Companion Planting Tips and Tricks
Companion Planting – the practice of combining mutually beneficial plants together in the garden – is something that’s been used for centuries, but as more and more gardeners become aware of the need to reduce pesticides, it continues to gain popularity. Here are just a few examples of common companion planting combinations.
Herbs are some of the most commonly used companion plants, aiding in plant growth and to repel insects, and attract beneficial insects. As an extra bonus, these herbs all add more beauty to any garden! In many cases, the companion herbs are also those you might use to season your vegetables.
- Parsley, yarrow, peppermint and dill all attract beneficial insects.
- Sage, hyssop, peppermint, southernwood and thyme repel cabbage months.
- Catnip repels aphids, flea beetles, squash bugs and Japanese beetles.
- Basil planted near tomatoes helps to improve the flavor and improves growth (and having it planted near your tomatoes makes it easy to pick them together for an easy caprese salad!)
- Calendula repels both tomato hornworms and carrot flies.
- Rosemary repels bean beetles, cabbage moths, slugs and snails.
- Chives are a good companion plant for carrots. Just as with cooked carrots, chives are said to improve the taste of carrots as they’re growing too!
- All members of the marjoram family (wild, pot or sweet) will have a beneficial effect on anything planted close by.
- Marigolds are good to plant around tomatoes and serve as protection from nematodes when planted around roses.
When planting any of these herbs, it’s best to plant those that that spread quickly – like yarrow, mint and oregano – in separate containers spread throughout your garden.
Another method of companion planting includes planting vegetables and herbs together in a way that allows them to strengthen rather than weaken one another.
For instance, dill is a great companion to cabbage and is even said to improve cabbage growth and health while attracting insects that are beneficial to cabbage. However, if it’s planted near carrots and is allowed to go bloom, dill can reduce the carrot crop. Here are some other common combinations:
- Plant green beans near eggplants to repel Colorado potato beetles (which also love eggplant!).
- Onions do well inter-planted with beets, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, and all members of the cabbage family, but they do not do well planted near peas or beans.
- Broccoli and other members of the cabbage family do well with aromatic herbs such as sage, dill, peppermint as well as potatoes, beets and onions. However, they don’t grow well when planted near tomatoes or pole beans.
- Carrots are good to plant around peas because their roots contain a substance that’s beneficial to pea growth and development.
- As a rule of thumb, keep all members of the brassica (cabbage) family away from tomatoes.
- Nasturtiums are good to plant around broccoli and cucumbers to repel aphids. The nasturtiums themselves may become invested with aphids, but oddly enough, they’ll say away from your precious veggies.