Beneficial companions

Plants thrive by being near each other
By Kris Wetherbee
Beneficial companions

A diversified garden uses a variety of plant odors, colors, and textures as natural pest barrier. Cabbage moths are confused when the scent of broccoli and cabbage are masked by onions and carrots growing next door.

Companion planting is a way to encourage your plants to thrive by strategically placing certain plants near each other.

It benefits your garden in several ways: by attracting beneficial insects and bug-eating birds as well as providing nutrients and protecting against disease. A bonus for you and your family: some companion plants also deter pest insects, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. Garlic can be a good companion plant because it deters a variety of pests, including mosquitoes. Try planting it with beets, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and broccoli. Basil helps neighboring plants such as lettuce, peppers and tomatoes thrive, and also repels mosquitoes.

You can grow companion plants as a border around other plants, mixed within rows or interspersed throughout a bed.

Plant plant with comments
Beans cabbage family, corn, eggplant, lettuce, marigolds, petunias, potatoes deters potato beetles, fixes nitrogen
Calendula cabbage family, corn, lettuce attracts minute pirate bugs and lacewings
Carrots lettuce, marigolds, onions, parsley, tomatoes keep away from dill
Cabbage family aromatic herbs, chamomile, marigolds, onions, nasturtiums, potatoes keep away from strawberries & tomatoes
Catnip eggplant, lettuce, oriental greens, potatoes repels flea beetles; use as a mulch
Cucumbers lettuce, nasturtiums, onions, peas, petunias, radish keep away from sunflowers & potatoes
Geraniums cabbage family, grapes repels cabbage worms, Japanese beetles
Lettuce beans, cabbage family, calendula, carrots onions, peas, pansies, radish compatible with most garden plants
Marigolds all garden plants repels aphids, potato & squash bugs; mass plantings kill nematodes
Nasturtiums all garden plants deters many pests; masks plant odors
Onions most garden plants, except peas & beans deters many pests; masks plant odors
Petunias eggplant, grapes, greens, squash also plant with any vegetable bothered by leaf hoppers
Peas carrots, corn, cucumbers, potatoes fixes nitrogen; keep away from onions
Peppers basil, carrots, onions, parsley keep away from fennel
Radish especially carrots, cucumbers, squash repels cucumber beetles
Squash nasturtiums, onions, petunias, radish keep away from cucumbers & melons
Tomatoes basil, carrots, chamomile, marigolds, keep away from fennel & potatoes

About the Author

Oregon-based writer Kris Wetherbee specializes in the areas of gardening, food and outdoor living.

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