The Complete Guide Into the World of Companion Planting

Are you looking for a new method of gardening? If so, then companion planting is one direction that you should look into. As the home gardening sector continues to grow, different green-thumbed individuals are coming up with all kinds of new methods, including this innovative technique. With companion planting, you can plant different kinds of plants and harvest them together, and at the right time.

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

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a bit more than just the 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 together in order to achieve benefits such as higher yields and pest control.
 

However, scientists look at the process with more exacting minds. They have proven that companion gardening embraces various strategies that increase the plant's biodiversity in all agricultural ecosystems – and in what we like to call a simple garden! In layman’s language, it is two plants that help each other to grow.

Companion planting has a long history, but the methods of planting plants for the beneficial interaction are not always well documented in texts. In many situations, they are created from oral tradition, front porch musings and family recommendations. Despite these historical traditions and the science of horticultural farming, we often practice companion planting simply 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 to keep insects away, as well as helping you to maintain healthy soil. Eventually, you’ll note that the food you grow 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 plant them next to spinach and tomatoes for great results.
  • To increase their resistance to diseases, you should plant your horseradish next to your potatoes.
  • Summer cornfields are easily converted into fields of pumpkins in the autumn. In the past, the First Nations people of North America planted pumpkins together with pole and corn beans in a method called the ‘Three Sisters.' The corn offers a sufficient ‘pole’ for the growth of beans, while the beans trap nitrogen in the soil, which is then greatly beneficial for the pumpkins. The pumpkins create a dense ground cover to stop the spread of weeds and to also keep away harmful pests.
  • Pumpkins also function best as a row type of crop when planted together with sunflowers.
  • It’s a good idea 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?

There are many benefits to companion planting. For instance, tomatoes taste better when planted together with basil. Similarly, harvesting them to make a lovely salad is easy, because they are located next to each other.

What are some of the other additional benefits?

It Helps in Pest Control

Companion planting is a traditional art that needs a great deal of planning, but this is worth it, as it will help you have 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 the beans and squash.

Here, the bean seeds feed the corn with nitrogen and provide shade for the roots. The corn, on the other hand, provides them with something easy for climbing. It repel pests and encourages growth!

Companion planting supports plant diversity that is beneficial to the soil, the ecosystem, and the gardener. Plant diversity provides insect diversity and decreases the number of parasites in your garden.

Saves on Space

Today, there are many plants that can be planted together. A good example is tomatoes and carrots. If you have a small garden, planting these two crops is not only an intelligent but also a nutritious gardening method.

If you want to plant potatoes, beans, and corn, 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 plant these three together!

Enhanced Productivity through Companion Planting

Companion planting assists in pollination and the control of pests, and helps you to make the best use of your gardening space. All of these factors eventually go a long way in increasing your crop productivity. Nowadays, most large-scale farms grow plants in a mono-crop type of system. This 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, but you’d have to use a lot of chemicals to control the pests. Let’s use the example of tomatoes. Here, every tomato hornworm in the area will be attracted to your farm. However, if you plant them with lettuce, you’ll experience some exciting findings. The tomato offers the right amount of 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 nature knows best! Companion planting reduces and improves flavours, and allows you to plant more varieties at one time.

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 in their garden that keeps away mosquitoes?

What Should You Plant Together?

Through the centuries, we’ve cultivated our gardens and noticed that certain plants grow well together. Some vegetables, flowers, and herbs are good for the soil, and each other! 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 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 corn, 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 them together with onions, beets, cereals, and potatoes.

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

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

Carrots
Carrots are another beautiful vegetable that is recommended to people suffering from eyesight problems. To get the best out of your carrot plantation, you can grow them 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 an easy plant to grow. It requires rich water-retentive, fertile soils. Grow it together with other herbs such as brassicas, cucumbers and bush beans in order to get high yields.

Celery
We all love to add celery to our foods for its spicy flavour. 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 are 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 that need ample shade, such as summer salads.

Garlic
Do you enjoy cooking with garlic? You should grow it together with lettuce, celery, peas, potatoes, and cucumbers.

Kale
This is one of the most common vegetables, and extremely trendy right now. You can plant it together with other vegetables and fruits such as cabbage, tomatoes, cauliflower, and passion fruit.

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

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

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, these grow well with different fruit

Peas and Mange Tout
They both 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 one of the most common vegetables, famous in stews, and as either mashed potatoes or as a jacket potato. They grow well together with beans, corn, passion fruit, and brassicas.

Radishes
Growing radishes is easy, and ideally planted with eggplants, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, pole beans and common beans. All these companion plants help in producing high yields and adding a great taste to your crop!

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

Runner Beans
If you are planning to grow runner beans, 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 well 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 can also make good companion for other plants. Let’s 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 for companion planting with a variety of 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 yours will be attractive and healthy. 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 with a variety of different covers and designs.

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose a polytunnel for your garden:

Cost-Effective

You need to spend quite a bit of money just to build a small greenhouse. You can buy a polytunnel that is more than four times in size for less money, and use it to 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 it from one point to another, depending on what suits you best. Interestingly, it’s 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 that damage your crops by simply shifting your polytunnel around your garden. In a greenhouse, you’d probably have to cut down your entire crop if you find that a disease from the soil has affected it, but this is not the case with a polytunnel.

Summary

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

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

Of course, there are those plants that cannot ‘stand’ each other. Planting such crops together makes them grow poorly with stunted growth and poor nutrients. Others won’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 best 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 when you start harvesting healthy vegetables and fruits at a low cost, all from using the right resources. We have come a long way from traditional planting methods!

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