Just like people, certain plants get along and some do not... at all. The trick, as we’ve discovered, is to plant them in pairings or groups that benefit all species involved. Here are some reasons to use companion planting in your garden:
- The flavour of crops can be enhanced by a companion plant
- Certain plants emit nutrients that other species need to be successful, and vice versa
- Plants grown together can drive away pests that affect the health of each crop
- Different growing patterns and root requirements make combinations of plants well-suited to be in the same soil and space
- Companion plants can repel or attract bugs and critters that either harm or help a species grow
Many gardeners have discovered that localizing species can be detrimental to the success of a crop. For example, planting all tomatoes in one garden box, kale in another, and lettuce in the next means that pests can’t be evaded and plants will be competing for the nutrients they need.
As we mentioned in last week’s blog post on growing tomatoes, the flavour and crop size of tomatoes are enhanced when planted with basil and/or garlic. Here are a few other killer combos that you can try in your garden this weekend (tips provided by Mother Earth News):
Beets do well close to broccoli, brussels sprouts, bush beans, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, and onions. Avoid planting beets near charlock, field mustard, and pole beans.
Cabbage and Cauliflower:
While cabbage and cauliflower are in the same family, they do NOT get along. Be sure not to plant them together! However, you can plant either of these species with broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, chard, spinach, and tomatoes. The tomatoes and celery will repel cabbage worms. Avoid planting cabbage or cauliflower close to strawberries, because strawberries will impair the growth of these plants.
Our orange (or purple, yellow, white) friends are happy when planted by cabbage, chives, early potatoes, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, rosemary, sage, salsify, and wormwood. The onions, leeks and wormwood repel the flies that affect the growth of carrots.
This plant keeps Japanese beetles and aphids at bay, creating an environment that is perfect for cabbage, cane fruits (such as raspberries and blackberries), fruit trees, roses, and tomatoes. However, keep garlic away from peas and beans!
As one of our favourite dark green leafy vegetables, kale grows well next to herbs, buckwheat, anything in the cabbage family, marigolds, and nasturtiums. Aphids love nasturtiums, so they will flock to them rather than your kale plants. Do not plant by pole beans or strawberries.
As we just mentioned, this species attracts aphids, but that’s not all! Potato bugs, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles, Mexican bean beetles, and whiteflies also seek out nasturtiums, protecting nearby crops. Plant nasturtiums by apples, beans, anything in the cabbage family, in greenhouses, close to potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, and squash.
Depending on how you want your radish harvest to turn out, you can plant them by different companions. Chervil will make radishes hot, lettuce will make them tender, and nasturtiums improve its flavour.
These are only a few of the many companion planting pairings that have worked well for other solo and urban gardeners! Of course, all gardens are unique, so we encourage you to test it out for yourself and figure out what works best for your own garden and plants.
Our garden planning and maintenance app has built in companion planting tips. Sign up to be the first to download it at the end of this month. www.mygreenspace.co
Please let us know any advice you have or winning combinations you’ve discovered in the comments below. Have a wonderful weekend!
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