Okra is a tasty vegetable and popular in many parts of the world. It grows well in most soils and can be planted in both the spring and fall. When planting okra, you may want to look for companion plants to shield the plant from the sun and protect it from pests — but is squash one of them?
You cannot plant okra and squash together. The squash attracts nematodes in the soil, which feed on your okra roots and may destroy your okra crop. Avoid planting most vine plants like squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes with okra. Instead, plant chilies, basil, and radishes.
This article will look at why you shouldn’t plant okra with squash. It’ll also look at which companion plants are best to plant with okra and give you helpful tips to protect okra plants from diseases.
Can You Grow Okra and Squash Together?
If you’re growing a vegetable garden, your goal is to get as much use of the available space without damaging your plants. You’ll also want to make use of natural fertilizers and pest control. One way to do so is to plant a companion plant — though not all plants necessarily go together.
You can grow okra plants with squash. However, doing so may affect the growth of your okra plants. Squash plants attract nematodes, which feed off okra roots, causing stunted growth and affecting the crop output.
Also, avoid planting okra directly after a squash harvest, as the nematodes will still be in the soil.
All of the above aside, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any benefits to growing okra and squash together. Squash is a vine plant and can help shade your okra plants, which can improve their growth in the summer months. Squash plants can also grow in vines between the okra plants and won’t take as much space as other companion plants.
You can also grow squash and okra in the same season since both prefer similar conditions. If you rotate your plants properly, you can grow two crops of squash and okra in the same year since both plants grow quite fast.
However, I don’t recommend growing squash and okra together since both plants react differently to nematodes. What’s beneficial for squash plants can harm okra plants, so you’ll have to find a different companion plant for okra and plant squash after the okra harvest. You can grow okra in the spring for a summer harvest and plant squash in the summer for a fall harvest.
What Plants Can You Grow With Okra?
When choosing a companion plant for okra, look for beneficial plants that won’t compete for space or resources. Look for plants that will repel common okra pests, such as cabbage worms, or those that release helpful nutrients into the soil. Companion planting is all about finding the right symbiotic balance between two plants within their natural ecosystem.
The best plants to grow with okra are basil, pepper, sunflowers, lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers. These plants are easy to grow and provide many benefits in terms of soil nutrients and pest protection.
Let’s look at how each companion plant benefits okra plants:
Basil is an excellent companion plant for okra since it has a sharp natural fragrance that repels most pests. Because of this, basil is a favorite for most home gardeners, and it can be grown most of the year. Okra plants benefit basil by providing shade in hot weather, helping the basil flourish.
Pepper and okra are a favorite combination among home gardeners and have multiple benefits for each other. Pepper plants are fragile since their roots are quite shallow and can benefit from deep-rooted okra plants. In turn, pepper plants repel cabbage worms and other pests that eat the leaves of okra plants.
Sunflowers grow well with most plants, and okra plants are no exception. Sunflower plants can benefit from the tall okra plants and can attract pollinators for okra flowers. The same is true for most garden flowers, such as canola and zinnias.
Lettuce plants are the best companion plants for most vegetable gardens since they have shallow roots and won’t compete for sunlight. Lettuce plants don’t grow tall and can benefit from the shade provided by okra plants. When growing lettuce with okra plants, you’ll likely have a better harvest for both crops.
Radishes are similar to lettuce plants and have shallow roots. They also benefit from the shade provided by okra plants and will loosen up the soil for the okra plants’ roots. If you’re looking to diversify the plants in your vegetable garden, try matching radishes with okra.
While cucumbers are great companion plants to okras, they may require more space than other companion plants. However, since both plants grow in cooler weather and wet soil, you can easily harvest them both in the same season.
Squash is relatively easy to grow and a favorite among home gardeners. You can protect your squash plants from pests by planting them with the right companion plants. You can also improve your squash plants’ growth with companion plants that add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil.
The best plants to grow with squash include beans, peas, catnip, mint, and sunflowers. These plants can benefit from the shade provided by the squash vines, help repel squash pests and add nutrients that boost squash plant growth.
Be aware that while squashes will grow well with most vegetables, some are better paired than others.
Let’s look at what makes these plants perfect for growing with squash:
Beans can grow in soils with little to no nitrogen and won’t compete with squashes for nutrients. They also release nitrogen into the soil, which may accelerate the growth of squashes. This makes them the perfect companion plant for squash.
Peas, like squashes, are vine plants and don’t take up as much space if planted properly. They also release nitrogen and make a great companion plant for squashes. Peas are relatively easy to grow and a home gardener’s favorite, so you can easily grow them in the same space as squash.
Catnip is a unique plant that might not be a popular home vegetable but is great for your squash plants nonetheless. Catnip can repel squash bugs and other pests that damage vine crops. If your garden is struggling with a squash bug infestation, try planting catnip along with the vegetables.
Mint is a favorite companion plant in most vegetable gardens since it grows well in the shade of other plants. Mints also have a strong odor that will repel most pests, making them the perfect companion to squash plants. Plus, it can grow even under low light conditions, so you don’t have to worry about the squash shielding it from the sun.
Sunflowers are great companion plants in the summer as they provide much-needed shade for other vegetables to flourish. Sunlights also won’t compete for soil resources since they don’t have as deep roots as many bush plants.
Do You Need To Grow Companion Plants With Okra?
Okra is a hardy plant and grows well in most soils. However, it’s also susceptible to many diseases and pests. It’s also unlikely you’ll only want to harvest okra in your vegetable garden. So, what are the benefits of growing companion plants with okra?
You do not need to grow companion plants with okra, but you can benefit from a diversified garden. Companion plants can help protect okra plants against pests and diseases and add nutrients to the soil, which may help your okra plants flourish.
Many organic farmers will plant companion plants among their primary crops for a better yield. The companion plants also act as a natural pest barrier and can reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
Although you can theoretically grow okra and squash together, it’s not recommended since squash plants may attract pests that feed on okra plants. It’s better to plant chilies, radishes, or sunflowers with okra plants as these naturally repel pests and may benefit from the shade okra plants provide.
You can also plant companion plants like beans, peas, mint, and sunflowers with squash. These plants will repel pests that attack squash plants and add nutrients to the soil that may encourage faster growth.