Companion planting is a gardening practice involving pairing different plants to benefit each other and the overall garden environment. This practice has been used for centuries, with evidence of it as far back as 500 BC. Planting certain species together can encourage growth, improve plant health, and even reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Companion planting can effectively enhance the soil naturally and provide the right environment for a thriving garden.
For example, planting legumes near corn helps the corn absorb nitrogen from the legumes, increasing its growth. Additionally, some plants can act as pest repellent when they are planted near other plants.
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Beans and Peas
Beans and peas are good companions because they fix nitrogen in the soil for one another. Peas grow best when planted after beans, and this arrangement increases the amount of nutrients available to each plant. Beans are also good companions for corn, tomatoes, and potatoes.
A bean/pea combo can include any combination of bush beans (such as green or yellow wax), pole beans (including Romano), and peas (such as shelling). If you are planting an all-bean garden but want to try companion planting with your peas, consider growing these plants together: cucumbers, squash, and basil (the aromatic basil will help repel pests from both plants).
Tomatoes and White Horehound
Horehound is a perennial herb that grows in USDA zones 4-9. It’s a good companion plant for tomatoes because it attracts beneficial insects and repels pests such as aphids and whiteflies.
Horehound can be used as a ground cover, or you can plant it around the base of your tomato plants to keep them from spreading out too far and getting too leggy.
Carrots and Onions
Carrots and onions are great examples of companion plants that go together well. Carrots need to be planted in the same spot for at least two years to ensure proper growth, so planting them with other vegetables that don’t require such close growing conditions makes sense. Onions are ideal companions because they repel carrot flies, which is extremely harmful to carrots’ growth.
To plant these crops together, simply plant your carrot seeds first and then sow your onion seeds directly into the ground around them (about an inch away from each other). When harvesting time comes along, consider harvesting all together by pulling up the whole bed rather than digging up individual carrots or onions one by one. This will help prevent soil compaction and allow both plants’ roots and leaves room to breathe as they decompose overtime on top of each other in a mulch pile or compost heap!
Peppers, Cabbage and Marigolds
Marigolds are another plant that helps keep pests away from your other plants. They are a common companion to vegetables like peppers, cabbage, and tomatoes.
In addition to repelling pests, marigolds attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. If you see holes or bite marks on the leaves of your marigold plants, there may be an insect problem in your garden—you may want to try planting these flowers with companion plants that help repel pests, such as kale and broccoli, for an effective solution!
Cabbages and Legumes
Cabbages and legumes are both nitrogen-fixing plants. They can be grown together in the same bed, intercropped, or planted in between rows of cabbages.
Legumes, like cabbages, are also good companion plants for tomatoes. They help to fix nitrogen in the soil and can be grown in a three-way rotation with cabbages and tomatoes.
Corn, High Peas, and Pumpkins
Corn and high peas are warm-season vegetables that grow well together, as they like similar conditions. The peas work as a living mulch to protect the corn from weeds, which makes it easier for you to keep your garden clean.
You can plant them in pairs in long rows or groups of three or four along with your pumpkins. When growing corn, pumpkins, and high peas together, keep them spaced far enough apart so that each plant has room to grow fully during its peak growing season (roughly two weeks).
After the harvest period for these crops, combine all of their residues into one compost pile or cover them with mulch such as straw or hay for winter protection against frost damage.
Tomatoes and Cabbage
Tomatoes and cabbage are great examples of companion planting. They both belong to the same family, so they have similar needs and can be planted together.
Planting them together in the same hole will help keep pests away from both plants. Tomatoes and cabbage should be planted at least 2 feet apart, but they can be planted closer if you use a trellis or fence to support them. If space is limited, consider growing your tomatoes up a sturdy trellis and planting your cabbage beneath it, where it will get plenty of water without competition for sun exposure or moisture levels.
Cabbage is not only an excellent companion for tomato plants. It also works well with other vegetables like peppers and eggplants since all three are the nightshade (Solanaceae) family members. If you have room for just one plant in this area, consider trying something different!
Cucumbers and Squash
Cucumbers and squash are closely related, both as vines. They can grow up to 30 feet long, so it’s best to plant them in a bed with plenty of space. Both plants thrive in full sun and like sandy soil with adequate drainage.
When planting companion plants together, be sure to leave enough room between your plants so that they don’t accidentally shade one another out or compete over nutrients in the soil.
Spinach, Lettuce, and Cabbage
Planting cabbage, lettuce, and spinach together is a great way to get more bang for your garden buck. These three plants grow well together and provide a mix of green leaves, red stems, and flowers that are quick to harvest. They also have similar growing conditions, so you can plant them all in the same area without mixing up the watering schedule.
Spinach is a heavy feeder, so be sure to add fertilizer before planting so it can get off to a good start. You will also want to give spinach a little extra water because it is usually ready sooner than the other two vegetables will be ready for harvest (usually in 30-45 days).
Chamomile and Potatoes
Chamomile is not just a useful herb for brewing tea. It’s also a flowering plant that thrives in the same conditions as potatoes, so growing these two together makes sense.
Both plants attract beneficial insects and help keep pests away by creating an environment where they can’t thrive. And both produce flowers that attract pollinators and butterflies. They are both perennials, so that you will get years of free pollination!
Radish and Spinach
Radishes and spinach are good companions because they need different growing conditions. Radishes are cool-season crops that grow best in spring and fall when the soil is cooler. On the other hand, spinach is a warm-season crop that does best when grown during summer.
Because radishes and spinach have different growing seasons, they can be planted together in your garden to prevent root diseases caused by fungi or bacteria that attack plants at similar temperatures. If one of these pathogens infects a plant in its early stages of growth (when it’s still small), it could cause serious damage that will compromise overall health throughout an entire crop cycle.
Cauliflower and Dwarf Zinnia
One of the best ways to fill space in your garden is by planting dwarf zinnias. These low-growing flowers are great for filling empty spaces and attracting butterflies and bees.
Cauliflower is a cool season crop that requires a lot of water and can be difficult to grow if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a great way to add some green leaves to your garden!
Cabbages and Dills
Dill is a great companion plant for cabbage. It attracts bees, which help pollinate the cabbage plants. Dill also keeps cabbage caterpillars away from your cabbages.
Dill is also good alongside carrots and cucumbers.
Cucumbers and Nasturtium
Cucumbers are a popular garden vegetable and are especially good with nasturtiums. Nasturtiums repel cucumber beetles—a common pest of cucurbits (gourds and squash) like pumpkins or watermelons—while also attracting bees and other pollinators to the cukes. Plus, you can use it as an ornamental plant and a ground cover when it spreads out!
Eggplant with almost everything else
Eggplant is a good companion for tomatoes. It can be grown in the same bed with tomatoes and other plants. Eggplants are also compatible with basil, peppers, and beans. The reason that eggplant goes well with these other plants is that they all have different soil requirements:
- Tomatoes need high fertilizer.
- Basil requires sandy soil.
- Peppers need rich soil.
- Beans need neutral or acidic soil.
- Cucumbers require moist soils but not waterlogged ones.
Roses and Garlic
Roses and garlic are not only both very fragrant, but they also go together well in the garden. They are good companions to each other because they help each other out. Garlic helps to repel pests, which can be a problem with roses. Plus, if you are growing garlic in your garden, you may also have aphids or whiteflies on your roses. Garlic will take care of them!
All you need to do is plant some garlic beside your rose bushes. You can plant them either above ground (in containers) or below ground (in holes). The nice thing about planting it below ground is that it won’t crowd out any existing plants because it will grow under them instead of taking up space on top of their roots like above-ground plants would.
Melons and Marigolds
Melons are heavy feeders, so they benefit from adding marigolds to their garden. Marigolds contain beta-carotene and are great at attracting beneficial insects. They can also help prevent the spread of disease and deter pests by acting as a natural repellent.
If you are planting melons in an organic garden, marigolds are a great choice for companion planting because they repel pests through their smell instead of using chemicals that could harm your plants or soil over time.
Beets and Garlic
Beets and garlic both grow well together in the garden. Beets, as a member of the same family as garlic, are quite tolerant of its strong odour. Garlic is also a natural repellent against pests, so it can help ward off harmful bugs while growing your beets. Both vegetables have long growing seasons and will even thrive under the same conditions. If you plant these two together, you will have an easy-to-care-for crop that will last for months!
Cucumber and Oregano
Cucumbers and oregano are common companions in the garden, so it makes sense that they would grow well together. In addition to this fact, oregano also helps repel insects that can be harmful to cucumbers.
Try growing some oregano nearby if you want another companion for your tomatoes or potatoes. This herb will help repel insects from these plants as well.
Maximize Space in Your Garden
Companion planting is an age-old concept. It is based on the idea that certain plants can help each other out, whether it’s by attracting beneficial insects or repelling pests. But there are many factors to consider when companion planting, and it’s not a guaranteed success.
You may have seen companion planting used in food gardens—the vegetable patch next to your herb garden makes sense because you can use your fresh herbs as ingredients for cooking all year. But this same principle can be applied to any kind of garden. If you need more space for flowers but don’t have enough room for them, try placing some of your favorite bloomers near areas where they will get maximum sun exposure and make sure they are grouped according to their growing needs (i.e., sun lovers with shade lovers).
The best part about companion planting is that once you know the science behind what works, you can maximize space in your garden. You will be able to plant more varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs than ever before. And by using these tips to create a beautiful landscape with minimal effort, you will have more time for fun activities like gardening!