Ever heard of companion planting? It is the practice of planting two or more types of plants together for their mutual benefit. Benefits may be pest control, providing habitat for beneficial creatures, maximizing space and, in general, promote increased crop productivity.
Companion planting is an age old practice dating back thousands of years in many cultures. The use of the “three sisters” by Native American Indians is a classic example wherein they planted corn, beans and squash together. The corn provided a living trellis for the beans to clamber up and the low-growing squash, with their giant leaves, sheltered the soil – retarding weeds and retaining moisture. And the beans, what did they offer the other two crops? When the beans were done producing and were tilled back into the soil, they provided valuable nitrogen for future crops.
While there are a number of plants that do well together, here are our top 10 companion plants for vegetables.
1. Tomatoes – These popular garden plants work well with:
Of course, for every yin there’s a yang, so tomatoes do not play well with cabbage, fennel or potato.
2. Potatoes – If potatoes don’t like tomatoes, who would they like to be paired up with? Beans, cabbage and horseradish, of course.
3. Beans – Beans aren’t picky and pair well with most herbs and veggies but dislike onions.
4. Cabbage – Another undemanding crop, this one thrives when planted with most herbs as well as:
5. Carrots – Carrots enjoy the company of:
6. Cucumbers – Cucumbers do well when planted near:
7. Onions – Beets, carrots, lettuce and cabbage are not offended by the onion’s strong aroma.
8. Asparagus – Asparagus goes well with tomato, parsley, and basil in the garden plot and on the dinner table.
9. Celery – Celery benefits from:
10. Lettuce – Lettuce partners well with:
One last note on companion planting regarding marigolds, which are one of those plants often listed as being ideal companion plantings, but there is no evidence that just planting them next to a crop has any benefit. The benefit arises if you plant them as a cover crop and till them back into the soil.