Companion Planting

All plants have relationships with the plants around them. These can be beneficial resulting in improved:

 

  • Pollination
    • Plants attract pollinators to the vegetable plant for better crop production

 

  • Nutrient fixing in the soil
    • Legumes like peas and beans fix nitrogen into the soil

 

  • Beneficial insect habitat
    • Plants that can provide shade or foliage for beneficial insects like beetles to hide

 

  • Attracts beneficial insects
    • Certain plants attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, hoverflies, or beetles

 

  • Shade regulation
    • Some plants don’t want full sun, plants that provide shade like corn or squash provide needed shade

 

  • Weed suppression
    • Plants that sprawl like squash or zucchini are great at suppressing weeds

 

  • Trap cropping
    • Certain plants can be used as a sacrifice to save other crops
    • Nasturtiums or radishes can be used this way, they are fast-growing and can take being eaten by aphids

 

 

Common Beneficial Plants for Vegetable Crops

 

  • Alyssum
    • Attracts pollinators
    • Used to fill space between plants to suppress weeds

 

  • Basil
    • Great specifically with tomatoes

 

  • Beans
    • Great for nitrogen-fixing, avoid planting near onions and garlic

 

  • Borage
    • All around great companion plant
    • Attracts pollinators
    • Sprawls creating shade to suppress weeds and create habitat for beneficial insects

 

  • Calendula
    • Attracts pollinators
    • Flowers are edible

 

  • Clover
    • Builds soil nitrogen
    • Attracts pollinators
    • Used as ‘green’ compost or cover cropping

 

  • Cosmos
    • Provides food and habitat for beneficial insects

 

  • Dill
    • Like other umbellifers, they are the first to bloom in the spring providing necessary food to pollinators
    • Don’t plant near carrots or tomatoes

 

  • Echinacea
    • Attracts many different beneficial insects

 

  • Lavender
    • Attracts great pollinators
    • Good for other Mediterranean herbs like sage and rosemary

 

 

  • Marigold
    • Attracts beneficial insects
    • Mexican Marigold can actually deter rabbits 

  • Mint
    • Attracts beneficial insects
    • Can spread and take over a garden easily, keep it separate but in a pot nearby

 

  • Nasturtium
    • Good trap crop for aphids ~ they will attract the aphids instead of them attacking a vegetable crop
    • Leaves and flowers are edible
    • Attract pollinators
    • Spreads across the ground, providing habitat for beneficial insects and suppress weeds

 

  • Phacelia
    • Great for attracting pollinators
    • If you notice a plant not pollinating well, plant around them (squash or zucchini)

 

  • Sunflowers
    • Attracts pollinators
    • Great structure for trailing crops, like beans and peas, to grow up on

 

  • Yarrow
    • An umbellifer, that like dill, is one of the first plants to flower in the spring, vital for pollinator health
    • Its scent repels aphids and attracts other beneficial insects

 

 

Common Pairings:

 

  • Dill & Cabbage
  • Tomatoes & Basil and Tomatoes & Cabbage
  • Roses & Garlic
  • Cucumbers & Nasturtiums
  • Calendula & Broccoli
  • Marigold & Melons
  • Three Sisters – Corn, Beans, & Squash
  • Lettuce and tall flowers (provides shade)
  • Potatoes & Sweet Alyssum
  • Sweet Alyssum & Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce & Chives, or Lettuce & Garlic

 

 

 

More information:

West Coast Seeds

Burpee

The Old Farmers Almanac