Gardening Tips Pt III: Companion Planting

Have you ever noticed that everything in this life comes in or is made better by pairs? Coffee needs cream. Dark needs light. Mr. Rabbit needs Mrs. Rabbit. The one can’t do without the other. The principle is no different when it comes to gardening.

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There are certain plants that compliment our vegetables and other plants that are their worst enemies. By learning which plants benefit our gardens, you can reduce the threat of pests as well as help your veggies thrive. Isn’t that what we strive for as gardeners? Take a look at these 10 companion plants that aid our basic vegetables as well as bring beauty to our gardens.

1. Tomatoes and Basil

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You could say that basil and tomatoes are BFFs. By planting the herb near your tomato plants, it will improve your veggie’s flavor and keep flies and mosquitoes away. Marigolds are also a good companion for tomatoes. However, you want to keep those red veggies away from corn and potato plants since some of the same pests of these veggies also love our tomatoes.

2. Onions and Chamomile

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Does chamomile surprise you as a companion plant? It surprised me. But it turns out that planting some by your onions will help improve their growth and flavor. Plus you’ll have chamomile to dry and make into chamomile tea. Don’t plant your onions near your beans though as they will stunt the beans’ growth. You’re welcome.

3. Broccoli and Dill

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Some people love dill and some people dislike the strong flavor. Whatever camp you fall into, the strong scent of the herb will keep unwanted pests away from your precious broccoli when you plant it nearby. To keep your broccoli’s full flavor, be sure to plant it away from your tomatoes, peppers or any other plant that heavily takes nutrients out of the soil. Broccoli doesn’t respond well to competition.

4. Squash and Borage

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You’re probably thinking “What on earth is borage?” Borage is an herb that produces a pretty purple flower. When it’s planted by squash (and almost any other veggie), it improves it’s growth and flavor. Remember that some plants are not beneficial as companions? Well with squash you get lucky. It has no enemies. Yay!

5. Cucumbers and Oregano

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Oregano is another strongly scented herb that is delicious fresh or dried. It’s bonus? Oregano is in general a natural pest deterrent. Yes, that strong smell is a great gift for your garden, your cucumbers, and eventually you when you have a great cucumber harvest! While this may make you think that any strong smelling herb will work in your garden, sage is a no-no for cucumbers. Just remember, oregano, yes… sage, no.

6. Sweetcorn and Marigolds

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Aren’t marigolds just gorgeous anywhere? Turns out that they are an awesome plant for your garden! They’ll keep those pesky Japanese beetles away from your sweetcorn as well as keeping lots of other pests away from other vegetables nearby. Plus they bring a bit of color and pizzazz to your garden. So pretty much you can line your raised beds with it and it’s a win win for everyone. If you remember from above, keep your corn plants away from your tomatoes or you could have a worm frenzy on your hands.

7. Carrots and Chives

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If you planted onions in your garden, you probably don’t see the need for chives as well. However, planting chives near your carrots is super great for their growth and flavor later. Don’t believe me? Plant some carrots with chives and some without and then see which are better when you harvest. Another carrot growing tip: do not plant dill near your carrots as it will stunt their growth. We want good homegrown carrots, not tiny baby ones.

8. Lettuce and Garlic

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Garlic is a great addition to any garden since you can add it to almost any recipe. But you’ll love it even more when you hear that it deters aphids from your lettuce leaves. Lettuce is another great vegetable that isn’t known to have any enemies besides rabbits. So feel free to plant it wherever suits your garden and reap the benefits as long as garlic is nearby.

9. Radishes and Nasturtium

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Nasturtium, another plant I had never heard of. Turns out they are a delicate vine-y flower that can be eaten in your salad. They help to deter many common garden pests and they’re great for your radishes growth and flavor as well as aiding lots of other garden veggies. More flowers in the garden? Yes please. As for another note on radishes, they don’t like hyssop so you can forget about putting that in your garden.

10. Beans and Summer Savory

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It’s just awesome when you find out that so many herbs help your vegetable garden grow. It definitely provides an excuse to plant more of them! Summer savory not only keeps the beetles away but your beans will flourish and taste delicious under it’s watchful leaves. Also, since summer savory is a great herb to add to any bean dish, they make the perfect garden pair. Keep those beans away from your garlic and onions though or you may end up with no beans at all.