Companion Planting

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Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening Paperback – January 2, 1998

Companion planting is the placement of various crops in close physical proximity to one another so as to symbiotically compliment each others progress. One traditional practice was interplanting corn and pole beans. The cornstalk would serve as a trellis for the beans. The beans fixed Nitrogen for the corn. The squash serves as a living mulch and completes the Three Sisters technique, pioneered by Native Americans.



Companion planting was widely touted in the 70s as part of the organic gardening movement. It was encouraged not only for pragmatic reasons like trellising, but rather with the idea that different plants may thrive more when close together.

It is also a technique used in permaculture, along with mulching, polyculture, and crop rotation. The combinations of plants also makes for a varied, attractive vegetable garden. Avoid monoculture. Where the same plant is grown in rows or large groups. Monoculture attracts pests and diseases to their preferred crops and enhances their spread.

Many of the modern principles of companion planting were present many centuries ago in cottage gardens.

Companion plants can benefit each other in a number of different ways, including:

Flavor enhancement — some plants, especially herbs, seem to subtly change the flavor of other plants around them.

Hedged investment — multiple plants in the same space increase the odds of some yield being given, even if one category encounters catastrophic issues.

Level interaction — plants which grow on different levels in the same space, perhaps providing ground cover or working as a trellis for another plant.

Ferilization - Primarily nitrogen fixation — plants, such as beans and legumes fix nitrogen in the ground, making it available to other plants. Plants, such as Borage add trace minerals.

Pest suppression — plants which repel insects, plants, or other pests like nematodes or fungi, through chemical means. Pest Suppression is also relative to Trap Cropping — plants which attract pests away from others.

Positive hosting — attracts or is inhabited by insects or other organisms which benefit plants, as with ladybugs or some "good nematodes".

Protective shelter — one type of plant may serve as a wind break, or shade from noonday sun, for another.

Most companion planting guidelines are steeped in myths handed down from generation to generation ,conjecture, and personal observations with no considerations to multiple variables. Basically there is little documented scientific support. Plant relationships are parroted from one site to another.

Whenever at all possible, we attempt to provide the rationale behind plant relationships. Please keep in mind that many inter-actions are also percentage based. If an insect that attacks a certain garden plant is repelled by another type of plant - that doesn't mean that absolutely no insects of the genus in question will go near the plants in question - it simply means a much lower percentage than normally would have attacked the plant will show up.

Thank You for taking the time to read this.

Happy Gardening




Angelica

Angelica Attracts Lady bugs, Parasitic wasps and lacewings which are all beneficial insects in the garden. It also attracts Aphids and works well as a trap crop.

Mint, broccoli, tomatoes, marjoram, sage, peppermint and Chamomille are all known to be good companion plants.


Anise

Anise attracts some beneficial insects and repels Aphids and fleas.

Planting Anise with coriander will speed-up germination as per some Garden Gurus, this is not proven nor is it disproven.


Asparagus

An amino acid asparagine, abundant in asparagus,repels many plant pests.

Good Neighbors include - Tomatoes, Parsley and Basil. [1]

Alliums, Garlic, Onions are known to stunt the growth of Asparagus. For more detailed information See - Asparagus Compatible Plants


Bee Balm

Basil - Attracts bees, butterflies, and humming birds. For this reason it is frequently suggested as a companion plant with many garden plants. The biggest drawback from a companion planting scenario is that bee balm is also highly susceptible to powdery mildew, which is easily transmitted to other plants, so we do not suggest it as a companion plant, as the cons outweigh the pros.


Borage

Borage attracts pollinating bees and wasps, deters tomato hornworm and cabbage worms, strengthens plant resistance to many common pests and disease and adds trace minerals to the soil. It has a symbiosis, is a good companion of Tomato and related plants such as eggplant and peppers, Squash, pumpkin and other curcubits, and particularly Strawberries. [10]



Broad Beans

Good Neighbor plants include Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Lettuce, Lovage, Marjoram, Potatoes, Spinach, Summer Savory planted with beans and onions will improve growth and flavor and discourages cabbage moths.

Avoid Fennel [5], Garlic, Onions and other Allums. Alliums Stunt Growth in Broad Beans.


Bush Beans

Good Neighbors include - Cucumbers, Potatoes, Corn, Celery.

Plant Summer savory with beans and onions to improve growth and flavor. Discourages cabbage moths.

Avoid planting with Onions and other Alliums - they stunt growth.


Beets

Beets add essential minerals to the soil via their decomposing leaves which contain high amounts of magnesium.

Good Neighbors include Alliums, Onions, kohlrabi, lettuce and brassicas. [2]

For more detailed information See - Beets - Companion Plants


Brassicas

Brassicas include Cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, Chinese cabbage.

Good Neighbors include Potatoes, celery, dill, chamomile, sage, thyme, mint, pennyroyal, rosemary, lavender, beets, onions, Chamomile which Improves flavor of cabbages and onions.

Tomatoes are repellent to diamondback moth larvae, which are caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Clover inter-planted with cabbage has been shown to reduce the native cabbage aphid and cabbage-worm populations by interfering with the colonization of the pests and increasing the number of predator ground beetles. Aromatic plants deter cabbage worms. Interplant Thyme with Brassicas as it repels cabbage worms.

Plant Chamomile with cabbage and onions. Improves growth and flavor

Bad Neighbors are Rue and Strawberry, which should be kept away from Cabbage and all Brassicas.[1]


Carrots

Peas, lettuce, Alliums - chives, onions, garlic are helped by carrots in that they repel insect pests that favor these vegetables. "Protect carrots by planting them with leeks to repel both carrot and onion flies. They won't even lay their eggs and your yield will increase tremendously." {Natural News May 2012]

Rosemary, sage, tomatoes, Bush beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, peppers, red radishes are all believed to be Good Neighbor Plants for Carrots.

Bad Neighbors include Pole beans, Strawberries, Dill, Chamomile

It is believed , but not proven, that young dill actually enhances plant vigor of its neighbors and mature Dill stunts the growth of some plants including carrots.

See - Carrot Companions


Catnip

Catnip is in the Mint family and has many of the same attributes as other types of Mint.

Plant in borders; protects against flea beetles and many other insects. It spreads rapidly and is invasive so it is best planted in a pot rather than directly in the soil. It attracts Cats of course, which will help keep the rodents - moles, mice, to a small extent squirrels away from the garden.


Celeriac

Beans, Pole Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lovage, Marjoram, Pea, Tomato are good companion plants


Celery

Leeks, Tomatoes, bush beans, cauliflower, cabbage. [1]


Chamomile

Cabbage and onions fare well in the vicinity of Chamomile.

"...savory, chamomile, and thyme are ideal planting crops. These three herbs will attract more beneficial insects than any bright, pretty flower will." - Alabama Cooperative Extension.


Chives

Improves growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes.

Plant chives around base of fruit trees to discourage insects from climbing the trunk.


Corn

Peas, beans, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash, Planting sunflowers with corn is said by some to increase the yield. [11] Pigweed will bring up nutrients from deep within the soil to where the corn roots can reach them. [3]  -  [2]

Sweet corn in a heavy feeder that takes nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil. Plant some climbing beans at the base of each corn stalk. The stalk will support the beans, while the climbing beans' roots will fix nitrogen from the air into the soil where its needed most.

Bad Neighbors - Tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same pests including hornworms, avoid planting in proximity to one another. Also keep away from celery.

Potatoes are touted by many Garden gurus as a "good neighbor of corn", this is not really 100% correct. See - Corn Companion Plants


Cucumbers

Good Neighbors - Sunflowers,Beans, Corn [1] , English Pea, Radish ,Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Corn, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Marigold, Nasturtium, Savory

Bad Neighbors - Potatoes [1], Any Aromatic Herbs.[4]

See Cucumber Companion Plants


Dill

Dill is believed to stunt the growth of carrots and tomatoes when planted too close. It does serve as a good trap crop for Tomato Hornworm, but when planted too close to tomatoes it can stunt their growth.

Good Companions for Dill are Cabbage family plants. [1]


Eggplant

Good Neighbors are Beans and Legumes [1], Spinach, Pigweed, Herbs such as Dill, Thyme and Tarragon.

Avoid planting near Fennel[5], Geraniums, Nut Trees.

For in depth and documented data see - Eggplant Compatible Plants


Flax is a good companion of Carrots, potatoes. Flax produces an oil that helps to protect root crops , it is also a deterrent of Colorado Potato Beetle.

Flax also known as linseed is rarely grown by Home Gardeners


Foxglove Apple, Potatoes, Tomato are believed to make good companion plants.


Garlic

Accumulates sulfur: a naturally occurring fungicide which will help in the garden with disease prevention. Garlic discourages Aphids,Flea beetle,Japanese beetle, and spider mites as well as vampires and members of the opposite sex.

Garlic can be intermingled with most other vegetables and herbs - exceptions are asparagus, beans and peas - the sulfur it produces is detrimental to their development. [4]


Gooseberry

Gooseberry doesn't have very many known friends in the plant realm , nor does it have very many enemies either. Back in the 1930s Gooseberries made some enemies amongst the human realm when they were banned in Boston, as well as the rest of the USA because it was believed they carriers of white pine blister rust.

They should be kept away from susceptible trees which in addition to white pine also includes Black locust and sugar maple.

Gooseberry will fare well when planted in conjunction with either Tansy or Tomatoes.

The scent of gooseberry is believed to repel some pests of tomato plants - [unproven].

Tansy is reputed to be a general insect repellent.

Beans, Chives, Tarragon as well as other fruits and berries can make fine companion plants for gooseberry. Read More at Gooseberry - Compatible Plants


Horseradish

Horseradish root contains an oil similar to mustard oil, it exhibits mild antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. While the amount present in its natural form only helps to curtail fungal and microbial activity, it doesn't prevent it - it does serve well as a companion plant for susceptible herbs, fruits and vegetables as it improves the odds.

Good Neighbors are Potatoes. Horseradish deters potato beetles and also increases the disease resistance of potato plants.

Plums and Fruit Trees - Plant horseradish around plum trees to discourage curculios, a weevil that preys on plum trees.

See Companion Plants for Horseradish


Hyssop is a good companion of Cabbage, Grapes, Roses, Tomatoes. [1] It should be kept away from Cucumber, radish.


Leek

For the purpose of companion planting, leeks should generally be treated like onions in most cases. They have very few natural enemies, the leek moth being one of the few. They should be considered as a candidate for companion planting more for their protective qualities.

Best Companions are Carrots, Apples, Tomato, Other Alliums. Leeks and herbs such as rosemary, wormwood, and sage act as repellents to the carrot fly" [2]

For detailed information see - Companion Planting With Leeks


Lavender Is a good border plant, it deters snails and slugs as well as many other insects and has no documented antagonistic relationships with other plants.


Lovage can be intermingled with many plants , but not beans. It is a large perennial, similar to celery in taste , it serves as a habitat for ground beetles - some beneficial - some not so much.


Lettuce

Good Companions for Lettuce are beets, broccoli, bush and pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, dill, onion, radish and strawberries.

Avoid cabbage. Cabbage impairs the growth and quality of lettuce. Avoid foxglove. Foxglove aphid attacks lettuce and is often found in joint infestations on either plant

Read More at Lettuce Compatible Plants


Marigolds are ideal companions through out the garden, as they're reputed to attract hoverflies , which prey on aphids, they also attract pollinators as well as reduce the number of nematodes in the soil [9]. If you are using beneficial nematodes they will be affected as well.


Marjoram Plant here and there in garden. There are no known bad companions for Marjoram, and it helps improve the growth and flavor of many - In particular Asparagus, beets, cabbage, cucumbers and other circubits.


Mint deters many insects by disrupting their ability to locate food sources within the vicinity of the plant - it masks the scent of surrounding plants.

Chamomile planted near mint will inhibit the mint plants ability to produce the oils that create the mint aroma, it does no harm to the Chamomile plants.


Mole plant also known as castor bean plant is a toxic plant which deters moles, mice and other small rodents. It has a small effect on Rabbits - but is not a guaranteed deterrent.


Nasturtium deters many pests including Aphids, Beetles, white flies, cucumber beetles, squash bugs.

"...Furthermore, many studies have reported a wide variety of companion plants to contain repellent properties against pests of Brassica crops .."[8]


Onions

Good Companions for Onions are Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Pepper, Squash, Strawberries, Tomato

Do not plant onions or other members of the Amaryllidaceae family in the same soil for more than one season.. Rotate the crops to various sections of your garden space from season to season.

See - Onions - Companion Plants


Parsley is a good companion plant for Tomatoes and Asparagus. [1]


Peas

Good candidates to companion plant with peas are Squash - when squash follows peas up trellis. Lettuce, radishes, carrots, turnips, cucumbers, corn ,beans, spinach.

Avoid all onion family plants particularly Garlic, as they are proven to stunt peas growth and vice-verse. [1].

Sweet peas will attract pollinating insects which helps with open pollinated plants. Flowers such as sweet alyssum, roses, lavender will benefit from being in the vicinity of sweet peas

For detailed information see - Companion Plants for Peas


Peppermint Contains menthol and repels white cabbage moths, aphids ,flea beetles, bees. It is the menthol content in mints that acts as an insect repellent. Grown near chamomile it produces less peppermint oils but the chamomile grows better.


Peppers

Good candidates to companion plant with peppers include Corn, Onions, garlic and Alliums, Marigolds, Carrots, Parsnips, Beans

Bad candidates to companion plant with peppers include cabbage and cabbage family plants, fennel [5], apricot and related fruit trees. [4]

For More extensive data on Pepper Companion Planting See- Intercropping Peppers


Petunias Protect many garden vegetables as they repel or distract leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, aphids, asparagus beetles.


Pigweed Brings nutrients to topsoil; beneficial growing with potatoes, onions, and corn; keep well thinned as it is extremely invasive.

Rabbits like Pigweed {aka Pig's Thistle}, if you've got an abundance of Bunnies in your area keep this away from your garden.


Potatoes

Good Neighbors include Horseradish, beans, corn, cabbage, marigold.

Horseradish deters potato bugs. Sweet alyssum has small flowers which predatory wasps, harmless to humans they prey on many worms which are harmful to potatoes.

Apple, Celery, Cherry, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Raspberry,Rosemary, Sunflower, Tomato NOT good neighbors. Also See - Potato Plant Companions


Pumpkins

Pumpkins are Good Neighbors of Corn, beans and Legumes, but have an antagonistic relationship with Potatoes.[1]

See - Pumpkin Companion Plants


Radish

Planting an early row of radishes will lure flea beetles away from susceptible plants.

Good Neighbors include Peas, nasturtium, lettuce, cucumbers; a general aid in repelling insects.

Potatoes and Hyssop are Bad Neighbors

See -Interplanting Radishes for more detailed information.


Raspberry

Raspberries Should not follow: eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers and other raspberry varieties in the crop rotation. These crops are susceptible to verticillium wilt, to which most raspberries are highly susceptible.

Good Neighbors are Marigold, Rue, Tansy. All of which repel harmful insects such as ants, flies, moths and assorted flying insects that are harmful to fruits and berries.

For more extensive information see - Raspberry Companion Planting


Rosemary Carrots, beans, cabbage, sage are good companion plants. It deters cabbage moth, bean beetles, and carrot fly.


Roses Marigolds Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Nasturtiums, Parsley, Rue, Sage, Tansy, Thyme, are all good companions. Tomatoes and Onions/Alliums are helpful to Roses. [2]


Rue deters Japanese Beetles, aphids, onion maggots, slugs, snail, fish moths and fleas. It should be kept away from Basil, cabbage, cucumbers, sage.




Sage When the herb is allowed to flower it produces an aesthetically appealing flower which attracts many beneficial insects. It makes a good companion plant for Rosemary, carrots, cabbage [2], peas, beans as it deters some of the pests which are known to infest these plants.


Southernwood is a good neighbor for cabbage and brassica plants as it repels many of the pests that infest these plants in particular Cabbage Looper.


Soybeans -

Like all beans soybeans add nitrogen to the soil making them an ideal candidate for companion planting with corn. They only insect they are documented as repelling or deterring are the chinch bugs. Some also say Japanese beetles, although this is unproven.

Corn, mungbean, and sunflower was found to eradicate aphids in soybeans. See Effect of plant traps and sowing dates on population density of major soybean pests

Snap beans will work well as a trap crop for Mexican bean beetles in soybeans. See - Weed And Pest Control: Conventional And New Challenges (Hb 2014)


Spinach

Spinach has very few enemies in the plant realm, it is compatible with most garden edibles and ornamentals. One of the attributes of Spinach is a compound known as saponin that it produces and secretes via its roots. Saponin is produced by some other plants as well but spinach is rich in it - saponin is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent that benefits not only the spinach plant itself, but its neighbors as well.

For Detailed Information on Companion Planting with Spinach - See - Spinach Compatible Plants


Strawberries

Good Companion Plants are Bush beans [1], Spinach, Sage ,lettuce and Borage. Borage Attracts Honey Bees, and strengthens plant resistance to many common pests and disease. Strawberries and Spinach draw nutrients from different levels of the soil, they don’t compete with each other, the spinach will grow taller and provide shade for the strawberries.

Do not plant strawberries where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplant have been grown in the past four years, because these crops carry the root rot fungus Verticillium which also attacks strawberries. Sage can be planted with cabbage, carrots, strawberries and tomatoes to enhance their growth.

See - Strawberry Compatible Plants


Summer savory is a good companion for Beans and onions.It deters bean beetles and some weevils. [2]   [1]


Sunflowers should not be planted near beans.[1]

They produce chemicals that act as growth inhibitors to many plants [12]. Sunflower also attracts aphids and other harmful insects, so although it may be a good companion in some instances, it is best kept at a distance from most vegetables, or used as a trap crop.


Tansy Plant under fruit trees, peaches in particular as a pest repellent it also deters pests of roses and raspberries; deters flying insects, also Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, ants. Also known as Parsley Fern.

Tansy Stems and Leaves are TOXIC to People, Pets and Livestock.


Tarragon Good throughout garden. Perennial Herb, very aromatic and related to Wormwood.


Thyme deters the cabbage worm , and is therefore a good companion for cabbage and other brassicas.


Tomatoes

Plant tomatoes away from corn, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, fennell and kohlrabi as they have too many pests in common.Don't plant tomatoes near nut trees the roots of many of these trees secrete a phytotoxin that is toxic to tomatoes ..Walnuts for instance, will kill almost anything within reach of their roots.

Dill serves as a trap crop for Tomato Hornworms, planted near tomatoes Dill will serve as a preferred trap crop; hand pick worms off the Dill Plants , but when it is planted too close to tomatoes it can stunt their growth.

Chives,Onion, Parsley, Asparagus, Marigold, Nasturtium, Carrots, Limas and Sage are Good Companion Plants for Tomatoes.

Sage can be planted with cabbage, carrots, strawberries and tomatoes to enhance their growth.

Basil - contrary to popular belief is not truly as good a choice as a companion plant for tomatoes, they draw basically the same nutrients from the soil at the same times, there is no proof that basil enhances the tomato flavor at all.

Also See -Tomatoes - Compatible Plants


Turnips

Peas are good companion plants [7]

Turnips help to deter Harlequin Bugs and related stinkbugs. Stink Bugs feed on plums, peaches, apples, raspberries tomatoes, sweet peppers. Turnips in the vicinity of these plants are helpful.

Mustard is not a good companion due to competition for nutrients and shared pests and pathogens. Also, but to a lesser degree - collard Greens.


Valerian Good anywhere in garden, it attracts earthworms and promotes phosphorous activity in the soil. Valerian can also be made into a spray to benefit the garden.


Wormwood As a border, wormwood keeps animals away from the garden, also known as absinthium and artemisius, it grows to 5 feet tall and is very aromatic. It contains a chemical called absinthin which is toxic to many other plants . It is best kept in Planters or a safe distance from other plants .


Yarrow serves as a Host plant for ladybugs, predatory wasps. Plant along borders, near paths, near aromatic herbs; enhances essential oil production of herbs.



References - Footnotes

1.Carrots Love Tomatoes - L. Riotte

2.Cornell Cooperative Extension - Companion Planting

3.Burpee - Companion Planting Guide

4. SF Gate


5. Fennel has a very strong aroma which makes it a poor companion for many other plants. Companion planting options are very limited when planting this herb. In defense of fennel it does attract a variety of beneficial insects including ladybugs, and repels pests such as Aphids and fleas.

Fennel companion planting options are limited, any gardener who is considering adding fennel to their garden to be mindful of what plants do not fare well when planted near it.

6.The influence of intercropping with Allium on some insect populations in potato

7.EFFECT OF PEA INTERCROPPING ON BIOLOGICAL EFFICIENCIES AND ECONOMICS OF SOME NON-LEGUME WINTER VEGETABLES"

8.Jackie French's Guide to Companion Planting in Australia and New Zealand 1991Paperback – September 1, 1991

9. Marigolds need to be grown at least one season before it is able to protect plants from nematodes.

10. Univ. Illinois Extension - Use Plants for Pest Control

11.National Sunflower Association Sunflower Magazine Sunflower & Corn: Rotational Synergy

12. Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally Pg. 235

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