Are you ready to upgrade your garden? Companion planting has the potential to elevate your garden’s health and productivity by taking your plants beyond simple coexistence. This guide is designed to introduce beginner gardeners to the art and science of companion planting, focusing on common garden vegetables.
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Gardening is not just about planting seeds; it’s about fostering a harmonious environment in your garden. Companion planting, an age-old gardening technique, can be your secret weapon to a flourishing and bountiful harvest. Whether you’re cultivating cool-weather crops in spring/fall or tending to heat-loving plants in summer, this guide will set you on the right path.
Understanding the Basics of Companion Planting
Companion planting involves strategically placing certain plants close to each other to enhance their growth and well-being. This ancient gardening technique can provide numerous benefits, including pest control, improved soil fertility, and enhanced flavor in crops. As a beginner gardener, understanding the basics of companion planting can be a game-changer for your gardening success.
The Three Sisters: A Timeless Example
One classic example of companion planting is the Native American tradition of the “Three Sisters” – corn, beans, and squash. Planted together, these three crops create a symbiotic relationship where the corn provides a natural trellis for the beans, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, and the squash acts as a living mulch, suppressing weeds and retaining soil moisture. It’s a collaboration that exemplifies the idea of companion planting.
Seasons of Planting: Cool Weather vs. Hot Weather Crops
Understanding the seasons and the preferences of your crops is crucial for successful companion planting. We’ve compiled a complete companion planting chart for vegetables – separated into cool weather (spring/fall) and hot weather (summer) crops – to help you make informed decisions about plant pairings.
Companion Planting Guide: Cool Weather Vegetables
|Carrots, radishes, strawberries, chives
|Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant
|Carrots, cucumbers, peas, lettuce
|Tomatoes, onions, leeks, peas
|Carrots, radishes, cucumbers, corn
|Basil, dill, chamomile, onions
|Celery, onions, potatoes, chamomile
|Beets, celery, onions, potatoes
|Carrots, beets, lettuce, chamomile
|Beans, onions, tomatoes, cabbage
|Onions, lettuce, spinach, garlic
|Radishes, nasturtium, dill, fennel
|Tomatoes, parsley, basil, marigolds
|Peas, lettuce, onions, mint
|Tarragon, marigolds, nasturtium, potatoes
|Corn, beans, marigolds, borage
|Sunflower, nasturtium, corn, oregano
Companion Planting Guide: Hot-Weather Vegetables
|Basil, marigolds, nasturtiums, onions, carrots
|Basil, oregano, parsley, tomatoes, onions
|Beans, corn, radishes, dill, marigolds
|Nasturtiums, marjoram, oregano, beans
|Beans, marigolds, tarragon, thyme
|Beans, cucumbers, melons, squash
|Carrots, corn, cucumbers, radishes
|Nasturtiums, radishes, corn, beans
|Basil, marigolds, peppers, eggplants
|Corn, nasturtiums, radishes, beans
|Corn, nasturtiums, radishes, beans
|Celery, chamomile, dill, onions
|Spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, beans
|Basil, marigolds, nasturtiums, onions
Learn more about how to rotate these crops through your garden by clicking the thumbnail below.
Specific Companion Planting Guides
Strawberry Companion Plants
Strawberries thrive alongside thyme, borage, spinach, and lettuce. These companions help deter pests and provide shade and ground cover, improving overall strawberry health.
What should not be planted with strawberries?
While strawberries thrive when planted with certain companion plants like thyme, borage, and spinach, some plants should be avoided in proximity. Strawberries are sensitive to the allelopathic effects of members from the Brassica family, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. These plants release compounds that can inhibit the growth of strawberries.
Also, avoid planting strawberries near tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, as they are susceptible to similar diseases and pests. Keeping these considerations in mind will help ensure a successful and harmonious strawberry patch.
Garlic Companion Plants
Garlic benefits from companions like beets, carrots, dill, and chamomile. These plants help deter pests and promote healthy growth.
What should you not plant near garlic?
Garlic tends to inhibit the growth of beans and peas, so it’s best to avoid planting them in close proximity. Also, garlic may not fare well near members of the Allium family, such as onions and leeks, as they can compete for nutrients and space. By carefully choosing garlic’s neighbors and avoiding incompatible plants, you can create a conducive environment for robust and healthy garlic crops.
Companion Plants for Tomatoes
Tomatoes pair well with basil, nasturtium, marigold, and carrots. These companions enhance flavor, repel pests, and provide support.
What should not be planted next to tomatoes?
Avoid planting tomatoes near members of the Brassica family, such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, as they can be susceptible to similar diseases. Also, keeping tomatoes away from potatoes is crucial, as both are vulnerable to late blight. Corn is another plant to avoid near tomatoes, as it can attract the tomato fruitworm. By mindful planning and steering clear of incompatible companions, you can enhance the health and productivity of your tomato plants.
Companion Plants for Pepper
Peppers thrive when planted with basil, onions, spinach, and carrots. These companions deter pests and create a balanced microclimate.
What should not be planted next to peppers?
Peppers have specific preferences when it comes to their garden neighbors. It’s best to avoid planting peppers near fennel, as they can adversely affect each other’s growth. Members of the Brassica family, such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, should also be kept at a distance, as they may compete for nutrients and space.
Also, peppers may not thrive when planted near beans, as they can hinder each other’s development. By considering these planting companions and avoiding incompatible crops, you can promote the health and productivity of your pepper plants.
Cucumber Companion Plants
Dill, nasturtium, radishes, and beans make excellent companions for cucumbers. They deter pests and improve overall cucumber health.
What should you not plant next to cucumbers?
When planning your garden layout, it’s wise to avoid certain plant pairings with cucumbers to ensure their optimal growth. Cucumbers should not be planted near aromatic herbs like sage and basil, as they might impart undesirable flavors to the cucumbers. Steer clear of planting them alongside potatoes, as both crops are susceptible to the same pests like the Colorado potato beetle.
Moreover, keeping cucumbers away from melons and squash is essential to prevent potential cross-pollination and maintain the distinct characteristics of each crop. Mindful planning will help create a conducive environment for robust and healthy cucumber plants in your garden.
Zucchini Companion Plants
Nasturtium, corn, beans, and radishes are ideal companions for zucchinis. These plants provide shade, deter pests, and improve soil fertility.
What should not be planted next to zucchini?
When cultivating a garden with zucchini, it’s important to consider compatible neighbors for optimal growth. Avoid planting zucchini near potatoes, as they share susceptibility to certain pests like the Colorado potato beetle.
Keeping zucchini away from other members of the squash family, such as pumpkins and different varieties of squash, helps prevent potential cross-pollination that could affect the purity of each crop. Also, planting zucchini near strong-smelling herbs like basil and fennel may impact the flavor of the zucchini. Mindful garden planning will contribute to a thriving zucchini harvest.
Squash Companion Plants
Nasturtium, corn, beans, and radishes are also suitable companions for squashes. They help control pests and create a beneficial garden environment.
What should you not plant near squash?
When planning your garden, exercise caution with companion planting for squash to optimize its growth and health. Avoid planting squash near members of its own family, such as other types of squash or pumpkins, to prevent potential cross-pollination and maintain the purity of each variety.
Steer clear of planting squash near potatoes, as both crops are susceptible to similar pests like the Colorado potato beetle. Also, planting squash near strong-smelling herbs like basil may impact the flavor of the squash. Strategic garden planning will contribute to a robust and productive squash harvest.
As you embark on your gardening journey, remember that companion planting is a dynamic and rewarding part of cultivating your own food. Experiment with different pairings, observe the interactions, and witness the magic of a garden where each plant plays a crucial role in the success of the whole.
So what do you think? Are you ready to try companion planting in your garden? Send us an email or leave a comment below! You can also let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Pinterest pages.
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