Kale is a green, leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is rich in nutrients such as fibre, vitamin C, manganese, and more. Kale plants, grown for their edible leaves, belong to the cabbage family with green or purple leaves. As a result of its ability to thrive during the cooler seasons of the year, it has become a great companion to many plants in the garden.
Growing Kale through Companion Planting
It’s important to carefully select plants to grow together with kale in the same garden space. The reason for this is that companion planting can be a dream come true for every farmer but could also be a nightmare when it’s not correctly done. We will therefore explore 20 unique plants you can grow with your kale in the same space without any hindrance to other plants.
1. Lemon grass
Planting lemongrass with kale makes up a compatible pair because of the pest-deterrent abilities of lemongrass. But asides from being a general pest deterrent, the smell of lemon grass can mask the kale from being detected by pests that depend on smell to plague kale. Thus, lemongrass makes an excellent plus to the garden space as you have more from the same planting space.
Capsaicin is a pest-deterrent substance found in Jalapenos; its hot smell is why it can deter pests. Asides from pests, it can also deter certain small animals (such as rabbits) from the kale plantation. Jalapeno makes an excellent companion to kale because of all the reasons mentioned earlier and because it wouldn’t compete with kale for the same soil nutrients.
Habanero is one of the plants that belong to the Capsicum species and has a sort of hot-smelling sensation. This sensation is a massive turnoff for many kale pests, making habanero a good companion of kale in the garden space. Habanero would also not compete with the soil nutrients that kale needs to grow.
4. Bush Beans
Bush Beans are a part of the legumes plant family; they exhume nitrogen which kale needs to grow correctly. Planting bush beans and kale in the same garden ensures the kale is appropriately fed with a healthy nitrogen supply.
Dill attracts the enemies of kale pests, making dill a friend to kale. Both plants serve well as companions because of this reason. Dill attracts predatory insects; these insects are pests to pests of dill. Dill has also been said to help the growth of kale when both are cultivated within the same space.
Scallions grow fast and occupy an almost unnoticeable space within the planting space. They, therefore, combine well with kale to help the farmer make the best use of the farm space. Aside from maximizing space, scallions also repel several garden pests unforgiving to kale.
Garlic is a selfless plant with several benefits to kale in the same garden space. For one, garlic consumes only a tiny bit of space which is good news for you, the farmer, because you can get more within a small land space. Secondly, garlic is a strong pest repellant. Many pests that would harm kale are repelled by the pungent smell of garlic, which is good news for kale.
Onions are another member of the Allium plant family that grows well with kale. Onions have a strong scent that repels many garden pests, including that kale. Onions also loosen the soil structure as they grow within the ground, providing better aeration for the kale.
Leeks have a pungent and strong smell. Smells have deterred many garden pests over the ages of human farming experiences. Leeks help kale by deterring some of kale’s most vicious pests. Leeks also create a better-aerated ground structure for kale to develop.
Weeds are dreadful within farming spaces. One of the many essential reasons farmers employ companion planting is to keep weeds checked off. Cucumber serves the purpose of weed control in the kale farming space; it helps the farmer save money that would have been invested in herbicides. The cucumbers also provide fantastic soil warmth for kale in the heat of the hot and sunny seasons.
Radishes grow pretty well with kale because they do not compete for the same nutrient set from the earth. Then, asides from this, planting radishes alongside kale ensures a plentiful harvest from the same planting area.
Nasturtiums attract some of the nastiest kale pests to the farming space. But this is no disadvantage, as many farmers use the nasturtium to distract these pests from the kale. However, the nasturtium is sacrificed to the pests. For this to work, however, the nasturtium must be planted reasonably from the kale.
Cayennes are another set of hot peppers that work well when planted with kale. This pepper plant has the potential to repel insects as well as animal pests from the kale farm, thereby ensuring a well-protected kale farm. Cayenne will also not compete with kale for the same set of soil nutrients, thereby keeping the kale healthy and prosperous.
The leaves of Cilantro have a smell that deters certain pests of kale, but there are better ways of combining this plant with kale. Cilantro flowers attract prey to kale pests, thereby eliminating the threats to the survival of kale within the farm space.
Calendula has a strong scented stance, and this works to repel many garden pests, including those of kale. The calendula flowers add some aesthetic colors to the garden space. Still, they also attract beneficial insects to the kale plantation.
16. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum attracts many predatory insects to the kale plantation. This means that the insects that prey on kale are in trouble just because sweet Alyssum is in the same planting space. Sweet Alyssum also attracts beneficial pollinators, such as bees, to keep the kale pollinated. On the sidelines, sweet Alyssum is the perfect addition of aesthetic fragrance to the kale farm in terms of looks and smell.
17. White Mexican Marigolds
White Mexican Marigolds, also known as African marigolds, are another pest-repellant plant that works well with kale. Marigolds have been known to keep pests away from garden space, even pests that plague the garden space beneath the soil surface. That means the kale plantation is safe above and below ground level when planted in the company of African Marigolds. When both plants are combined in the same planting space, the population of aphids dwindles because the Marigolds attract predatory syrphid flies that prey on kale pests.
Peas are a great way to supply nitrogen to the soil, and nitrogen is an excellent booster for the growth of kale. Therefore, peas and kales make a superb duo on the same land area.
Chives do not create any substantial form of nutrient competition for kale when both are planted as companions because chives are light feeders. Chives are also pest repellants to some of the strongest pests of kale.
Buckwheat creates a ground cover under which kale can access a good moisture supply needed to remain fresh and thrive. The spreading nature of buckwheat keeps weeds out of the kale planting space. It also increases the soil’s nitrogen content, which greatly benefits kale.
Precautionary Measures for Using Kale Companion Plants
Just as there are good companions, there are also bad companion plants. Choosing the right companion for your kale could be greatly beneficial. Sunflowers, for instance, will hinder kale from thriving in the same garden space, so keep them off.
Tomatoes will also hinder kale because they create heavy competition for the same soil nutrients as kale. Strawberry pests will also destroy kale, so keep them off your garden.
It’s best to keep these plants away from your kale plantation to get the best results of kale companion planting.