch around the plants.

There are several other plants that can be used as companion plants for squash; radishes, cucumbers, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and cabbage. Each other these will either benefit from growing near squash or benefit the squash. Two plants that should never be planted near or close to any variety of squash are potatoes and tomatoes.

Zucchini Plant Companions: Plants That Are Compatible With Zucchini

Are you wondering about companion planting or what grows well with zucchini? Companion planting involves planting in carefully planned combinations that support diversity, take advantage of available garden space and provide benefits such as improved pest control and enhanced plant growth. Gardeners can take advantage of several plants that are compatible with zucchini. Read on to learn what those are.

Companion Plants for Summer Squash

Here are some good zucchini plant companions for the garden:

Radishes – Often considered the workhorse of the garden, radishes are small plants that are easily planted amid zucchini plants. These companion plants for summer squash and zucchini help repel common zucchini pests such as aphids, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and others. Radishes are good to eat, but they’ll help your zucchini more effectively if you allow a few plants to bloom and go to seed.

Garlic – A few garlic plants tucked among zucchini can help keep aphids and other pests in check.

Beans and peas – Zucchini plants are heavy feeders and legumes are beneficial because the roots fix nitrogen in the soil. Although any type of legumes will work, pole beans can be conveniently trained to grow up a trellis, thus saving precious garden space.

Nasturtiums and marigolds – Easy-to-grow annuals, nasturtiums and marigolds provide color and beauty to the garden, but that’s not all. Nasturtiums attract pests such as aphids and flea beetles, which means the pests are more likely to leave your zucchini alone. Try planting nasturtium seeds around the circumference of your zucchini patch. Marigolds planted near zucchini exude an aroma that pests don’t like and may be useful for discouraging nematodes. Both blooming plants attract bees, which zucchini plants require for pollination.

Herbs – Various herbs are useful for companion planting with zucchini. For example, the following herbs can help keep pests at bay:

  • Peppermint
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Catnip
  • Lemon balm
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Parsley

Blooming herbs, such as borage, attract bees, which pollinate zucchini blooms.

Summer squash does everything but plant itself. If you seek a vegetable that is easy to grow, flavorful and nutritious, look no farther. You can help summer squash thrive by planting it with companion plants.

If you have planted zucchini, patty pan, longneck, or yellow crookneck squash, you know what vigorous growers and prolific producers summer squash can be. Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) is ready for harvest in as little as seven weeks from planting.

Just-picked green zucchini squash from Kirby Farms in Mechanicsville, VA on Friday, Sep. 20, 2013. Kirby Farms is a third-generation family farm that covers 500 acres and generates produce and grains on a year-around operation. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

Squash, one of the oldest known cultivated crops, comes in both summer and winter varieties. Both are cultivated during the summer months.

However, summer squash is harvested in mid-summer while winter squash varieties are harvested as a fall crop. All of the many varieties of squash are excellent sources of potassium, phosphorous, calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

Good Neighbors For Squash

Experienced gardeners report that the key to successfully growing summer squash is to provide them with “good neighbors”: companion plants that repel unwanted insect pests that tend to gravitate to squash blossoms.

Companion plants are simply any plant that is beneficial to another when planted near each other. Companion plants attract pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden. Companion plants also act as “good neighbors” by adding nutrients to the soil and emitting a scent that confuses predatory insects in search of host plants.

“Good neighbors” plants for squash include radishes, corn, peas, beans, pumpkin, marigolds, and nasturtiums.

Corn, squash and cucumbers, and peas or beans planted together is a tradition established by Native Americans, who planted these three crops together in a raised mound. The practice, known as the Three Sisters, was originally intended to provide a bountiful crop of food from a single spot of fertile soil, as each crop is compatible with the other two.

Corn was always planted first so that the seedling had a chance to become established before the beans and peas so that these fast-growing vegetables would not overgrow the corn crop. The corn stalks would then act as a growing support for the vining beans and peas.

Corn, zucchini, beans, and marigolds planted together. Dan Ox / Flickr (Creative Commons).

When planted together, the spiky, hairy squash vines make it difficult for invading insects to reach the corn, peas, and beans. Squash, in turn, benefits from the shade provided by the cornstalks. Squash plants also provide dense soil coverage that helps deter weeds from popping up around the corn, peas, and beans.

Marigolds add color to the garden plot while helping to repel beetles and nematodes.

Borage is also effective in deterring insect pests and improves flavor and growth when planted in close proximity to summer squash.

Nasturtiums add color to the garden border and both the leaves and flowers are edible. Add both nasturtium flowers and leaves to salads for a spicy accent or use the flowers as a plate garnish. Nasturtiums thrive in a full-sun location, but will also grow well in partial shade. Nasturtiums are especially effective in repelling aphids, squash bugs, and beetles and enhance the flavor of summer squash and cucumbers.

Nasturtiums and marigolds also attract bees. Summer squash develops both male and female flowers. To develop fruit, pollen must be transferred from the male flowers to the female flowers. Summer squash flowers are typically pollinated by bees and are dependent on companion plants that encourage bees to visit the garden.

Radishes help deter squash bugs. Crisp, white and spicy icicle radishes are the most effective in repelling a diverse array of unwanted insects that feast on summer squash.

Summer Squash: Berry Or Vegetable?

It is of interest to note that summer squash is not a vegetable but rather a pepo – a type of hard-shelled berry. No matter if it is a berry or vegetable, summer squash is full of essential nutrients and fiber.

Summer squash can be eaten raw, cooked, or shredded. You can also grate it into baked goods. Squash is delicious breaded, baked, fried, or as a flavor enhancing ingredient in soups, salads, and stews.

Squash blossoms are also edible. Use them as a garnish in salads, or dipped tempura batter and fried.

Types Of Summer Squash

From short and stubby, to long and skinny, there are hundreds of different varieties of summer squash. Coloration varies from deep dark green to bright sunshine yellow, with surface textures ranging from smooth to ridged or lumpy.

Patty Pan Squash. David Blaine / Flickr (Creative Commons).Zucchini squash has a variety of colors. It can be green, yellow, green and white spotted, and pale green variegated. Mild and sweet, zucchini is at its peak when picked when young and firm. If allowed, zucchini will mature to considerable size. However, large summer squash tends to be a bit bland and watery, so it’s best to harvest when squash is small, firm, and flavorful.

I advise planting one squash plant for each person in the household. If you plant more, you will be up to your eyeballs in squash.

Crookneck squash. Beck / Flickr (Creative Commons).

Even if space is limited, urban homesteaders can grow summer squash in containers on a balcony, deck, or patio.

Several varieties form lengthy, rambling vines, while other varieties are bush-type plants that fit comfortably into a small garden plot or in planters on the patio.

Bush varieties of summer squash do exceptionally well in a large pot or five-gallon container with good drainage. Each pot will accommodate two to three summer squash plants, and with plenty of sunshine and consistent moisture, the yield can be phenomenal. Similar to other garden vine crops, summer squash thrives and produces the most abundance of fruit in warm weather.

Cultivating Summer Squash

Summer squash is easy to grow if you keep in mind the plant’s essential requirements of full sun, fertile soil, warm temperatures, and consistent moisture. Summer squash does well in almost any type of well-drained soil enhanced with plenty of organic compost.

I suggest loosening the soil and removing rocks, roots and debris, then mixing in a generous amount of well-aged herbivore (e.g. cow, sheep, goat, horse, llama) manure.

Zucchini cakes. One of the many, many dishes you can make with zucchini. Meg Lessard / Flickr (Creative Commons).

Best Soil For Summer Squash

Summer squash does best in soil with a pH of 6.0-6.7. The pH of soil affects the types and amount of nutrients available for plants to absorb through their roots. A low pH indicates a more acidic soil. A higher number indicates a more alkaline soil.

To determine the pH of your garden soil, take several random samples. Place soil samples in a sealable plastic bag and take the soil to your local county extension office for testing.

Do-it-yourself pH testing kits are also available for purchase online or at local home and garden stores. If your soil pH is low, you can increase the pH by adding wood ash or lime.

How To Plant Summer Squash

Plant summer squash in a mounded hill, planting three seeds to a hill. Position mounds about three feet apart to allow plenty of space for vining.

If space in the garden is limited, plant only the bush varieties of summer squash. It is best to plant seeds directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed as summer squash has a fragile root system and does not do well when transplanted.

Plant seeds one inch deep. Water well: squash plants require a minimum of one inch of water per week.

Takver / Flickr (Creative Commons).” width=”1200″ height=”800″ />

If you have an urban lot or rural field overrun with weeds, cultivating summer squash is one way to smoother weeds and clean up the land. For both the rural and urban homesteader, summer squash is a easy to grow, marketable crop.

Squash Storage Tips

When freezing summer squash for winter consumption, just wash and cut into quarter-inch thick slices. Dip slices in your favorite egg batter, roll in breadcrumbs, and place on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the squash is frozen, then package breaded squash slices in meal-sized portions and return to the freezer.

Lemon Coconut Yellow Squash Bread


  • Two cups white sugar
  • Three large eggs, beaten
  • Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • One cup of coconut oil (vegetable oil may be substituted)
  • Two teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • One teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • One teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • Three cups of white, all-purpose flour
  • One cup shredded coconut
  • Two cups shredded yellow summer squash
  • Three teaspoons of baking powder
  • Two tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Zest of one fresh lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9” by 23” baking dish or two small loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, and spices.
  3. Gradually add baking powder and flour, mixing well.
  4. Fold in shredded coconut, lemon juice, lemon zest, and squash.
  5. Transfer mixture to greased baking dish or loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes in a pre-heated oven or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

University of Illinois – Watch Your Garden Grow: Summer Squash

University of Minnesota – Growing zucchini and summer squash in Minnesota home gardens

The United States Environmental Protection Agency – Reusing Potentially Contaminated Landscapes: Growing Gardens in Urban Soils

Data Corp – Growing Fresh Market Pumpkins, Squash, and Gourds

The Best Squash Companion Plants for Your Backyard Garden

In this article: Learn which are the best squash companion plants to plant with both winter and summer squash varieties for a better harvest and less pests!

No matter if you are a new gardener or an experienced one, squash is a must have in your garden. Both summer and winter squash are easy to grow and just require fertile soil, full sun, and water.

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Companion planting with your squash can help your garden grow better, taste better, and have less problems with pests. So how does companion planting work? What can you grow with your squash and what should be kept far away?

Below you will find a list of squash companion plants that you can grow alongside your squash plants to prevent pests and disease. Plus a list of what you should keep separate from your squash bed.

If you are just getting started with squash, check out my complete guide to growing squash and some of my favorite squash varieties.

? In a Hurry? Get Started With Companion Planting Right NOW!
Pick up a copy of my Companion Planting Guide and Binder to help you design the perfect garden beds with companion planting in mind. Everything you need to know about companion planting in an easy to read format so you can start companion planting sooner!

Squash Companion Plants For a Better Squash Harvest

There are 2 types of squash that you can grow in your garden. Summer squash- which is your yellow squash or zucchini. And winter squash- which is your butternut, pumpkins, and candy roaster to name a few.

For the most part, the companion plants for both will be the same, but because of the differences in their growing habits, some crops are better suited than others for interplanting.

Winter Squash Companion Plants

Winter squash varieties have long vining plants that can take up a lot of room. Their long vines and dense leaves make it harder to interplant things around the individual plants.

The most common way of companion planting squash is using the 3 Sisters Method. This method was first used by the Native American tribes and it is still used today with great success.

The 3 sisters gardening includes planting corn, beans and squash together. Corn and squash have very similar soil and water needs making them well suited for planting together.

The beans are planted near the corn and are allowed to grow using the corn as support. Beans are a nitrogen fixing legume making it a good companion for both squash and corn.

The winter squash plants are then planted around the corn to keep the weeds down and help reduce pests such as raccoons from getting your corn.

Many experienced gardeners also say that planting these crops together improves the flavor of all 3.

You can also use the plants listed below as perimeter crops around your squash rows and beds to get even more companion planting benefits.

Summer Squash or Zucchini Companion Plants

Most summer squash varieties grow on shorter vines that take up much less space than winter squash. This makes it easier to interplant with different flowers and crops for a variety of benefits. You can companion plant the following with your squash:

Beans and Peas– These are both legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil, which will help your heavy feeding squash grow even better.

Flowering Herbs– such as rosemary, oregano, borage draw in beneficial insects and attracts bees for good pollination- which is essential in having a great squash harvest.

Annual Flowers– such as Marigold, Nasturtiums, and Calendula are great to interplant or perimeter plant around your squash vines. These flowers will provide a variety of services for your squash.

These flowers can act as trap crops for some pests and deter others. They will also draw in beneficial insects, such as the Tachinid Fly, and bees.

Sunflowers– Planting sunflowers alongside your squash can help shade your vines from the hot summer sun.

Squash Companion Plants For Pest Control

Squash, while easy to grow, do have certain pests that can be very hard to control, especially organically. Companion planting is a great tool to use to help keep pests away and keep your squash plants healthy and harvesting for longer. You can:

Grow nasturtiums with your squash to help keep that dreaded squash bug away.

Interplant White Icicle Radishes around the base of your squash plants to keep pests that feed on cucurbits- such as squash and cucumber- away. These radishes are not harvested but allowed to grow and flower all season.

Tansy can help repels squash bugs and cucumber beetles in your garden beds.

Marigold: Marigolds can be planted throughout your garden since they help with a variety of pests. Marigold is a good squash companion plant since it helps to repel cucumber beetles and other beetles that may feed on your squash vines.

Pro Gardener Tip: Timing can be important when it comes to keeping your squash plants pest free. Try planting squash again in fall for less pests since the life cycle of the major beetles will be over for the year. Alternately- Early planted squash can be more tolerant of borers.

What to Avoid Planting With Your Squash

Squash is a heavy feeding plant, so it should be planted apart from other heavy feeders so there is no competition for nutrients in the soil

Related Reading: 8 Ways to Improve Your Garden Soil for FREE!

Squash should also no be planted near potatoes. Potatoes can have an growth inhibiting affect on other crops and it is a very heavy feeder which would compete for soil nutrients.

Potatoes, Onions and other root crops can also disturb the shallow roots of squash plants, which can make them less strong and healthy.

Strong Aromatic Herbs can affect the taste of your squash plants, and many are also heavy feeders.

Once you’ve harvested your winter and summer squash, check out these articles on how to use them:

50+ Zucchini Recipes for Your Summer Harvest

How to Freeze Zucchini

15 Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipes

Spiced Pumpkin Butter– you can use almost any orange winter squash in this recipe- butternut and candy roaster are great!

Learn more about companion planting:

The Best Eggplant Companion Plants

The Best Garlic Companion Plants

The Best Tomato Companion Plants

I love to plant zucchini in the garden because it’s freaking expensive in the store and one plant will produce a ton of zucchini–making it a small space investment with big yields. Zucchini is super susceptible to a couple of pests, though, so I try to use companion planting {and the love of picking pests off and squeezing them to their deaths} part of my zucchini growing game plan.

Here’s some plants that play nice with {and actually help out} zucchini:

  1. Nasturtiums. Nasturtiums repel pests.
  2. Parsley. Parsley also deter pests from zucchini.
  3. Spinach. Spinach benefits from the shade zucchini provides in the dead of summer, and zucchini benefits from the nutrients spinach leaves behind.
  4. Radish. Radishes repel squash vine borers and beetles.
  5. Garlic. Garlic repels aphids. And vampires.
  6. Corn. Corn also helps to deter squash vine borers.
  7. Beans. Beans fix nitrogen to the soil, zucchini love nitrogen.
  8. Peas. Second verse, same as the first: these do the same thing as beans.
  9. Borage. Attracts bees, which you will need to pollinate the zucchini.
  10. Mint. Mint also deters aphids.

Zucchini plays nice with most plants {except potatoes, since they share a lot of the same pests}, but these ones are my fav because they actually provide some level of nutrients or protection for the zucchini. How about you, what do you plant next to your zucchini?


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