Companion Planting

monarch butterfly on marigold

I just love this concept.

Companion Planting is my gardening buddy program!


Photo by nikonjim


By doing a bit of planning, you can help your plants by:

  • Attracting good bugs and keeping away the bad ones

  • Adding nutrients into the soil

  • Keeping diseases out of your soil

  • Sometimes, even just providing a bit of shade for sun sensitive plants

Your organic vegetable garden will thank you!

There are two ways you can do this.

  • By planting certain plants together (eg: onions and carrots like each other, whereas beans and onions don't)

And:

  • By planting additional plants into the veggie patch (eg: marigolds may not be something you were going to plant but they are a great companion plant so they get added to the list)

You can also get a bit creative and plant some veggies outside of the patch to help other plants. For example, plant garlic between your rose bushes.

Have you ever seen roses planted at the end of each grapevine at a vineyard? This isn’t for looks, the roses serve a purpose.

This Companion Planting List outlines good buddies and bad buddies for your veggie patch. It is a great reference for when you are doing your Vegetable Garden Planning.

So is it as easy as just planting some basil plants when growing tomatoes?

Unfortunately, no. Like most gardening techniques, there is a bit of trial and error and you will still need to be on the lookout for any problems in the garden. For example the list may say that Plant A is a good buddy for Plant B but it won’t tell you that you need 10 Plant A’s to make it worthwhile. This is the exception though, so it is still worth doing.

Do Herbs make great companions?

They certainly do! When planning your Herb Garden you might want to add some herbs into the veggie patch instead of a separate herb garden. For example basil with your tomatoes, sage with your strawberries. Herbs are included in my List.

So what about those flowers?

Now you can add some flowers to your garden and they’ll not only look and smell great, they’ll be put to work!

Geraniums: Attract pests away from roses and grape vines, distracts beet leafhoppers (carrier of the curly top virus) away from plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tobacco.

Marigolds: French marigolds produce a pesticidal chemical from their roots, so strong it lasts years after they are gone. These will deter whitefly. Mexican marigolds do the same, but are so strong they will inhibit the growth of some more tender herbs, and can grow over 5 foot tall!

Marigold flowers are edible, choose the Lemon Gem or Tangerine Gem varieties if you want to eat them.

Nasturtiums: Works as a trap crop for aphids, and studies say is among the best at attracting predatory insects. They will attract Black Fly.

Did you know you can also eat nasturtium leaves and flowers? (great addition to a salad)

And don’t forget the trees

Planting trees and shrubs is essential for any garden (room permitting!) but they are also great companion plants. Local, native trees and shrubs will attract an array of Good Guys: pollinating insects (like butterflies, bees, and native wasps), reptiles, beetles and many other garden helpers.


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Some pages you may enjoy

Raised Bed Gardening - There are many benefits to adding some Raised Garden Beds to your garden.

Gardening with Kids - The kids can have fun in the garden too. My Gardening with Kids page has lots of fun links - Flower Pot Crafts, Coloring Pages, Word Search Games and ideas of how the kids can help in the garden.

Enjoy your Garden