What is that? 10 Vegetable and Plant Growing Companions

Companion planting is a tradition rather than an exact science, but it is rooted in centuries of growing knowledge and experience. Essentially, it’s about growing the right plants together so that they benefit each other, growing strong, healthy and productive. But how does it work?

Matchmaking plants can help repel predators and disease, improve flower flavor and potency by encouraging healthy root systems, and even conserve water. It is an organic growing method that has been practiced in many different cultures around the world and involves working in tandem with the powers of nature and creating a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

It really makes sense – grow a big plot with rows and rows of the same plant and you risk losing them all if an infestation of black flies, blight or some other disease affects a single plant, because it will damage them. will tear them all apart. By mixing the planting, you can help manage the spread of disease and distract unwanted insects.

However, it’s not just about keeping bad things at bay. Companion planting is just as much about encouraging good, strong, fruitful growth. For example, plants in the legume family – beans and peas – help enrich the soil of their neighbors. Their roots produce a natural reserve of nitrogen via nodules on their roots which all plants need for healthy growth.

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Some of the key characteristics of common companion plants are color and fragrance. These help attract beneficial insects and pollinators and distract and confuse unwanted insects. For example, sunny-flowered calendulas (marigolds) attract hoverflies, which are great pollinators, as well as ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on aphids and repel whiteflies that can damage young growth. So, in addition to being attractive to look at and good to use in foods, teas and tinctures, they have many benefits for their fellows.

Companion planting works for flowering plants as well as food crops – roses can be prone to aphids, black flies and green flies and a bed of roses underplanted with thyme will have a good chance of repelling them. infestations, as the fragrant thyme will deter pests and the flowers will attract hoverflies and other beneficial insects to prey on them.

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However, if you grow food, it’s a great way to promote healthy crops organically. One of the classic combinations of companions is known as the Three Sisters cultivation method and originates from farming techniques used by native Indian tribes on the plains and prairies of North America. By growing sweet corn, pole beans, and squash together, you create a family of plants that won’t compete with each other but together will be more productive. The principle works on the basis that sweetcorn provides strong, straight stalks that are natural supports for the beans to climb; the beans provide the nitrogen-fixing nodules in their roots that nourish the soil and the lush leaves of the squash shade the roots, helping to conserve water and control weeds.

Many culinary herbs are good companion plants. The strongly scented leaves and flowers of plants like lavender and sage are a natural repellent for many insects. They dislike or get confused by the scent, while their flowers will help attract beneficial pollinators and predators.

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Companion planting is also a great idea for small spaces. The idea of ​​combining plants that grow at different times and support each other is fundamental to growing vegetable garden style. Why not alternate rows of broccoli with faster-growing spinach, beets and radishes, which also have a reputation for enhancing the flavor of plants in the brassica family?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to grow your companion plant a short distance from your crop to keep pests away. You may need to treat it like a sacrificial plant that you don’t mind being infested with black flies or other caterpillars. For example, if you grow nasturtiums away from your crucifers, cabbage white moths will lay their eggs on them, which will keep caterpillars away from your cabbage, kale, and cabbage. In turn, the birds feed on the pesky larvae. So it becomes a very virtuous circle of growth and life.

It is a beautiful natural method of controlling unwanted pests and diseases and by using companion plants you create an organic and balanced ecosystem that will only benefit your garden and encourage good food and flower crops.

10 Classic Vegetable Growing Companions

Garlic Carrots and Chives (Allium tuberosum)

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The garlicky smell of these small, white-flowered members of the allium family will repel and confuse the dreaded carrot fly that is attracted to the smell of young carrot plants.

Leeks and lavender

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It may sound strange, but why not plant a low hedge of lavender around your leek bed? Leeks are ready to harvest from late summer and during this time the fragrant lavender will look great, buzzing with bees and protecting the leeks from confusing allium moth and leaf miners. ‘allium that would normally be attracted to the smell of onions.

Beans and nasturtiums

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The golden and sunny orange flowers of the nasturtium will keep aphids away from the beans and also attract the nice ones that prey on the aphids. Plant a patch of nasturtiums or grow in pots nearby to distract insects from your beans.

Kale and sage

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Most members of the brassica family like kale will benefit from growing alongside strongly scented herbs like sage, rosemary and mint, which can help deter or distract common pests like flea beetle and cabbage maggot.

Strawberries and borage

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Many growers swear that borage enhances the flavor of strawberries if grown alongside them. Borage leaves have a cucumber flavor that complements the strawberries – it certainly makes a great combination in your summer pimms. However, the blue star flowers are also a magnet for summer pollinators, so they will help ensure a good strawberry harvest.

Cucumbers and nasturtiums

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These fit together in terms of size and increasing requirements. Cucumbers need lots of space and nutrients, while nasturtiums will fit in wherever they can. They are also known to repel cucumber beetles which will damage plants and attract other friendlier insects to feed on them.

Potatoes and sweet alyssum

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As well as being a pretty companion, sweet alyssum’s harmless white flowers keep coming all summer long and can help defend potato crops against pests such as white grubs, wireworms, Colorado potato beetle potato and leafhoppers by attracting wasps and other insects that feed on them. . These low-growing annuals also help keep weeds away and keep the soil from losing moisture.

Tomatoes and basil

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It’s not only a great tasty combination on the plate, but many gardeners swear that by growing them together, basil can also enhance the flavor of tomatoes. Easy bedmates, they both require the same growing conditions – plenty of sun, fertile soil and liquid food throughout the summer. Basil will also attract beneficial insects to help pollinate tomato flowers.

Broad beans and summer savory

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Broad beans are a great crop to grow, but they are prone to black fly infestations in early summer, which can decimate crops and hurt your gardener’s morale. Summer savory has a reputation for repelling these pests and it has a dual role as the flavor complements the beans when cooked together, so it is a good companion on the plot and on the plate.

Garlic and eggplant

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Plant your garlic cloves in the winter, leaving room for your eggplant, peppers and chili plants to plant between the rows when the weather is warm enough. Garlic will help deter pests large and small, from aphids to deer and rabbits, and it also helps as an antifungal agent, providing some protection against these airborne diseases.

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