Just like humans and animals, plants need good companions for better survival. Other than growth and fruiting, plants are considered as idle objects. They are rooted in a specific place and cannot control their surrounding conditions. In the planting communities, some plants support the growth of each other and dramatically improves the taste of surrounding edible plant growing produce. Whereas, some plants exert adverse effects on the growth of other plants. This happens since the plants also compete for nutrients, space, and resources.
In this vegetable companion planting guide, you will learn not only about what vegetable goes well with another vegetable but also how to plant them in your garden for maximum plant growth.
- What is Companion Planting?
- Vegetables for Companion Planting
- 3 Sisters Companion Planting Method
- Planting Flowers with Edible Plants
- Space Adjustment in Companion Planting
- Planting at Stair Steps
- Combination of Leapers and Creepers
- Plotting an Upright Cover
- Mixing Different Types of Foliage in Companion Planting
- Benefits of Companion Planting
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is an excellent agricultural technique and is a sustainable way of maximizing gardening efficiency. Its definition is planting two or more crops together to achieve higher yields and healthier plants. Though it might sound simple, there is a lot of science behind companion planting. Some plants can keep away pests and are useful to grow around plants that attract pests. Some vegetables are so compatible; they heap each other to become healthier and even tastier.
You can grow vegetables, herbs, and other plants together to their full potential. Let’s look at which vegetables grow well together and what vegetables you should avoid growing together. We will also get into how to organize your garden for successful companion planting.
Vegetables for Companion Planting
Tomatoes and basils are made for each other. A lot of sauces have tomatoes and basil as an ingredient in them, but not only do they complement each other for sauces and cooking, but they grow together well too. Basil plant favors the higher yields of tomatoes and repels mosquitoes and flies. Marigold is also an excellent plant for companion planting with tomatoes as it repels garden pests and roundworms. Spinach, parsley, lettuce, onion family, celery, carrots, and asparagus are also good friends of tomato plants. They are incredibly beneficial for increasing the yield by creating a healthy environment for growing.
It is essential to note that some plants are not suitable to grow along with tomatoes. These plants include rosemary, dill, fennel, peas, beets, and cabbage. Corn is another plant that is not compatible with tomatoe. Corn attracts a pest called corn worm, which can harm your tomato plants as well. Potatoes, too, have chances of getting affected by a fungal disease called potato blight. Potatoe blight can quickly spread to tomatoes. Hence, avoiding contact between the two helps prevent the spread of diseases and pests.
Basil is also an excellent plant for planting with peppers. Like mentioned earlier, basil repels insect pests such as flies, mosquitoes, spider mites, and aphids. Moreover, growing basil near your pepper plants will enhance the taste of your peppers. Some other plants such as tomatoes, spinach, and onions are also good companions for planting along with peppers. But the peppers should not be grown along with beans as they may suffer from various notorious insect pests.
Beans grow very well in the presence of corn because beans will grow on cornstalks, thereby the need for building a trellis is eliminated. Beans are also excellent plants for biological nitrogen fixation, which is a useful attribute for corn as it needs more nitrogen. Nasturtiums, marigolds, summer savory, and rosemary repels any attack of beetles on beans and dramatically improves its developmental rate and taste. Brussels, broccoli, sprouts, and some members of the cabbage family along with radishes, potatoes, cucumber, and peas are also good companions for green beans. It is recommended by the agricultural researchers to avoid growing beets along with beans, as they have adverse effects on the growth of beans.
For repelling beetles and aphids, the plantation of nasturtiums and marigolds is a perfect option to protect growing cucumbers. Radishes, peas, dills, lettuce, corn, celery, and beans are also good to plant along with cucumbers. Avoid growing herbs along with cucumbers.
Onions can grow better if they are planted with carrots as onions reduce the chances of carrot fly’s attack. They are also good for repelling aphids. It is a good idea to plant onions near any veggies that are aphid prone. Cabbage, beets, parsnips, lettuce, tomatoes, rosemary, savory, and marjoram are excellent companions for onion. But the onions should not be planted with peas, beans, and asparagus.
Plant Mint, along with lettuce, to effectively keep slugs away from lettuce leaves. Broccoli, beets, beans, radishes, peas, corn, and carrots are the best companion plants for lettuce. Parsley should not be grown along with lettuce as it is a busy plant and can quickly crowd the growing lettuce.
Squash and corn are good friends in the garden as the stalks of corn provide an excellent place for squash vines to grow. Plant peas, beans, marigold, dill, and radishes next to it, to increase the growth of squash. Avoid growing potatoes and summer squash together as both plants can easily suffer from a fungal blight attack.
Carrots are susceptible to heat. Growing tomatoes near them is a good idea since tomatoes grow vertically and will give your carrots shade from sunlight. Tomatoes are also well-known plants for producing solanine that act as a natural insecticide for targeting pests that affect growing carrots. In return, tomatoes get benefits from carrots. Carrots cause proper aeration in the soil that surrounds tomatoes, and in return, the movement of water and air to the roots is improved. Carrots and leeks are also an excellent companion to each other as leeks repel carrot flies, and carrots are good at repelling the onion flies and leek moths. Chive, sage, and rosemary also repel carrot flies.
Avoid planting carrots with dill and coriander as they produce harmful compounds for carrot plants, thereby causing a severe reduction in their growth and yield.
Radishes and cucumbers are excellent companions to each other as they repel insect pests and improves the growth and development of each other. It is also good to grow radishes along with carrots. Harvest radish before carrots, this loosens the soil and makes it easier to harvest carrots. Cabbage, beets, onions, spinach, lettuce, kale, are the best companions for radishes.
Corn grows well with crops that are good at biological nitrogen fixation, such as legumes and green beans. Cornstalks provide excellent growing conditions, as their trellis offers enough space for melons, pumpkins, peas, and cucumbers. Planting Zucchini, along with corn, is also a good option. Avoid corn with tomatoes as corn is prone to a cornworm attack. The planting of these two plants should be far away from each other to minimize the spreading of pests. The yardsurfer has made a great info graphic on a vegetable companion planting guide.
3 Sisters Companion Planting Method
Planting crops in companion cropping is a significant way to ensure better gardens and healthy food production. One of the traditional approaches known as three sisters favors the planting of one bed with beans, squash plants, and corn. All these plants should be grown together.
These plants provide natural protection and shelter to each other. The squash plant has larger leaves that give shade to the sweet corn. This kind of vegetation also contains mulching material and causes the suppression of weeds by reducing the level of moisture due to evaporation from the soil surface. The stem of sweet corn is tall, so it provides excellent support to the beans for climbing up. In return, beans fix the nitrogen, which benefits both plants of squash of sweet corn.
Planting Flowers with Edible Plants
It is a straightforward and charming approach to build both vegetable and flower gardens together. Vegetables and flowers are ideal companions in the gardens. Flowers add pleasant scent and color to the garden and attract many beneficial insects. Due to flowers, the garden will not look empty even after the harvesting of vegetables. For example, crocus, daffodils, tulips, are visually appealing for a garden. A combination of perennial and spring bulbs such as cornflowers and lilies in the same borders and beds creates a beautiful choreography of natural blooms in the same season.
Space Adjustment in Companion Planting
For companion planting, the most crucial aspects are designing the layout of the garden for space adjustment. There is no need to plant vegetables in an extensive area. There should be proper inter-planting of longer rows with herbs and flowers. By broad groupings of vegetable types, the attack of problematic insects can be reduced. The scents of different herbs and flowers and the changing colors confuse pests, and their potential entry to the vegetable garden is reduced. Certain herbs and flowers also attract various beneficial insects to the gardens, which in turn controls the pest population. Time is also an essential parameter for companion planting, keep a garden calendar handy.
Planting at Stair Steps
The glory of all blooming flowers can be enjoyed by growing the taller plant at the backside, average-sized plants in the middle, and the shorter plants at the front of the border or bed. Tall perennial plants include hollyhocks, buddleia, and Baptisia. In the average-sized, phlox, black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower. While, catmint, dianthus, and sedum are in the category of the shorter plants. You will enhance the visual appeal of the garden by managing their growing points.
Combination of Leapers and Creepers
The pairing of beans, squash, and corn is the best combination of leapers and creepers. All these plants are helpful to each other and dramatically improves living conditions. Another combination of leapers creeper is muskmelons, watermelons, and vines that can efficiently snake through the planted rows of sweet corn vegetation. The addition of trellis at the back of the bed is the right approach as it offers the best climbing to the beans and cucumbers for vertical growth.
Plotting an Upright Cover
Plants such as hybrid tea roses look more attractive and beautiful on the top of growing plants. Their blooms on top of plants have a significant soothing effect than on the bottom of plants. A classic combination of tomatoes, basil, and Mediterranean culinary can grow very well in the same planting bed as they need similar growing conditions. They all require the same dose of organic and inorganic fertilizers, well-drained and aerated soil, hot temps, and bright sunshine. Additionally, their harvesting time is also the same, and you can use them fresh for dishes such as frittatas, salads, pizzas, and pasta.
Mixing Different Types of Foliage in Companion Planting
It is very easy to add some visual diversity in the garden by paring different foliage types. For example, smooth, and heart-shaped leaves of Hosta plant offer lavish looks when planted in combination with the finely cut and textural leaves of ferns. Due to plant diversity, more beneficial insects are attracted to the garden and a healthy ecosystem is maintained. Some plants serve as hosts to plants such as parsley and milkweed, and they serve an essential function of luring butterflies, such as swallowtails and monarchs.
Benefits of Companion Planting
There are many benefits to planting different crops together. Smaller and tender plants need some sort of protection from sun, and in companion planting, larger crops provide them pleasant shade and protect them from scorching heat. Tall stalks of plants such as sunflower and corn provide excellent support to the sprawling vegetables such as peas and cucumbers.
In companion planting, the natural soil fertility is restored as some of these plants help with the biological fixation of nitrogen. They significantly improve the structure of the soil, and as a result, beneficial microbial activities are enhanced. You will notice a more healthy, vigorous plant growth and development.
Who knew plants could work support each other and work so well together. By following this vegetable companion planting guide, you are letting nature work its magic and thrive. You do not need chemicals and what not to grow more vegetables or have a thriving garden. Just being a little smart and having a plan when you start a garden will make all your gardening efforts worth it.
I hope you like my vegetable companion planting guide, if you love growing vegetables, you can check out my article on how to grow vegetables indoors. Growing vegetables indoors gives you a different advantage, such as you can grow vegetables indoors all year roound, and if you use containers, then its a lot easier to maintain and care. Also, if you are a serious gardener and want to grow a lot, and I mean a lot of vegetables, check out how to build your own hydroponic system.