Introduction to vegetable garden companion plants
Companion planting is a great method to maximize the efficiency of your garden. For almost every vegetable you grow, there is likely to be a beneficial companion plant that will help increase soil nutrients, chase away pests, and provide some other benefit.
A step by step guide to companion plants for vegetable garden
Companions help each other grow and also use garden space efficiently. For example, tall plants provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants. Vines can cover the ground while tall stalks grow skywards, and allowing two plants to occupy the same patch. Companion planting in the home garden is an imitation of those symbiotic relationships and the best known in the wild and the garden are the Three Sisters are corn, beans, and squash. In this planting system, the corn gives support to the pole beans, which feed much-needed nitrogen to the corn and squash. The leaves of the squash mainly act as a mulch to keep the ground cool, suppress weeds, and conserve moisture.
What is companion planting?
The companion planting process is the practice of planting two or more plants together for mutual benefit. For example, certain plants might be grown together to help each other meet their nutrient requirements, growth habits, and pest-repelling abilities. While much of the companion planting knowledge we have today has been found through trial and error, the area you live in should be taken into consideration. This is why it is always recommended to seek out the advice of local gardeners or even neighbours to see what has worked best for them.
It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a home garden. Certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and crop yields. Some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, while other plants mainly herbs act as repellents.
Benefits of companion plants in vegetable garden
Companion planting saves space
It is perfect for people trying to make the most of their small gardens. A common method to use companion planting to save space is by planting a vining plant under a taller one. It uses space that would otherwise stay empty and fill up with weeds. Another process is to plant quick growing crops in between rows of slower growing crops. We all want to get the most out of the garden space that we have. Save valuable garden space by planting a vining plant under a taller one, utilizing space that would otherwise remain empty. You can plant quick-growing crops in between rows of slower growing crops for more efficient gardening.
The main difference between the crops you plant together is what makes them work so well; planting carrots and tomato together works because tomatoes are heavy feeders and carrots are light feeders. Having them in the same space ensures that there is no competition between them, and each having different seasons, nutrient need, and growth.
Adds shelter and shade to other plants
Planting tall, sturdy plants with climbers can provide natural supports within the garden, eliminating the need for building separate structures and staking. Vertically friendly plants such as corn and sunflowers can support lower-growing, climbing crops such as beans, cucumbers, and peas. Tall crops can provide protective shade for plants that don’t require as much intense sun.
Lettuce can greatly benefit from having peppers or tomatoes planted nearby, as the latter thrive under the sun and taller than the former. Other plants such as bushes can aid in protecting other vegetation from the wind by supporting much weaker plants. And, should you need support for plants such as beans, planting corn nearby provides natural support. Beans will use corn as a climbing pole and removing any need for you to artificially create reinforcement.
It keeps the soil moist and helps prevent erosion
Not having large spaces of open soil not only allows you to grow more plants but helps hold the soil and also keep it moist. Vining plants such as squash and cucumbers are especially useful for shading the soil.
Helps the soil
Planting different plant types together can help keep the soil moist and prevent erosion then. Open soil patches can be a waste of valuable garden space. Some plants like cucumber and squash do a wonderful job shading the soil. Shading soil can be useful in times of drought and some vegetable plants improve the soil quality of other plants. For example, beans help to restore nitrogen into the soil as they grow and companion planting helps support the needs of the plants.
Companion plants in the vegetable garden can help with disease issues
Just like with dense gatherings of people the disease is spread more quickly through your garden when plants of the same type are all in one big group. Adding different species to planting can help break up your garden and slow the spread of disease. As previously mentioned plant interactions aren’t fully understood but certain plants have been shown to make other plants healthier, therefore, lowering their susceptibility to disease.
Companion plants for vegetable garden
Carrots plant well with beans, Brassicas, chives, leeks, lettuce, peppers, onions, pole beans, radish, rosemary, sage, and tomatoes. Avoid planting next to dill, parsnips and potatoes. Tomatoes will bring out the flavour in carrots, but carrots might be smaller as tomatoes and carrots compete for soil nutrients.
Carrots go well with tomato plants that can provide them with a bit of shade. Tomatoes are known to produce solanine, which is a natural insecticide that targets pests affecting carrot plants. Tomatoes benefit from carrots, too. Carrots aerate the soil around the roots of the tomato plants, allowing more air and water to reach the plant roots. Leeks and carrots are good companions since leeks repel carrot flies and carrots repel leek moths and onion flies. Rosemary, sage, and chive help repel carrot flies. Pair carrots with a shallow-rooted plant such as peas, so they don’t compete for nutrients and onions also repel the carrot fly.
Keep carrots away from coriander and dill, as they both produce compounds that can harm carrot plants, and parsnips suffer from the same diseases and pests as carrots, so keep them apart to minimize a potential infestation.
Cucumber loves to be planted next to asparagus, beans, Brassicas, dill, celery, corn, kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, peas, and radishes. And, they shouldn’t be planted next to potatoes or sage, however. Corn work like a trellis for cucumbers to attach on and grow upward. Cucumbers do not like aromatic herbs. Cucumbers should not be grown near potatoes, but are great with cabbage, beans, corn, and radishes. Beans, celery, lettuce, corn, dill, peas, and radishes are also good companion plants. Keep cucumbers away from aromatic herbs like sage which will stunt the growth of cucumbers.
Asparagus will benefit from parsley and tomatoes since the root systems are of different depths, but keep onions away.
Basil is a great addition to tomato and pepper plants. Not only does it improve crops’ flavor, but it keeps hornworms away from tomatoes. Basil is a great herb to plant next to tomato plants to help improve their flavor. It helps repel aphids, asparagus beetles, mites, flies, mosquitoes, and tomato hornworms. For this reason, it should be planted next to asparagus. Basil also works well when planted next to oregano and peppers.
Beets love lettuce, bush beans, onions, and radishes, but pole beans are not an ideal companion crop. Beets can be planted next to bush beans, Brassicas, corn, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mint, and potatoes. Avoid planting beets next to pole beans.
Beans are all nitrogen fixers of the soil, so they must be planted next to plants of the Brassica family, carrots, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, peas, potatoes, radish, and strawberries. Avoid planting beans near chives, garlic, leeks, and onion. Beets and beans should be avoided next to one another as they can stunt each other’s growth.
Pole beans – Pole beans must be kept away from cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and onions. Keep garlic away also, as it will stunt bean plant growth.
Bush beans – Bush beans receive benefit from many vegetable plants except onions. Potatoes are an especially good companion plant due to root depths that don’t compete for nutrients. Potatoes will repel Mexican bean beetles. Keep garlic away from beans.
Green Beans – Corn and beans grow well together because beans will grow up the cornstalks, which means you won’t have to build them a trellis. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which is good for the corn. Other companions include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other members of the cabbage family along with peas, cucumbers, potatoes, and radishes. Keep green beans away from beets or anything from the onion family. Onions, in particular, impede the growth of beans.
Cabbage family (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower)
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Cabbage crops do well with corn, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, and onions. Sage will help reduce damage from cabbage moths. Tomatoes and pole beans do not play well with cabbage crops. Cauliflower particularly likes spinach but dislikes its cabbage cousin.
Celery crops will benefit from onions, peas, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage crops, and bush beans. Avoid celery from carrot and parsley neighbors.
Plant Chives near carrots and tomatoes; not only will they improve the carrot crops’ growth and flavor, but they will repel aphids from tomato plants.
Keep potatoes away from vine crops such as tomatoes or eggplant, since beetles that feed on potatoes also love those crops. Do plant it near corn, which will provide it with shade and give potato roots room to grow and beans also repel Colorado potato beetles.
Plant radishes throughout the garden, as flea beetles are attracted to them. Minor leaf damage may ensue, but the harvested radish root is unharmed and flea beetles could leave your other crops alone. They do well among carrots because they are harvested before the carrots and they loosen the soil as the carrots start to take off. Onions, beets, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, and squash are also good friends for radishes. Keep radish away from Hyssop.
Spinach grows quickly; pair it with slower-growing crops such as tomatoes and peppers. Plant squash near beans, onions, radishes, and corn. Don’t plant near potatoes or they will compete for nutrients.
Good companion crops for tomatoes include lettuce, radishes, and spinach, which will grow at a much faster rate than tomatoes. If you want more flavorful tomatoes, plant basil nearby. Keep tomatoes away from cabbage family crops and other crops that need vertical space, such as pole beans and corn. Tomatoes make a great partner with onions and carrots. They also provide shade to keep them from getting too hot.
Keep tomatoes away from cabbage, beets, fennel, peas, dill, and rosemary. Corn and tomatoes suffer from the corn earworm, and tomatoes and potatoes are affected by the same blight, so keep these plants separate to prevent the spread of pests or disease.
Basil is a good friend to peppers, helping repel aphids, mosquitoes, spider mites, and flies. It’s thought that basil improves the pepper’s flavor. Other good companions include onions, spinach, and tomatoes. Peppers are great with carrots, parsley, onions, tomatoes, and basil, but don’t love cabbages or fennel. And, keep peppers away from beans so the vines don’t spread among the plants.
Carrots must be planted near onions because onions will repel the carrot fly. Other good friends of onions are beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, parsnips (which also suffer from carrot fly), tomatoes. Keep onions away from asparagus, beans, and peas.
Plant mint among lettuce to keep away the slugs that feed on lettuce leaves, or plant chives and garlic to repel aphids. Beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, and radishes work as good companion plants. Keep lettuce away from parsley, because it tends to grow into a small yet bushy plant and can crowd your lettuce.
Parsley is mainly good for corn, roses, and tomatoes. Sage helps cabbage, carrots, and especially tomatoes. Tomatoes grow better with sage nearby. Dill is a great flavor enhancer for cabbage type plants, as well as cucumbers, lettuce, and onions.
Garlic should not be grown near peas or beans but is great with cabbages, tomatoes, and fruit trees.
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Companion plants chart for your vegetable garden
|Avoid planting with
|Basil, Chives, Parsley, Tomatoes
|Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigolds, Parsley, Peas, Rosemary, Sage
|Chives, Fennel, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
|Bush Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Lettuce, Onions
|Climbing Beans, Tomatoes
|Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Dill, Marigolds, Potatoes, Tomatoes
|Beans, Beets, Chamomile, Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Rosemary, Sage
|Garlic, Rue, Strawberries, Tomatoes
|Beans, Chives, Coriander, Cucumber, Dill, Leeks, Lettuce, Marigolds, Onions, Peas, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Tomatoes
|Asparagus, Beets, Brussels, sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes
|Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Lettuce, Leeks, Parsley, Parsnip, Tomatoes
|Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Peas
|Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Tomatoes
|Marjoram, Fruit Trees, Strawberries
|Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Onions, Peas, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sunflower
|Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Celery, Chives, Dill, Lettuce, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Peppers, Radish, Spinach
|Beets, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Fennel, Potatoes, Rosemary, Rue
|Basil, Coriander, Onions Spinach, Tomatoes