Vegetable Garden Companion Planting can be a confusing business. It takes a while to get your head around companion plant combinations that work and don’t work together.
What is Vegetable Garden Companion Planting ?
Companion planting is simply the practice of planting two or more plants together to the benefit of both plants.
Much of what the gardening community knows about vegetable garden companion planting has been learned by trial and error over many generations.
Some plants work better with others and some are a terrible combination and they both struggle. Here are some well-known plant combinations that work and you should aim for. I have provided a printable pdf of vegetable and herb companion combinations that work well below for you.
Companion planting isn’t limited to just vegetables either, herbs and many flowers can be used as companion plants for the vegetables.
Flowers that make good companion plants:
Nasturtium (a flower) attracts caterpillars, aphids and whitefly. Therefore planting it alongside or around vegetables such as lettuces, cabbages, beans and tomatoes will protect them. The adults will lay the eggs on the nasturtium leaves instead.
The nasturtium can be pulled while the eggs are at a junior stage to rid the garden of this cycle. Also when they are flowering nasturtium attract bees and provide homes for beneficial bugs.
You should plant marigolds close to crops that suffer from aphids and greenfly. Marigolds emit a scent that repels aphids and attracts hoverflies, which are a predator of aphids.
Foxgloves as a companion plant have a growth-stimulating effect on all the plants near it. It is also said to protect the garden from disease and strengthen tender plants.
Certain flowers are grown as companion plants near edible crops in order to attract insects for pollination. Capsicums and eggplants, which have smaller flowers, benefit from having flowers nearby to ensure they get pollinated.
Bee friendly plants include calendula, marigolds, sunflowers, poppies, clover, nasturtiums, Queen Anne’s Lace, echinacea, borage and purple tansy.
Borage is a great companion for your strawberries, attracting lots of bees for increased yields.
DOWNLOAD PDF here companion-planting-list-piwakawaka-valley
Herbs that make good vegetable garden companion plants
Sage is a great herb to plant around celery crops, as it helps to keep aphids away.
Hyssop deters white cabbage butterfly from brassicas such as broccoli, cabbages and Brussels sprouts.
Basil improves the flavour of tomatoes when planted alongside. Basil can also be planted alongside capsicums.
Plant dill and rosemary next to broccoli.
Great Vegetable combinations for successful companion planting
Grow carrots and leeks together. Both have strong scents that drive away each other’s pests.
Garlic planted among roses will help deter aphids.
Asparagus, basil, carrots, celery and parsley are ideal companion plants for tomatoes to help each other grow. Tomatoes are also compatible with chives and onion.
Sweetcorn does well planted with potatoes, peas, beans and squash.
Why are some Companion Planting Charts Conflicting?
Not all companion planting charts are the same. This is because companion planting is not completely understood and what grows well together in some areas may compete for the same resources elsewhere.
Companion Planting Charts Are a Guideline Only
There are general guidelines for companion planting vegetables that work well in the majority of the world. I suggest that you use this chart as a guide, and modify it as you find what works (or doesn’t work) in your own garden. Over time you will have a great resource for your area, and won’t need to rely on others’ companion planting charts anymore!
The Big Benefits of Companion Planting Vegetables and Herbs in your garden
Shelter – smaller plants are protected by larger ones from wind or too much sun.
Support – Some vegetables can climb others – like pole beans planted with corn use the corn as a trellis.
Beneficial Insects – attracting beneficial insects such as bees help spread pollen and other keep aphid numbers low.
Soil Improvement – some vegetable plants improve soil conditions for other plants. For example, legumes (beans, peas etc) draw nitrogen from the atmosphere and add it to the soil around them.
Decoy Plants – there are plants that emit odors that aid in masking the odors of insect-desirable vegetable plants.
Asparagus Basil, Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Carrots, Tomatoes, Marigolds Garlic, Potatoes, Onions Marigolds, Parsley, Tomato protect from asparagus beetles Beans Beets, Brassicas, Carrot, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Celery, Chards, Corn, Eggplant, Peas, Potatoes Alliums (chives, garlic, leeks, onions), Peppers, Tomatoes For Broad Beans: Fennel Corn is a natural trellis, and provides shelter for beans. Beans provide nitrogen to the soil. Beets Brassicas (ie. broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, turnip), Kohlrabi, Garlic, Lettuce, Onion, Sage Pole and Runner Beans The beans and beets compete for growth. Composted beet leaves add magnesium to the soil when mixed. Broccoli Basil, Bush Beans, Chamomile, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Tomato Grapes, Mustard, Oregano, Strawberry, Tomato Rosemary repels cabbage fly. Dill attracts wasps for pest control. Brussels Sprouts Dill, Potato, Thyme Strawberry, Tomato — Cabbage Beets, Bush Beans, Celery, Chamomile, Dill, Mint, Onion, Potato, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage Beans (Pole and Runner), Mustards, Peppers, Strawberry, Tomato Celery, onion and herbs keep pests away. Rosemary repels cabbage fly. Carrots Beans (Bush and Pole), Garlic, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley, Peas, Rosemary, Tomato Dill, Parsnip Beans provide nitrogen in soil which carrots need. Onion, parsley and rosemary repel the carrot fly Cauliflower Beans, Celery, Oregano, Peas, Tomato Strawberries Beans provide the soil with nitrogen, which cauliflower needs. Celery Bush Beans, Cabbage, Dill, Leeks, Marjoram, Tomatoes Parsnip, Potato — Chives Basil, Carrots, Marigold, Parsley, Parsnip, Strawberries, Tomato Beans — Corn Beans, Cucumbers, Marjoram, Parsnip, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Squash, Zucchini Tomato Tomato worm and corn earworm like both plants. Beans and peas supply nitrogen. Cucumber Beans, Celery, Corn, Dill, Lettuce, Peas, Radish Potato, Sage, strong aromatic herbs, Tomato Cucumbers grow poorly around potatoes and sage. Dill Cabbage, Corn, Cucumbers, Dill, Fennel, Lettuce, Onions Coriander, Tomato Cross-pollinates with coriander, ruining both. One only a few plants that grows well with Fennel. Eggplant Beans, Marjoram, Pepper, Potato — — Kohlrabi Beets, Lettuce, Onions Strawberries, Pole Beans, Tomato Lettuce repels earth flies. Leek Carrots, Celery, Lettuce, Onions Beans, Peas Companion attributes are the same as garlic, onion, chives (alliums). Lettuce Beans, Beets, Carrots, Corn, Marigold, Onions, Peas, Radish, Strawberries Parsley Mints repel slugs (which feed on lettuce). Marigold Brassicas (broccoli, etc), Cucurbits (cucumber, etc), Peppers, Tomato, and most other plants — It is said that you can plant Marigolds throughout the garden, as they repel insects and root-attacking nematodes (worm-like organisms). Be aware they may bother allergy sufferers. Onions Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Lettuce, Marjoram, Rosemary, Savory, Strawberry, Tomato Beans, Peas Repels aphids, the carrot fly, and other pests. Parsley Asparagus, Beans, Radish, Rosemary, Tomato Lettuce Draws insects away from tomatoes. Peas Beans, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Marjoram, Parsnip, Potato, Sage Alliums (Chives, Garlic, Onion, Shallots) — Potato Beans, Cabbage, Corn, Eggplant, Horseradish, Marjoram, Parsnip Celery, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Strawberries, Tomato Cucumber, tomato and raspberry attract harmful pests to potatoes. Horseradish increases disease resistance. Pumpkin Beans, Corn, Radish Potato — Radish Cabbage, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marjoram, Parsnip — Radish is often used as a trap crop against some beetles(flea and cucumber). Sage Beans, Cabbage, Carrots, Peas, Rosemary, Strawberries — Repels cabbage fly, some bean parasites. Spinach Beans, Lettuce, Peas, Strawberries — Natural shade is provided by beans and peas, for spinach. Squash Fruit trees, strawberries — Similar companion traits to pumpkin. Strawberries Borage, Bush Beans, Caraway Broccoli, Cabbages The herb, Borage, is likely the strongest companion. Tomatoes Alliums, Asparagus, Basil, Borage, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Marigold, Peppers Brassicas, Beets, Corn, Dill, Fennel, Peas, Potatoes, Rosemary Growing basil about 10 inches from tomatoes increases the yield of the tomato plants. Turnip Peas — — Zucchini Flowering herbs (for pollination) — Attracts bees
Here is a great video on some of the research behind the benefits of companion planting:
What do you think of our vegetable garden companion planting chart? Let me know in the comments below:
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