The Complete Guide Into the World of Companion Planting

Are you looking for a new method of gardening? If so, then companion planting is the direction that you should take. It’s clear that with the growing state of the home gardening sector, different green-fingered individuals are coming up with new methods. With companion planting, you can plant different kinds of plants and still harvest them together and at the right time.

Here, we’ll take time and provide you with some of the need to know details which you should follow to become an expert companion planting gardener. We’ll look at the plants that you should plant together and those which you shouldn’t. There are also several benefits that come with companion planting which we’ll carefully take you through. But, what is companion planting?

What is Companion Planting?

Well, companion planting is a bit more than just any general notion that some specific plants can benefit others if they are planted close to each other. It has been defined as the planting of two or more crop species so that you may get excellent cultural benefits such as higher yields and pest control.
However, scientists look at the process differently. They say that it embraces various strategies that increase the plant's biodiversity in all agricultural ecosystems or just what we like to call a garden. In layman’s language, it only involves two plants helping each other to grow.

Companion planting has a rather long history, but the methods of planting plants for the beneficial interaction are not always apparent. In many situations, they are created from oral tradition, front porch and family secrets recommendations. Despite various historical observations and the science of horticultural farming, we practice companion planting because it’s a practical planting method.

It allows you to grow herbs, veggies and exotic crops to their full potential. The process also helps in keeping insects away as well as maintaining healthy soil. Eventually, you’ll note that the food even tastes better. To kick-start your gardening adventure, here are some important reminders:

  • You should know that beans can grow with almost everything. You can just plant them next to spinach and tomatoes.
  • To increase the resistance to diseases, you should plant your horseradish next to all your potatoes.
  • Summer cornfields are easily converted into fields of pumpkins.
  • In the past, pumpkins were planted together with pole and corn beans by the natives through a method called ‘Three Sisters.' So, what happens here is that the corn offers a sufficient pole for the growth of beans while the beans trap Nitrogen in the soil which greatly benefits the pumpkins. Also, the pumpkins come with a dense ground cover and foliage to stop the spread of weeds and to also keep away harmful pests.
  • Pumpkins function best as a row type of crop planted together with sunflowers.
  • It’s good to plant some healthy nasturtium next to your squash as it helps in keeping away those lousy squash vine borers.
  • Consider using sweet marjoram in your gardens and beds to make your herbs and vegetables sweeter!


 

Why Is Companion Planting Significant?

Many benefits come with companion planting. For instance, tomatoes taste better when planted together with basil. Similarly, harvesting them is made more comfortable because they are next to each other.

What are some of the other additional benefits?

It Helps in Pest Control

Companion planting is a traditional art which needs a great deal of planning. Even so, it will assist you in obtaining a good harvest. Using the three sisters method that we’ve already mentioned, you can plant corn for trellises, and after the corn has grown to just a few inches, you can proceed with adding beans and squash.

Here, the bean seeds feed the corn with nitrogen and provide shades for the roots. The corn, on the other hand, provides them with something easy for climbing. They repel pests and encourage good growth!

Companion planting supports plant diversity, which is beneficial to the soil, the ecosystem, and the gardener. Plant diversity provides us with insect diversity and decreases the number of parasites.

Saves on Space

Today, there are many plants which can be planted together. A good example is tomatoes and carrots. If you have a small garden, planting these two crops is not only intelligent but a nutritious gardening method. So, first think of your gardening area and the plants that you wish to grow.
If you want to plant potatoes, beans, and maize, then you don’t have to use up a considerable portion of your garden. It will be more straightforward and far much beneficial if you could plant these three together!

Enhanced Productivity through Companion Planting

Companion planting assists in pollination, control of pests and helping you to make the best use of your gardening space. All these factors eventually go a long way in increasing the crop productivity. Nowadays, we grow plants in a mono-crop type of system. Such means that you’ll probably find large tracts of fields containing only a single crop.
Apparently, it’s easier to water and care for the plants in such a system. However, you’ll have to use a lot of chemicals to control the pests. Let us take the example of tomatoes. Here, every tomato hornworm in the area is going to get attracted to your farm. However, if you plant vegetables with plants such as lettuce, you’ll see some exciting findings. The tomato offers the right shade for the salad while the latter repels all tomato pests.

Companion Planting is Viewed As God’s Natural Way of Growing Plants

How do things grow in nature? They are mixed in all manner of plant varieties. Therefore, we can say that character knows best. Companion planting helps in supporting plans, behaviours and plans. It reduces and improves flavours, and allows you to plant more varieties.
Plants such as Basil are good when planted together with different garden crops. They improve the flavour of tomatoes and lettuce and repel bugs such as mosquitoes. Who wouldn’t want a plant that keeps away mosquitoes?

What Should You Plant Together?

Through the centuries, we’ve cultivated our gardens and noticed those plants that grow well together. Some vegetables, flowers, and herbs are good for the soil and each other too! We’ve also seen that others repel pests. All in all, companion planting offers a good blueprint for a much-improved garden yield.

Vegetables

Artichoke
Here is an architectural type of plant that offers shade and form to your vegetable plot. It’s not a delicate plant to grow, and you can plant it together with crops such as Tomatoes, carrots, and beans.

Asparagus
Asparagus is a perennial crop that is perfect for companion planting. You can grow it together with plants such as parsley and tomatoes.

Beetroot
Beetroot is a crop which is best for companion planting as it does not take up too much space. You can grow it together with plants such as Broccoli, beans, cabbage, lettuce, onions and brassicas, and passion fruits.

Broad Beans
Beans, like all other Legumes, are perfect for adding nitrogen to the soil. They can easily be planted together with maize, potatoes, celery, cucumber, and soybeans.

Broccoli and Calabrese
One of the best things about companion planting is that you can grow brassicas at any time of the year. You can plant it together with onions, beets, cereals, and potatoes.

Brussel Sprouts
Wondering which plants you should grow your Brussel sprouts with? We found that they go well with sage, thyme, malting barley, and clover.

Cabbage
Cabbage is a common vegetable. It helps in adding a great taste to your food as well as in improving the process of digestion. It’s also easy to plant, and it grows well with other vegetables such as celery and beans.

Carrots
The carrot plant is another beautiful vegetable which helps in adding a creamy taste to food. It’s also recommended to people suffering from eyesight problems. To get the best out of your carrot plantation, you can grow it together with other vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, and alliums.

Cauliflower
Grow your cauliflower together with plants such as celery, spinach, peas, and beans!

Celeriac
Celeriac, unlike other vegetables, is not a natural plant to grow. It requires rich water-retentive and fertile soils. Grow it together with other herbs such as brassicas, cucumbers and bush beans to get high yields.

Celery
We all love to add celery to our foods. But what makes the plant so rich in taste? Well, you only need to grow it in your polytunnel with other crops such as bush beans, cucumbers, and brassicas.

Courgette
Your Courgette needs a lot of pollinators. As such, one of the best plants to grow together with your Courgette is the Nasturtiums.

Fennel
Fennel is merely the name given to two closely related crops. These are the herb fennel and the Florence fennel. You can grow it together with vegetables which need ample shade such as your summer salads.

Garlic
Do you enjoy tasting garlic in your food? You can grow it together with lettuce, celery, peas, potatoes, and cucumbers!

Kale
This is one of the most common vegetables. You can plant it together with other vegetables and fruits such as cabbages, tomatoes, cauliflower, and passion fruits.

Mushrooms
These are some of the oldest plants. They can grow almost anywhere but to get the best out of your mushrooms; you need to choose the right companion plant. They go well with vegetables such as turnips, Brussels sprouts, turnips and fruit trees as well as cabbages.

Onion (bulbing)
You can plant your onions with different kinds of vegetables. Some good examples here include broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, passion fruits, and cabbages.

Pak Choi
This type of vegetable requires high levels of nitrogen in the soil. Therefore, you should plant it together with plants such as beans and peas. To repel pests, you could also use onions or garlic!

Parsnip
From the scientific name Pastinaca Sativa, it grows correctly with different fruit trees.

Peas and Mange Tout
They grow well with plants such as turnip, cauliflower, garlic, and brassicas. Here, it’s important to remember the role peas plants take in adding Nitrogen into the soil!

Potatoes
These plants are the most common legumes. They help in adding a different taste while making stew. You can also boil and eat them as either mashed potatoes or as a jacket potato. They grow together with beans, corn, passion fruits, and brassicas.

Radish
Growing radishes is easy, and you can use eggplants, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, pole beans and common beans. All these companion plants help in producing high yields and adding great taste to your crop!

Spinach and Swiss Chard
These two plants are a great addition to your garden. They both produce large green leaves which are added into salads and a variety of tasty recipes. You can grow your spinach and Swiss chard together with passion fruits, cauliflower, and brassicas.

Runner Beans
If you are planning to grow some runner beans, then you should consider planting them with plants such as strawberries, radishes, and celery.

Sweet Potatoes
You can plant your sweet potatoes together with beans, corn or even peas.

Turnips
Turnips grow correctly with plants like broccoli and peas.


Fruits

There are also different fruits which grow well once planted together with other crops. You can learn about them by simply looking at the table below:


  Types of Fruits


  Companion Plants

  Apricot

  Chives, garlic, leeks, nasturtium, and daffodils

  Aubergines

  Potatoes and tomatoes

  Blackberries

  Strawberries, pine trees, oak trees, yarrow and dewberries

  Cape Gooseberries

  Yarrow, pine and oak trees

  Cucumber

  Beans and peas

  Figs

  Lemon balm, dandelions, borage, mustards, marigold

  Grapes

  Chives, geraniums, mustards, oregano, peas, clover and blackberries.

  Kiwi Fruit

  Carrots, swiss chard, carrots, spinach

  Melon

  Pigweed, chamomile, summer savoury, sow thistle

  Citrus Fruits

  Yarrow, dill, fennel and lemon balm

  Peach

  Basil, tansy, southernwood

  Peppers and chillis

  Alliums, basil

  Pineapples

  Clover, chives, garlic, southernwood, daffodils

  Raspberries

  Tansy

  Squash

  Corn, beans, okra

  Strawberries

  Bush beans, lettuce, onions, passion fruits and spinach

  Sweetcorn

  Squash, pumpkins, pole beans

  Tomatoes

  Cabbage, broccoli, roses, peppers, asparagus

Exotics

Exotic plants are also good companions. Let us take a look at some of the most beneficial plants in this category.


  Exotic Plants


  Companions

  Coffee plant

  Potatoes, kale, beans

  Ginger

  Spinach, carrots, eggplants, spinach, eggplants

  Grapefruit

  Thyme, yarrow, companion dill, borage, calendula and cosmos

  Lemongrass

  Peppers and tomatoes

  Olives

  Thyme, borage, calendula, wormwood

  Pomegranate

  Basil, thyme, summer savory

  Tea

  Beans, potatoes and peas

  Vanilla

  Banana plants and arrowroots (plants which can provide good shade)

Herbs and Spices

These plants are also good when it comes to companion planting. You can grow them together with different fruits and vegetables.


  Spices and Herbs


  Companion Plants

  Basil

  Tomato, oregano, pepper, petunias, grapes

  Chamomile

  Most herbs, cucumber, onion, cabbage

  Chervil

  Radish, broccoli, lettuce

  Chives

  Roses, apples, carrots and grapes

  Cumin

  Cucumbers, potatoes, cabbages

  Curry leaves

  Tomatoes, onions and garlic

  Comfrey

  Nutrient accumulators or mulch

  Coriander

  Chervil, anise, cabbages and carrots

  Dill

  Coriander, cabbages, carrots and anise

  Lavender

  Lettuce, onions, tomatoes, oregano, sage, rosemary, basil, lemon

  Lemon balm

  Eggplant

  Mint

  Eggplant, lettuce, peas, broccoli

  Mustard

  Carrots, corn, cucumbers

  Mizuna and Mibuna

  Beetroot and beans

  Oregano

  Peppers, pumpkin, grapes

  Parsley

  Apple, asparagus, corn, tomatoes

  Rosemary

  Beans, brassicas, and carrots

  Saffron

  Sea holly, lanceolate leaves and Chinese chives

  Sage

  Rosemary, cabbages, beans

  Sorrel

  Strawberries, cabbage and tomatoes

  Tarragon

  Eggplants and most vegetables

  Thyme

  Cabbage, potato, strawberries and Brussels sprouts

  Yarrow

  Aromatic plants

Flowers

Do you have a flower garden or are you thinking of starting one? If so, with the right companion plants, you can easily make an attractive and healthy garden. Start by checking out this list of good companion crops for your flowers:


  Flowers


  Companion Plants

  Antirrhinum

  Grapes and lettuce

  Azalea

  Kalmia latifolia, pieris japonica

  Borage

  Squash, tomatoes and strawberries

  Calendula

  Mint and sage

  Canna

  Strawberries

  Celosia

  Petunia, ageratum and marigold

  Dahlia

  Agapanthus, alstroemeria, anthemis tinctoria

  Fuchsia

  Torenia and begonias

  Marigolds

  Pepper, gourds, roses, alliums, brassicas, zucchini

  Maurandya

  Lavender, wormwood, sage, thyme

  Menconopsis

  Cimicifuga, variegated Solomon’s seal and under ferns

  Nasturtium

  Beans, brassicas, cucumbers, fruit trees and tomatoes

  Pelargonium

  Marigolds, lavender, geraniums and yarrow

  Sunflower

  Squash and cucumber

  Sweet Peas

  Alyssum. Lobelia, roses, catmint and lavender

  Wallflower

  Garlic, sweet woodruff and garlic

What Should You Not Plant Together?

Here are some of the plants that do not go well with your vegetables, fruits, exotics, herbs and spices:

Vegetables


  Vegetable


  Bad Companion Plants

  Artichoke

  Beans and peas

  Asparagus

  Onion, potatoes and garlic

  Beetroot

  Runner or pole beans

  Broadbeans

  Fennel, soybeans and dry beans

  Brocolli and Calabrese

  Peppers, beans, strawberries

  Brussel Sprouts

  Mustards, nightshades

  Cabbage

  Grapes

  Carrots

  Dill, parsnip and radish

  Cauliflower

  Dill, parsnip and radishes

  Celeriac

  Aster flowers, and corn

  Courgette 

  Corn and aster flowers

  Fennel

  Almost everything

  French beans

  Fennel soybeans

  Garlic

  Cabbages and grapes

  Kale

  Peppers

  Kohlrabi

  Pole beans

  Leeks

  Swiss chard

  Lettuce

  Cabbage, celery, parsley

  Mushrooms

  All plants with small leaves as they do not provide good shade

  Onion

  Peas and lentils

  Pak Choi

  Peas

  Parsnip

  Lettuce, onions, carrots

  Peas and Mange Tout

  Pak Choi, onions, peppers

  Potatoes

  Carrot, cucumber, pumpkin

  Radish

  Grapes

  Runner Beans

  Celery, grapes

  Shallots

  Grapes, celery, peppers

  Spinach and Swiss Chard

  Leeks and strawberries

  Spring Onion

  Lentils and peas

  Sweet potato

  Cabbage, corn, cauliflower

  Turnip

  Hedge mustard and knotweed

Fruits


  Types Of Fruits


  Bad Companion Plants

  Apricot

  Peppers

  Aubergines

  Peppers and tomatoes

  Blackberries

  Tomatoes

  Cape Gooseberries

  Tomatoes

  Cucumber

  Potatoes and aromatic herbs

  Figs  

  Eggplants

  Grapes

  Radishes and potatoes

  Kiwi Fruit

  Eggplants

  Melon

  Peas and beans

  Citrus Fruits

  Maize, cowpea, sorghum and sweet potatoes

  Peach

  Corn, cowpeas, sweet potatoes

  Peppers and chillis

  Apricots, tomatoes, black walnuts

  Pineapples

  Walnut trees and eucalyptus

  Raspberries

  Peas, beans and other nitrogenous plants

  Squash

  Potatoes

  Strawberries

  All members of the cabbage family

  Sweetcorn

  Celery and tomatoes

  Tomatoes

  Peppers and chillis, beets, brassicas, rosemary


Exotics


  Exotic Plants


  Bad Companions

  Coffee plant

  Pumpkins, carrots and cucumbers

  Ginger

  Walnut trees

  Grapefruit

  Cabbages and spinach

  Lemongrass

  Plants which consumer a lot of water such as the eucalyptus

  Olives

  All plants with small leaves as they do not provide a good shade

  Pomegranate

  Eggplants

  Tea

  Walnut trees and other water consuming plants

  Vanilla

  Peas and beans


Herbs and Spices


  Spices and Herbs


  Bad Companion Plants

  Basil

  Thyme, common rue

  Chamomile

  Potatoes and radish

  Chervil

  Radish

  Chives

  Beans and peas

  Cumin

  Peas and beans

  Curry leaves 

  Eggplants

  Comfrey

  Walnut and eucalyptus trees

  Coriander 

  Dill

  Dill

  Cilantro or coriander

  Lavender

  Common rue and thyme

  Lemon balm

  Mustards and mints

  Mint

  Lavender, dill, cilantro

  Mustard

  Lemon balm, cabbages and grapes

  Mizuna and Mibuna

  Thyme and common rue

  Oregano

  Radish, potatoes, common rue, thyme

  Parsley

  Common rue and thyme

  Rosemary

  Peas and beans

  Saffron

  Plants belonging to the allium family

  Sage

  Any member of the allium family

  Sorrel

  Alliums and lettuce

  Tarragon

  Common rue and members of the allium family

  Thyme

  Common rue and allium family crops

  Yarrow

  Allium family plants and common rue


Flowers


  Flowers


  Bad Companion Plants

  Antirrhinum

  Tomato and tobacco

  Azalea

  Eggplants

  Borage

  Tomatoes and cauliflower

  Calendula

  Plants that attract aphids and spider mites

  Canna

  Walnut trees and other trees that consumer a lot of water from the soil

  Celosia

  Plants of the allium family

  Dahlia

  Fava beans and potatoes

  Fuchsia

  Tomatoes and other solanaceae

  Marigolds

  Avoid planting near walnut trees

  Maurandya

  You should also plant near walnut trees

  Meconopsis

  Plants that attract pests such as aphids and caterpillars

  Nasturtium

  Cauliflowers

  Pelargonium

  Walnut trees or plants which consume a lot of water from the soil

  Sunflower

  Pole beans

  Sweet Peas

  Avoid planting them near plants with aphids

  Wallflower

  Avoid insect and pest infested crops


Why Should You Use a Polytunnel?

A polytunnel is similar to a greenhouse, only that it’s much more effective and reliable. Polytunnels come in a variety of amazing covers and designs.

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose this for your planting:

 

Cost-Effective

You only need to spend some few resources to make a good small quality type of greenhouse. You can buy one that is more than four times in size and plant a variety of flowers and vegetables.

Portable

You’ll also find that a polytunnel is not fixed to the ground like a greenhouse. Hence, you can move them from one point to another depending on what suits you best. Interestingly, it’s far much easier to move your polytunnel than to replace soil in a greenhouse!

Free From Soil Diseases

Borrowing from the above point, you can avoid soil diseases which damage your crops by simply shifting your polytunnel. Unlike in a greenhouse, you’ll probably have to cut down your entire crop if you find that it’s been affected by a disease from the soil. Keep in mind that such situations are quite sensitive as compared to those found in a polytunnel.

Summary

Isn’t companion planting exciting? From this article, we can draw some important conclusions. First, planting two ‘friendly’ plants together saves you on farm space as well as additional costs of gardening. For instance, the cost of buying items like fertilizers and tools is greatly reduced. Also, it makes gardening quite easy.

A good example is when you need to water your plants. With companion planting, you can do it all at the same time. Another essential point is that it produces healthier plants when varieties are grown together. Nitrogenous plants like beans planted together with corn ensures that your maize grows to higher heights and is a lot tastier.

Of course, there are those plants that cannot ‘stand’ each other. Planting such crops makes them grow poorly with stunted growth and poor nutrients. Others don’t even get the privilege of enjoying the sun.

All in all, with the growing rise in home gardening technology and new techniques, the polytunnel is arguably one of the perfect places to grow your crops. Here, you can grow two companion plants and harvest them within the shortest time possible. As a garden farmer, you’ll definitely feel proud getting healthy vegetables and fruits at low cost and using just the right resources. We have come a long way from traditional planting methods!

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