Companion planting is the art of arranging your garden so that your plants are happier, healthier, and supportive of one another.
Strange as it may seem, plants are very much like people. Certain varieties of plants get on very well with some others, while others can’t thrive if they’re planted next to each other.
Companion planting puts the plants that are friendly to each other together, which helps the plants with nutrient uptake from the soil, repels pests, and provides shade and protection from early frost.
How Does Companion Planting Work?
In basic companion planting, you can assess what a plant needs and choose a plant that is likely to be able to give it.
For example, tomatoes need a lot of sun and grow tall, while carrots tender tops can be easily scorched by the sun, and don’t grow as tall as tomatoes. If you plant carrots with tomatoes, they will shade the carrots, and the sturdy roots of the carrots will help hold soil and moisture around the roots of the tomato plants.
Another example of basic companion planting is a traditional Native American companion planting. Corn is grown as a centerpiece and a climbing trellis for beans. Beans put nitrogen back in the soil, which the corn needs to flourish. Squash is added to the mix so that its large leaves will shade out weeds.
Natural Insect Repellent
Some flowers like Nasturtium or Marigold can be used for their insect repellent qualities. Garlic and its relations can also be used to help repel insects from more tender plants. But be careful! Some plants don’t like stinky Mr. Garlic living next door to them. Plants with delicate flavors, such as peas or parsley can be overpowered by onions, garlic, and their relations.
Just as beans add nitrogen to the soil for corn in the Native American companion planting trio, other plants also add nutrients that are beneficial to the neighboring plants. Beets, for example, add minerals to the soil that aid leafy salad crops. Borage and lovage are two herbs that are the super helpful neighboring plants. Almost anything grown in their vicinity will benefit and be healthier and hardier as a result.
Companion Planting Chart
There are many charts available around the internet to help you plan your garden and give every vegetable the neighbors they’ll love.
Some list everything from scientific names to the crop’s origin and history.
Here’s our infographic chart to help get you started:
Vegetable Best Friend Planting Suggestions (Infographic)
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Why Vegetable Companion Planting?
Vegetables that are planted with friendly, supported neighbor plants will be more disease resistant, grow heartier, and in some cases, even taste better than vegetables that don’t take these factors into consideration.
Also, studies show that plants can “talk” to each other by sending out gases and other signals. Friendly neighbor plants with compatible “chat” support each other, leading to a more beautiful and robust garden.
So make your plants happier by planting them next to their BFFs. They’ll reward you by giving juicer, tastier produce!