When planning your garden, it is important to choose plants that grow well together. These friendly pairings will turn your garden into a diverse and thriving eco-system, filled with abundant healthy vegetables and plants.
When it comes to gardening, people use many different techniques to grow healthy plants. Some gardeners might spray their plants with chemicals and use synthetic fertilizers to boost nutrients in the soil. Those who want to take more of an organic farming approach normally use natural pesticides and organic fertilizers to repel bugs and help plants develop resistance to overcome weeds. However, organic gardening can bring on a completely new and improved mentality, one that treats the garden as an ecosystem where the plants, animals, water, and soil are all interconnected with one another.
This is where companion planting comes in. Plants in ecosystems work together, creating an environment that is conducive for more than just one type of plant. To create a garden ecosystem that is thriving, it is important to learn about how certain plants will interact when grown in close proximity to one another. Companion planting can help combat pest problems and provide an environment that is conducive to healthy plant growth.
As you start using companion plants in your garden, you will see progress over time, and you will develop your own opinions on what works best for you.
Here is a list of vegetables and their companion plants:
Beets grow well with onion and kohlrabi.
Beans grow well with most vegetables and herbs, particularly potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and cucumbers. Bean plants are able to grow up the stalks of sunflowers, and sunflowers attract many beneficial pollinators while also providing light shade.
Asparagus loves being neighbors to tomatoes, parsley, and basil.
Carrots grow well with peas, lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary, sage, and tomatoes. All of these plants enhance the growth of carrots and attract beneficial insects.
Corn grows well with nitrogen-fixers like peas. Corn can also act as a trellis for vines like beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash.
Broccoli, kale, cabbage grow well with aromatic herbs that deter pests like cabbage worms. Some of these aromatic plants include dill, chamomile, sage, thyme, mint, and rosemary.
Lettuce is a favorite among slugs but companion plants like onions offer protection against these pests.
Peas add nitrogen to the soil and grow well with most vegetables. Radishes help keep insects away from pea plants.
Borage is a great worm repellent for tomatoes, while its beautiful flowers attract pollinators. If you are planting borage in your garden, be aware of its ability to spread rapidly.
Basil and bee balm are known to greatly improve the growth and flavor of tomatoes.
Herbs normally attract pollinators because of they are aromatic. You can use these herbs to attract bees and butterflies to your garden. Herbs can also attract predatory insects that can protect your garden from certain bugs that might eat your plant.
Plant decoys! Fava beans attract aphids and eggplant attracts potato beetles. If you plant them away from your real vegetable garden, these bugs will likely leave your plants alone. Of course, the affect of decoys varies depending on where you live and what you are planting, but you can try it for a season and see if it will work for you!
Garlic and marigolds are two of the best companion plants because they both keep many pests away. Marigolds also discourage nematodes. Plant these in small quantities throughout your garden.
Healthy soil creates healthy plants. Some plants are heavy feeders and require soil that is rich with nutrients. Other plants are light feeders who can enrich the soil. Planting only heavy feeders in one area will degrade the health of soil very quickly. Be conscious of yours plants needs before choosing their location and plant heavy feeders and light feeders around one another so that soil nutrients can go where it needs to go, while also constantly being replenished.
Adding companion plants to your garden design will not only help your plants, it will also help your soil and pollinators. Watch your garden become a thriving eco system that can provide you with healthy and delicious vegetables year round.