Companion Plants for Your Garden

Most people have heard of the Three Sisters garden—corn, beans, and squash. Well, believe it or not, it makes sense. The corn gives the beans something to climb. The beans affix nitrogen to the soil (and corn loves nitrogen), and the squash suppresses weeds by acting as a mulch. This is companion planting at its best.

Other Plants That Do Well Together

While some plants should not be planted near each other (I mentioned some of those last week), there are other plants that do well together. Some strongly scented plants can confuse insects—if they’re trying to smell tomatoes and all they can smell is basil, that might help keep insects away. Other plants might attract insects to dine on them, so they leave your veggies alone. And other plants might attract bees and butterflies to pollinate your garden. Still, different plants, like squash or cukes, can help to keep weeds down when planted near tall, thin plants, like corn.

To refer to a list of plants NOT suitable to plant near each other, visit last week’s blog, Plants That Don’t Play Well Together.

A Few Good Companion Plants

Some suggestions for good companion plants are:

  • Tomatoes and Basil: The strong scent of basil may help repel some insects, including tomato hornworms. If you let it bloom, it can help attract pollinators. This is especially helpful since tomatoes are self-pollinating, but they do have trouble self-pollinating when it’s over 90 degrees.
  • Garlic: Garlic can help repel aphids and even Japanese Beetles. Just don’t plant it near legumes such as beans and peas.
  • Radishes and Cucurbits (squash, cukes): Radishes help repel cucumber beetles and bugs.
  • Rosemary and Carrots: Rosemary helps to repel Carrot Rust Fly.
  • Marigolds and Tomatoes: Marigolds help eliminate root nematodes, which like to eat tomatoes.
  • Marigolds and almost anything else: Marigolds attract ladybugs and Hover Flies. Ladybugs and Hover Flies are predators and feast on the aphids on your other plants.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums can help to repel squash bugs. They also attract pollinators to your garden.

Only a Partial List

This is only a partial list of suitable plants for each other; there are more. After all, we all need friends…

To read more posts from Bonnie, visit our blog

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