What Growers Should Know About Companion Crops for Cannabis
While Washington does not allow adults over 21 to grow their own weed, there are a few exceptions. Medical patients and those licensed to grow cannabis for a dispensary are two common examples of people in Washington state who legally grow weed. If you’re growing weed outdoors, you don’t want to neglect using companion crops for cannabis. Incorporating these helpful crops to your grow can take your harvest to the next level.
May 11, 2021
What is a companion crop?
A companion crop is any crop planted in close proximity to others because of the benefits it provides its neighbors.
The use of companion crops is common in gardening because the crops work synergistically, which can help you manage your overall garden. Some companion crops provide pest control, others house beneficial insects, and some provide shade among many other purposes.
Companion crops are no new invention. They’re about as old as agriculture itself. One of the more prominent examples of companion crop use is amongst some Native American communities who would plant “three sisters” gardens.
Three sisters gardens contained corn, bean, and squash. These crops were determined to work the best in conjunction, helping one another thrive and reach its potential.
There are certain companion crops for cannabis that are more beneficial than others. Try them out and see if they help your garden thrive!
Clover and cannabis
Clover is a great way to keep your cannabis crops healthy both as they are growing and in the off-season. This crop is a nitrogen fixer, which means it pulls nitrogen into the soil, which is beneficial for your cannabis crops.
Whether you plant your cannabis around a clover patch or use it to pull nitrogen into the soil during the offseason, your plants will thank you for the added nutrient boost.
Lemon balm companion crop
This perennial herb from the mint family is a great addition to any cannabis grow. Lemon balm is extremely fragrant, making it a powerful repellant for mosquitos and gnats.
Not only that, but its strong aroma will also attract pollinators into your space to help your cannabis thrive.
Keep in mind that lemon balm can get out of control if not managed. Be sure to pick it regularly to prevent it from taking over your garden entirely. It’s best to plant lemon balm in separate pots and keep them near your cannabis, rather than plant them alongside in the same bed.
Another benefit to the strong aroma of lemon balm is that it may cover some of the more fragrant parts of your crop. If you have snoopy neighbors, you may feel more at ease when the wind picks up if you have a strong lemon fragrance to cover up the dank smell of your plants.
Another useful pest-control companion crop is chrysanthemum. These plants contain a chemical called pyrethrin, a natural ingredient that is also found in commercial pesticide products.
Pyrethrin can kill insects upon first contact. When they touch the plants, they quickly become paralysed with a disrupted nervous system. As such, you can rely on chrysanthemums to keep your garden pest-free.
This herb is best known for its use as a relaxing tea, but it also makes a wonderful companion crop for cannabis. In fact, it serves several purposes to help your plants thrive.
First, chamomile provides potassium and calcium, releasing the two upon decomposition. This then feeds your cannabis plants and helps to strengthen and fortify their stems and other parts of the plant.
Another huge benefit of chamomile as a companion crop is a boost in essential oil production. Plant the chamomile around the borders of your cannabis plants and allow it to boost essential oil production and keep unwanted visitors away.
This annual herb, sometimes referred to as Chinese parsley, is another great addition to any cannabis grow.
Coriander produces a pungent aroma that scares away harmful bugs. But it doesn’t stop there. Its unique scent also draws in beneficial insects. For example, aphids and beetles may stay away from your crop after they catch a smell, but larger predators like wasps may stick around because they like the smell. In turn, they may ward off or kill other pests that try to sneak in.
The springtime is perfect for planting coriander. You can intermix coriander with your cannabis, just be sure to pick a place where the plants will stay, since they dislike being transplanted.
Other benefits of companion crops
Companion crops are great for so many reasons. They can work symbiotically to boost one another’s growth and progress, and can also make the soil in the general area significantly healthier.
Companion crops massively increase biodiversity in a garden. Biodiversity is important because crops and soil thrive in diverse environments, where diseases are less likely and the plants can stay strong. In soil without much diversity, plants can all quickly become sick with the same disease and die out.
You can save your main crop from disease with the help of companion crops. In the case of growing cannabis, companion crops actually serve as a buffer between the main crop and any disease, protecting your most precious crops.
There are many other companion crops that can be paired with cannabis and other plants in your garden. Tall sunflowers, for example, can help protect your plants against the wind or rain. They also have the added benefit of obscuring your plants from nosy neighbors.
A lot of companion crops are desirable assets to your garden, as well. Don’t forget to harvest your chamomile, lemon balm, and other companions for various uses. Our suggestion? Make a cannabis tea out of the scraps from your harvest and add lemon balm and chamomile for boosted therapeutic effects.
Don’t have time or the credentials to grow?
We understand that growing cannabis in Washington is not a super accessible activity. You must be a licensed grower or medical patient to participate in growing cannabis. As such, many people opt to get their cannabis at a local Washington dispensary location.
If you’re near Seattle, stop by our Seattle dispensary in Fremont for all of your weed needs. Up north? Our Bellingham pot shop is conveniently located downtown. If you’re on the east side, don’t forget to stop by our North Spokane weed store to get all of your cannabis needs fulfilled.
Stop by and say high today!