The Benefits Of Matching Cucumbers With Corn In The Garden

The crawling vines of cucumbers and the sky-high reach of corn seem to be very different types of plants, but these garden plants are, in fact, companion plants. That is, specific types of plants that help to support the growth of one another. The benefits of planting cucumber and corn together are actually numerous and could help both crops do better in most areas.

For example, cucumber plants tend to have very shallow root systems, which means they won't dig deep into the spaces where corn's much more robust root systems are present. Meanwhile, cucumber does OK with some light shade, which means it can still perform well even if the corn stalks get several feet high. By contrast, trying to plant corn with tomato doesn't work well because both plants need ample direct sunlight and have similarly deep root systems, making it far more difficult to grow side-by-side. Corn also doesn't go well with eggplant, cauliflower, or cabbage.

Companion plants are an important investment in any garden setup because they allow you to make the best use of your space, which often means yielding more of your favorite vegetables and fruits, even if you have a smaller plot of land to dedicate to a garden. There are a few steps to take to ensure the best companion gardening in your space, especially if you want to focus on these two popular produce.

Benefits of planting corn and cucumbers together

Growing corn and cucumber together can be to the mutual benefit of both, starting with space. Corn requires a good amount of space to grow both in height and in width, but once it begins to tower upward, the space around the base of the stalks is readily available for other plants to use, including the light-shade-tolerant cucumber, which stays close to the ground and spreads outward (unless it has something to latch onto and climb).

When planted together, you may notice, over time, your cucumbers' vines moving upward and using the strong corn stalks as a natural vertical support. That's a good thing because it often allows for the cucumbers to flower more readily while keeping new cucumbers off the ground, where they're more susceptible to insects. Cornstalks tend to be very strong, which means they can tolerate even the most aggressive of cucumber vines, and the corn produced won't be impacted during the process. This said, you want to consider the eventual size of your cucumber; larger fruits can weigh stalks down, requiring additional support like a trellis.

Also note that, as long as you keep your garden's soil moist, your corn will likely grow quickly, and as it does, it'll provide a nice level of shade to those new cucumbers. That helps to contribute to a sweeter and less bitter cucumber. This is especially important in very high-temperature areas or in areas where the sun's heat has been relentless for a few weeks.

Planting corn and cucumbers together for success

To make the most out of any companion planting process, consider the specific plant varieties selected. Be sure the corn you select is a tall, fast-growing variety and that the cucumbers are shade-tolerant. Once you have the best selection of plant varieties, your next step is to start planting the corn. Most varieties grow quickly, allowing the early shoots to clear the ground surrounding them. Once they start to grow, you can plant cucumber plants around the base, generally speaking, keeping all plants at least 6 to 8 inches from each other.

Both plants need the soil to remain moist, but neither benefits from being supersaturated or water that doesn't drain away. Be sure the soil itself is loose to allow all root systems to take hold and move deeply into it. The cucumbers will help with moisture retention as they spread over the ground. That's going to benefit the corn at the same time.

While neither of these plants offers any level of insect protection, which is a very common reason to focus on companion planting, you could add in some dill. Dill's strong scent is what helps it to keep pests away, and that will benefit all three plants (as they make for a fabulous, homegrown salad, too!). Some experts believe the strong scent also adds a bit of a dill-like flavor to the cucumbers. Plant the dill just outside the area where your cucumbers are to see it flourish.