by Journals to Freedom August 07, 2021 6 min read
Many gardeners are interested in companion planting, but don’t know where to start. This blog post will give you a list of plants that grow well together in vegetable gardens as well as flower beds. We’ll provide tips for how to plant them together so they can help each other grow. We will also go over some plants that don’t work well as companions and why!
Companion planting is a technique in which different plants are grown close to one another for the benefit of both. By planting certain plants together you can encourage growth and in some cases, discourage certain pests and diseases.
At its simplest, companion planting might mean using your garden space as efficiently as possible. For instance, tall plants like sunflowers make great space-saving companions to ground cover plants like squashes. It can also mean grouping plants together with similar growing requirements.
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Some gardeners use companion planting for pest control purposes. For example, you might plant marigolds with tomatoes because the marigolds help protect the tomatoes from root knot nematodes. The marigolds are also thought to help ward off hornworms and repel all manner of flies in your tomato patch.
In the case of the marigolds and tomatoes, the marigolds repel pests.
In other companion relationships, you can use certain plants to attract insects.
You might want to attract beneficial, pollinating insects to your vegetable crop for instance. Comfrey, borage, sunflowers and lavender all make fantastic pollinator attractants.
However, some gardeners also lure pests to 'sacrificial' plants, to protect their more valuable vegetable and garden plants. Nasturtiums make fantastic sacrificial companion plants as aphids love them.
Companion planting techniques are a way of controlling diseases on other plants. One example is underplanting roses with chives - the chives help to prevent black spot on the roses.
Growing certain plants can improve your soil fertility. For example, peas and beans give the soil more nitrogen, which helps the growth of other crops.
Most companion planting combinations are found in the veggie patch, However, there are some that work in the flower garden too:
Garlic, garlic chive, and chives are great for roses. The garlic helps repel pests such as aphids and the chives help against black spot.
Sunflowers are great for attracting pollinators, while chives help protect against aphids.
The onion scent helps to repel aphids.
Geraniums help to deter several different beetles and worms from grape vine plants.
This beautifully scented plant is beneficial to many other plants. It attracts beneficial pollinating insects. It also helps to deter moths.
Another plant that is beneficial to lots of other plants, marigold roots produce a chemical that kills nematodes. Plant several of them around your tomatoes and they'll also deter the whitefly. They are very appealing to slugs though, so take advantage of the lure and put a slug trap near your marigold plants.
Yet another all-star combination plant. It repels several different pests and looks beautiful growing amongst other plants. It's really low maintenance too, growing in the poorest of soils.
Some plants grow well together and some don't. Here are some classic, time-tested planting combinations for your veggy patch.
French beans and runner beans do well grown with nasturtiums which lure aphids away from the veggie crops.
This is a mutually beneficial relationship. Carrots help to ward off onion fly and the onions help to protect the carrots from carrot root fly.
Carrots and leeks are a great mutually beneficial combination too. The leek's smell deters carrot root fly and the carrots ward off leek moths.
Courgettes need pollinating insects, and Calendula (or English marigolds) are very attractive to pollinators.
This is a mutually beneficial combination too for all 3 plants. They enjoy the same growing conditions - fertile soil, warmth and lots of water. The corn or beans help to provide shade for the cucumbers. The cucumbers can grow up the corn stalks and attract pollinating insects at the same time.
Peppers are good companion plants for eggplant as they have the same growing condition requirements.
Nobody wants leafminers in their lovely spinach leaves. Plant radishes with spinach to attract the leafminers away from the spinach. They settle into the radish leaves instead.
The French marigold’s strong smell helps give tomatoes a little protection against whiteflies. It's important to plant a variety that does have a strong scent.
The smell of mint helps ward off aphids. A word of warning though - mint grows quickly and will soon take over your veggy patch. Plant it in a plant pot to restrict its root growth.
Apart from being a classic salad combination, basil is said to improve the tomato's flavor. Basil's strong scent also helps to ward off aphids.
Nasturtiums help attract aphids away from cucumbers, while attracting pollinating insects at the same time.
Sometimes we make the mistake of putting plants together that shouldn't go together. Certain plants inhibit the growth of other plants around them. These kinds of plants are called allelopathic plants.
Fennel is one such plant, so put it on its own in your veggy patch.
Other bad combinations that will affect your vegatable yield are:
Garlic and onions don't make good bedfellows with beans and peas.
Keep potatoes away from cucumber, pumpkin and squash plants.
Don't plant tomatoes with cabbage, corn or potatoes.
Making good choices about plants to grow together in your garden or veggie patch can help you get the most out of what you planted. These companion plant combinations are also a great way to protect your vegetables from pests and disease, so it’s worth spending some time getting them right!
Evaluate the amount of space you have and the amount of time you have to dedicate to your garden and get started. Use the Gardening Binder to help you:
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