Native Americans practiced companion planting early in their history by planting corn with beans. Beans fixed nitrogen into the soil for the heavy-feeding corn, and the cornstalk provided a sort of trellis for the pole beans to climb. They added squash to spread along the ground to prevent weeds. Squash, beans, and corn complete the Three Sisters method of gardening developed by Native Americans. Nobody knows where companion planting originated, but there is evidence of its use as far back as in ancient Rome.
|Herbs - Parsley, Oregano, Basil|
Companion planting as interplanting crops helps to confuse pests by hiding their host plants. Herbs intermingled with vegetables helps to produce odors that may deter some pests and confuse others. Some plants attract beneficial insects that help to control unwanted pests.
Below is a list of vegetables and their companions:
Asparagus - Tomato, parsley, basil
Bean - Potato, carrot, cucumber, cauliflower, cabbage, summer savory, rosemary
Beet - Onion, kohlrabi
Cabbage Family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohrabi) - Potato, celery, dill, chamomile, sage, thyme, mint, pennyroyal, rosemary, lavendar, beets, nasturtium, onion (Thyme deters cabbage worm.)
Carrot - Peas, lettuce, chives, onion, leek, rosemary, sage, tomato, dill (Carrots release a fluid into the soil that is beneficial to peas.)
Celery - Leek, tomato, bush beans, cauliflower, cabbage
Corn - Potato, peas, beans, cucumber, pumpkin, squash
Cucumber - Beans, corn, peas, radish, nasturtium, sunflower
Eggplant - Beans
Leek - Onion, celery, carrot
Onion - Beet, strawberry, tomato, lettuce, bean, summer savory, chamomile
Pea - Squash
Pepper - Carrot, eggplant, onion, tomato
|Peppers with Onions|
Pumpkin - Corn
Radish - Peas, nasturtium, lettuce, cucumbers, chervil
Spinach - Strawberry
Squash - Nasturtium, corn, borage
Strawberry - Bush beans, spinach, borage
Tomato - Chives, onion, parsley, asparagus, marigold, nasturtium, mint, carrot, borage, bee balm, basil
Hyssop inhibits growth in radishes.
Rue and basil do not like each other.
Garlic, onion, and shallot stunt the growth of beans and peas.
Pole beans and beets stunt each other's growth.
Dill retards growth in carrots and tomatoes.
Kohlrabi stunts growth in tomatoes.
Tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same worm.
Tomatoes and potatoes are attacked by the same worm and the same blight.
Do not plant strawberries with cabbage or cauliflower.
Sage can be injurious to cucumber.
Fennel does not grow well with other plants.
I have been companion planting since I began organic vegetable gardening. I do not have any definitive proof that it works, but I usually do not have many insect pests in the garden--not enough to really mention. And everything tastes very good. I would rather plant this way to try to keep my vegetables healthy than not. It seems to make sense that planting one crop together in a bed would attract insect pests more easily than intercropping with other vegetables and herbs. I have not tried it on a large scale, but I have heard of some gardeners who place their vegetables in their flower beds for the exact same purpose--to confuse and deter insect pests.
©Michelle A. Potter