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Companion Planting for Vegetables, Herbs and other Garden Flowers and Plants

March 15, 2012

One only has to look at the old-age tradition of North American agriculture of planting corn, beans and squash together. Corn grows tall, trying to steal as much sun as possible and taking out a lot of nitrogen from the soil. Beans grow up the stalks of the corn looking for the sun too, but putting nitrogen back into the soil. Planting squash at the same time does well on the conditions and grows and spreads on the ground growing and harvested long after the harvest of the beans and the corn. Therefore, by inter-cropping, or companion planting, you have been able to grow 3 different vegetables in the same space as you would one.

Companion Planting for Deterring Insects

Although many will disregard companion planting and see it as old wives’ tales, many plants, flowers and herbs do defend themselves against insects by being poisonous to them or developing a strong scent that frightens them away, and it is possible that a plant growing close by might benefit from being in this bug-free zone. So, although companion planting is also mixed up in folklore, there is also an element of fact and this method can be happily adopted by those who practice organic gardening. For example, French marigolds (Tagetes patula) secrete an enzyme or a hormone into the soil that deters nematodes from infesting their roots, and it does seem that tomatoes or other nematode susceptible plants growing as neighbors will be protected. It may be significant that most of these beneficent plants are strongly aromatic. Planting dill with your tomatoes will attract the tomato worm for you. Planting nasturtiums will take care of cabbage white butterfly caterpillars and great for repelling white fly. They are also good for planting under apple trees to get rid of colding moth. Nasturtiums are planted among cucumbers for protection against the cucumber beetle and the Mexican bean beetle. Nasturtiums and tansy help get rid of the Colorado potato beetle, and catnip and nasturtiums for repelling the green peach aphids. If you want to get rid of aphids then you will need to interplant with sow thistle, stinging nettles or broad beans. Sunflowers will help trap harlequin bugs, and potatoes, calendula daisies are good for earwigs.

Companion Planting for Benefiting other Plants

Many times, planting certain plants together is also for practical reasons. Planting lettuce next to corn means that the lettuces can be shaded during hot summers. When you plant cabbages in the late summer, at the same time, and in the same bed, you can also plant garlic. Where cabbages will use of a lot of nutrients, and where the cabbages will be harvested in the autumn, the garlic will continue growing until the following summer resulting in good crops for both. Chives and onions planted near carrots will help also deter the presence of carrot rust flies. Radishes when planted next to Chervil benefit from the shade the herb casts, and the result is lovely juicy radishes that are not woody at all. Beans are heavy feeders and therefore it is advisable to companion plant it with something less greedy. Therefore mustard is a perfect companion.

Companion Planting for Attracting good Insects

The common dandelion that some see as a scourge in the garden should think again. It is now known that dandelions attract pollinating insects. Furthermore, they also release ethylene which is a gas that encourages fruit setting and fruit ripening. Daisies, dill, coriander and parsley are all good for attracting beneficial insects into the garden. The pollen they provide make them wonderful bee plants, but in addition they also attract parasitic wasps that prey on insect pests. These plants should be planted throughout the garden at regular intervals as many of these wasps are tiny and fly only over short distances. Larger predatorial insects like lacewings and hoverflies also feed on the pollen. By allowing these plants to go to seed, not only are you keeping the insect population in check, but you can save seeds at the same time for next planting season. Herbs too have been known to repel certain insects. Southernwood is good for repelling the cabbage butterfly and tobacco for flea beetles.

COMPANION PLANTING BENEFITS HOW IT ALL WORKS EXAMPLES
Having Deep Roots Brings nutrients to the surface, benefiting other plants. Comfrey, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion.
Enriching the Soil Build up of minerals in leaves. Excrete material from their roots.Plants add nitrogen to the soil. Comfrey, dandelion and stinging nettles.Marigolds’ root exudates is fatal to nematodes.Beans excrete mycorrhiza, which benefits plant roots.

Peas & peas ‘fix nitrogen’.

Strong-Smelling Plants Oil in some plants has fragrance that repels insects. Garlic, pyrethrum and rosemary
Attracting Pollinators Flowers attract pollinators, increasing yields. Yellow and blue flowers attract bees eg. blue borage.
Attracting Other Predators Plants attract other predators to the pests that attack them. Parsley, celery and carrot family attract hover flies. Their larvae consume aphids, when in seed.
Confusing Pests Planting close together causes camouflage of odor and appearance. Pennyroyal camouflages cabbage smell and celery camouflages cabbage shape.

GOOD COMPANION PLANTING for VEGETABLES and HERBS

  • Apples – Chives, Horsetail, Foxgloves, Wallflowers, Nasturtiums, Garlic, Onions
  • Apricots – Basil, Tansy, Southernwood
  • Asparagus –  Tomatoes, Parsley, Basil
  • Basil –  Tomatoes, Asparagus, Parsley, Apricots
  • Beans –  Carrots, Cucumbers, Cabbages, Lettuce, Peas, Parsley, Cauliflower, Spinach, Summer Savory, & Sweet Corn
  • Broad Beans – Potatoes, Sweet corn
  • Dwarf Beans – Beets, Potatoes
  • Beets –  Onions, Silver beet, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Cabbage, Dwarf Beans
  • Borage –  Strawberries
  • Brussels Sprouts – Nasturtiums
  • Borage – Strawberries
  • Broccoli and Cabbage – Dill, Potatoes, Sage, Rosemary and Mint
  • Cabbages –  Beans, Beetroot, Celery, Mint, Thyme, Sage, Onions, Rosemary, Dill, Potatoes, Chamomile, Oregano, Hyssop, Southernwood, Nasturtiums, Tansy, Coriander
  • Carrots – Peas, Radishes, Lettuce, Chives, Sage, Onions, Leeks
  • Cauliflowers – Celery, Beans, Tansy, Nasturtium
  • Celery – Tomatoes, Dill, Beans, Leeks, Cabbage, Cauliflowers
  • Chamomile – Mint, Cabbages, Onions
  • Chervil –  Dill, Coriander, Radish
  • Chives – Carrots, Cucumbers, Onions and Tomatoes. Onions and chives when interplanted with carrots repel both onion and carrot fly without competing for nutrients below the soil.
  • Citrus – Guava
  • Coriander – Dill, Chervil, Anise, Cabbages, Carrots
  • Corn –  Broad Beans, Potatoes, Melons, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Squash, Tansy
  • Cucumbers – Potatoes (early crop only), Beans, Celery, Lettuce, Sweet Corn, Savoy Cabbages, Sunflowers, Nasturtiums
  • Cucumbers – Corn, Cabbages, Potatoes and Radishes
  • Dill –  Carrots, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Fennel, Coriander
  • Eggplant – Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Peas, Spinach ,Thyme and Tarragon
  • Fennel –  Dill, Coriander
  • Fruit Trees – Chives, Nasturtiums and Garlic
  • Garlic – Roses, Apples, Apricots, & Peaches
  • Geraniums – Grapes
  • Grapevines – Geraniums, Mulberries, Hyssop, Basil, Tansy and Mustard Greens
  • Horseradish with almost any fruit tree
  • Hyssop –  Grapevines, Potatoes
  • Irises with roses
  • Kohlrabi –  Beets, Onions
  • Leeks – Carrots, Celery
  • Lavender – Cabbage, Roses, all herbs
  • Lettuce –  Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Cabbages, Radishes, Marigolds
  • Marigolds (French) with tomatoes, roses, potatoes, daffodils and beans
  • Melons –  Sweet Corn
    Mint –  Cabbages, and other Brassicas, Peas, and Chamomile
  • Nasturtiums best with cucumbers, zucchini, squash, but can be planted everywhere in the garden
  • Onions    Carrots, Beets, Lettuce, Chamomile, Kohlrabi, Turnips, and Zucchini
  • Parsley –  Tomatoes, Asparagus, Roses, Chives
  • Parsnips –  Peas, Potatoes, Peppers, Beans, Radishes, Garlic
  • Peaches –  Tansy, Garlic, Basil, Southernwood
  • Peas – Potatoes, Radishes, Carrots, Turnips
  • Peppers – Tomatoes, Asparagus, Carrots, Cucumbers, Okra, Onions; herbs are also compatible with peppers, including Chives, Garlic, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley and Sweet Basil
  • Potatoes –  Beans, Cabbage, Sweet corn, Broad Beans, Green Beans, Nasturtium, Marigolds, Foxgloves, Horseradish, Egg Plant, Peas
  • Pumpkins – Beans, Sweet Corn, Cabbage, Peas, Marigolds and Horseradish
  • Radishes –  Lettuces, Peas, Chervil, Cucumbers, & Nasturtium
  • Raspberries –  Tansy
  • Roses with grapevines, garlic, onions, chives and marigolds
  • Rosemary – Cabbage, Bean, Carrot & Sage.  It deters Cabbage Moth, Bean Beetles & Carrot Fly.  It also improves the growth & flavor of vegetables.  Rosemary & Potatoes do not like each other, so keep them apart.
  • Sage –  Carrots, Cabbages, Strawberries
  • Spinach – Strawberries
  • Squash –  Sunflowers
  • Strawberries –  Beans, Borage, Lettuce, Spinach, Sage, Pyrethrum
  • Sunflowers –  Squash, Cucumber, Sweet Corn
  • Thyme –  Cabbage (Brassica) Family
  • Tomatoes – Asparagus, Celery, Parsley, Basil, Carrots, Chives, Marigolds, Foxgloves, Garlic, Sweet Corn. When you plant tomatoes with brassicas (cabbages, broccoli, etc.) they help reduce the pest numbers for both types of vegetables.
    Turnips –  Peas, Nasturtiums
  • Wallflowers with apples
  • Zucchini –  Nasturtiums

BAD COMPANION PLANTING FOR VEGETABLES

• Apples with potatoes

• Runner Beans with beets

• Beans with garlic

• Cabbages with strawberries

• Gladioli with strawberries, beans and peas

• Hyacinths with carnations

• Mint with parsley

• Sunflowers with any vegetable but squash, corn, & cucumbers

• Wormwood with just about everything

Companion Herbs

 Calendula & Marigold – In Companion Planting, the first rule is: “Marigolds with everything!”  I personally love Calendula however, I so leave it to self-seed itself all over the garden.

The roots of Marigold give off a substance which drives away the eel-worm.  They are therefore good to plant near Potatoes, Tomatoes & Roses.  (I plant them as borders in the garden – they look gorgeous anywhere)  The Mexican beetle avoids Bean rows which have Marigold/Calendula growing among them.  Dogs won’t cock their legs against pots which contain Calendula.  A clump is useful in every flower-bed; an edging gives protection for the Vegetables.

 Marigolds are stronger in power than Calendula, so will kill Twitch Grass), Couch Grass, Nematode & Eel Worm. It is another good companion for Potatoes & general Pest deterrence.

 Chamomile – Known as The ‘Plant Doctor’ because of its ability to encourage other plants to increase their essential oil & so taste & smell more stronger & more vital…  Chamomile is easy to grow, & looks beautiful anywhere, though keep it well trimmed to avoid a straggly look.  Many other plants enjoy it’s company, especially Mint, which will become tastier when grown next to Chamomile.  Plant Chamomile next to ailing plants to help revive them.  Cabbages & Onions love Chamomile; though keep it approx a foot away from Onions.  Collect & dry the Chamomile Flowers, then make a tea by soaking a handful in cold water for a day or two.  This can then be used for any plant which is looking sickly, or a young plant is in need of assistance.  And finally, Chamomile will help activate the Composting process if added to your Compost pile!

  Basil – Basil is best planted next to Tomatoes – everyone knows how well they go together in cooking!  Used as a border for the Tomato patch, the plants will find it easier to resist disease & the fruits will be tastier.  Bees love Basil, while Aphids, Fruit-Fly, White-Fly, the House-Fly & Mosquitoes hate it.  Keep a pot near doors & windows to keep Flies out of your Home.  Also very handy for medicinal & cooking uses if grown nearby.  Keep Basil away from Rue – they definitely dislike each other!

 Lavender – Everyone must have seen & admired the beauty of Lavender… though it also has other good qualities. Lavender is a general Insect Repellent, good to use as a border for the Garden.  It attracts many Bees to the area, & can be used for cosmetic, liqueur, medicinal or perfume reasons.  It also deters Moths to great affect – hence the popularity of Lavender Bags in drawers & cupboards.

Nasturtium – Nasturtiums can have a tendency to grow abundantly, but are very easily controlled.   They also possess many benefits for your Garden plants…  They are good companions for Radish, Cabbage & Cucumber.  Orange colored Nasturtiums will deter Aphids, Squash Bug & Striped Pumpkin Beetles, yellow ones tend to attract the beetles!  So plant orange Nasturtium close to your garden to deter insects, & plant yellow Nasturtium far away from the garden to attract the insects. Nasturtium is excellent in the Orchard & will control the Woolly Aphid if left to wander.

Tansy – Tansy is a good all-round bitter Insect repellent.  It is great planted near Cabbages, Roses, Raspberries & Grapes.  It concentrates Potassium in the soil, so benefits any plants nearby!  Plant it for protection against Japanese Beetle, Striped Cucumber Beetle, Squash Bug, Cut Worms, Cabbage Worms, Ants, Flies, Mosquitoes & Fruit Moth.  It is noticeably helpful under Peach Trees, which it assists greatly by warding off flying insects & keeping Borers away.

Rosemary  Rosemary is a favorite of older Cottage Gardens. Rosemary is a good companion to Cabbage, Bean, Carrot & Sage.  It deters Cabbage Moth, Bean Beetles & Carrot Fly.  It also improves the growth & flavor of vegetables.  Rosemary & Potatoes do not like each other, so keep them apart.  It looks gorgeous planted as a hedge around the Cabbage patch…  You can also use it as an insect repellent, as well as in a medicinal tea.


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