Spring is the time to plant vegetables and herbs, and here at Evergreen Nursery we always have lots of variety to choose from. For the average home gardener wanting to plant several types of vegetables in relatively small areas, it’s helpful to know what plants work well together – and which plants don’t. Here are a few tips to keep this year’s vegetable selection in good company.
Benefits of Companion Planting
Companion planting is the selection of plants that benefit one or both plants when planted alongside each other. One plant might repel insects, provide support or shade, or improve soil conditions for another plant. It’s also a great way to maximize garden space and allow more variety in your harvest. By providing a variety of plants that benefit each other, companion planting creates diversity in your garden that can help prevent cycles of pests and diseases from taking hold.
For example, tomatoes benefit from having basil and marigolds planted nearby because these plants help repel certain pests. However, tomato plant growth can be stunted when grown in the same bed with cabbage. Knowing which plants to plant together will help promote soil health by creating a diverse environment that helps prevent pest infestations or depletion of nutrients and improves plant growth.
Companion Planting: What to Plant with What?
The exact reasons some plants seem to benefit others while some inhibit growth is not always known. This can make it tricky to figure out which plants will get along. Don’t worry about getting bogged down with too much information. It’s not always necessary to know the whys of which plants are friends and which are foes – but it is helpful to know whether they’ll get along well if planted in the same bed. The chart below gives guidelines for many popular herbs and vegetables for the home garden (we’ve also included marigolds, which make good pest-deterring companion plants for many vegetables). The last column gives a few examples of how plants may be helped or hindered by other plants.
Vegetable Companion Chart
|Vegetable Type||Plant With...||Avoid Planting With...||Notes|
|Asparagus||Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuce, Basil, Parsley, Marigolds||Onions, Garlic||Asparagus and onions/garlic may compete for the same nutrients.|
|Beans||Cabbages, Carrots, Celery, Peas, Lettuce, Strawberries, Turnips, Parsley, Zucchini/Summer Squash||Onions, Garlic, Peppers||Beans make soil rich in nitrogen, a necessary nutrient, by a process called nitrogen fixing; onions and garlic inhibit nitrogen fixing by killing beneficial root bacteria on beans.|
|Cabbage Family*||Beans, Celery, Marigolds, Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Chamomile||Onions, Garlic, Strawberries, Rue, Peppers, Tomatoes||Plant different cabbage family members separately, as they may compete for the same nutrients and/or attract the same pests.|
|Carrots||Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Garlic, Peas, Peppers, Tomatoes, Turnips, Parsley||Dill, Coriander, Parsnips||Onions help repel carrot rust fly; tomatoes provide shade for heat sensitive carrots.|
|Celery||Beans, Cabbages, Tomatoes, Onions, Leeks||Carrots, Parsley||Taller plants help shade young celery shoots; celery repels cabbage white butterfly from cabbage plants.|
|Leeks||Carrots, Celery, Onions, Turnips||Beans, Peas||Carrots and leeks repel each other’s common pests.|
|Lettuce||Asparagus, Carrots, Strawberries, Peppers, Beans, Garlic, Onions, Radishes, Mint, Marigolds, Potatoes||Parsley, Cabbages||Onions and garlic repel aphids; the texture of radishes is improved when planted near lettuce.|
|Onions and Garlic||Carrots, Celery, Lettuce, Cabbages||Asparagus, Beans, Parsley, Peas, Turnips||Onions and garlic emit a chemical (ajoene) that inhibits growth in beans, peas and turnips and interferes with nitrogen fixing.|
|Peas||Beans, Carrots, Turnips, Marigolds||Onions, Garlic||Like beans, peas are natural nitrogen fixers.|
|Peppers||Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Basil, Squash, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes||Beans, Cabbages, Fennel||Basil boosts flavor of peppers and repels common pests; leafy plants like lettuces and carrots help inhibit weed growth.|
|Potatoes||Beans, Strawberries, Lettuce, Marigolds, Basil, Parsley||Tomatoes, Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Chamomile||Basil and Parsley attract beneficial insects; potatoes and tomatoes are susceptible to the same diseases.|
|Strawberries||Beans, Lettuce||Cabbages||Cabbages attract pests that will harm strawberries.|
|Tomatoes||Asparagus, Carrots, Celery, Parsley, Peppers, Marigolds, Basil||Potatoes, Cabbages, Fennel, Dill, Rosemary, Peas||Marigolds and basil help keep parasitic nematodes and hornworms away from tomatoes.|
|Turnips||Beans, Carrots, Leeks, Parsley||Onions and Garlic||Turnips are natural aphid repellents.|
|Zucchini/Summer Squash||Beans, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Peppers, Radishes||Potatoes, Pumpkin||Beans provide nitrogen squash needs; radishes deter squash vine borers and beetles.|
*Cabbage Family includes: arugula, bok choy, brown mustard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, kale, kohlrabi, Napa cabbage, and rutabaga.