Vegetable Garden Companion Plants Guide

Companion Plants can Help You be a Better Gardener

Growing your own vegetables is a wonderful way to save money and may help you eat healthier, by providing a ready supply of vegetables during the growing season. Whether you are an experienced gardener, or just starting out, it can be helpful to learn about companion planting as a natural and eco-friendly way to have a productive and healthy garden.

Basically, companion planting means learning about which plants provide benefits to other plants and planting them together in the garden. Companion plants for a vegetable plant can be other vegetable plants, herbs or even flowers.

Benefits of Companion Planting

When successful, companion planting can:

  • deter harmful insects and other garden pests
  • attract beneficial and predatory insects
  • improve pollination and crop yields
  • improve the flavour of certain vegetables
  • maximize growth of plants by keeping down weeds and providing shade where needed

without the use of harmful chemicals.

Marigolds are an invaluable addition to any vegetable garden.
Marigolds are an invaluable addition to any vegetable garden. | Source

Planting Herbs and Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden

There are many flowers and herbs that are beneficial to vegetable plants. The main benefit of most of these is in their ability to either attract or repel various insects.

Beneficial flowers in a vegetable garden include nasturtiums, marigolds, zinnias, petunias, sweet peas, cosmos, and sunflowers. Of these, nasturtiums and marigolds are my absolute favourite companion plants. They both keep away a large variety of garden pests, and provide a bright colourful addition to the garden. I tend to intersperse several different varieties of marigolds throughout my vegetable garden, and plant the lower growing nasturtiums along the edge of the garden.

Herbs such as chives, basil and dill also provide benefits to the vegetables growing in your garden, and of course are great for cooking.

Flowers and Herbs for the Vegetable Garden

Flower
Plant With
Benefits
Marigolds
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes Strong smell repels garden pests such as Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, slugs, and tomato worm.
Nasturtiums
Broccoli, Cucumber, Cabbage, Potatoes, Radish, Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini Wards off fungal diseases. Attract aphids away from other plants. Also trap other insects such as whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and cabbage worms.
Petunias
Throughout the garden, especially near tomatoes Repel aphids, tomato worms, Mexican bean beetle, asparagus beetle, leafhoppers and other garden pests.
Yarrow
Anywhere in or near vegetable garden Attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps. Repels harmful insects. Fertilizes soil.
Zinnias, Sweet Peas, Cosmos and Larkspur
Anywhere in or near vegetable garden Attract bees to the garden to improve pollination. Also attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps.
Basil
Asparagus, Cucumber, Tomatoes Repels aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, hornworms and other garden pests. Attracts bees to improve pollination. Improves flavour of tomatoes.
Chives
Asparagus, Carrots, Tomatoes Repels aphids. Improves the flavour of carrots and tomatoes. May help to prevent powdery mildew on cucumber plants.
Dill
Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Onions, Attracts beneficial insects such as bees, wasps, and hoverflies. Repels garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, squash and cabbage bugs.
 

Vegetables as Companion Plants

Certain vegetables grow better when planted close to others. They may provide needed shade, improve the soil by adding nutrients, attract beneficial insects, repel harmful garden pests or improve the flavour of the other plant. A good example of this is the Three Sisters Garden,

In a Three Sisters Garden, corn, beans and squash are planted together to maximize the yield on each crop. Each of these plants is beneficial to the other plants in some way. The corn provides support to the bean stalks as they grow. Beans improve the soil by adding nitrogen to it, which benefits both the squash and the corn, which is a particularly heavy feeder. The squash helps keep the weeds down, and benefits from the shade provided by the other two plants.

Watch the video below for more information on companion planting in an organic garden, including an example of a Three Sisters Garden.

Organic Gardening with Companion Plants

Plant Combinations to Avoid

In the same way that certain plants are beneficial to each other when planted together, there are some plant combinations that are best to avoid.

For example, beans are beneficial to many vegetable plants, as they fix nitrogen from the air and enrich the soil. However, they should not be planted with beets as the two will stunt each other’s growth. Also, onion bulbs’ growth is stunted by too much nitrogen in the soil, so beans and onions should not be planted near each other.

The chart below summarizes which vegetables make good companions and which combinations should be avoided.

Vegetable Garden Companion Planting Chart

Vegetable
Good Companions Avoid Planting With
Asparagus
Basil, Chives, Parsley, Tomatoes  
Beans
Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigolds, Parsley, Peas, Rosemary, Sage Chives, Fennel, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Beets
Bush Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Lettuce, Onions Climbing Beans, Tomatoes
Bell Peppers
Basil, Carrots, Marigolds, Onions, Parsley, Tomatoes Dill, Fennel
Broccoli
Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Dill, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Potatoes, Tomatoes Rue, Strawberries
Cabbage
Beans, Beets, Chamomile, Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Lettuce, Marigold, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Rosemary, Sage Garlic, Rue, Strawberries, Tomatoes
Carrots
Beans, Chives, Coriander, Cucumber, Dill, Leeks, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Tomatoes Parsnip
Celery
Bush Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dill, Leeks, Peas, Tomatoes Parsnip, Potatoes
Corn
Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Marjoram, Parsnip, Peas, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rosemary, Squash, Zucchini  
Cucumbers
Basil, Beans, Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Radish Potatoes, Sage
Eggplants
Beans, Marjoram, Potatoes Dill,
Hot Peppers
Basil, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Squash, Tomatoes Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dill
Lettuce
Beans, Beats, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Onions, Parsnip, Peas, Radish Parsley
Onions
Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Lettuce, Leeks, Parsley, Parsnip, Tomatoes Beans, Peas,
Peas
Beans, Cabbages, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Parsnip, Potato, Sage Chives, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Potatoes
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Peas Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Tomatoes
Pumpkin
Corn, Marjoram Potatoes
Spinach
Marjoram, Fruit Trees, Strawberries  
Squash
Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Onions, Nasturiums, Peas, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sunflower Potatoes
Tomatoes
Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Celery, Chives, Dill, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Peppers, Radish, Spinach Beets, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Fennel, Potatoes, Rosemary, Rue
Zucchini
Corn, Marjoram, Nasturtiums  
 

Natural Insect Repellents

Pest / Insect
Natural Repellents to Try
Ants
Garlic, mint, tansy, pennyroyal
Aphids
Basil, chives, garlic, onions, nasturiums, petunias, tomatoes
Cabbage fly
Chamomile, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme
Caterpillars
Garlic, tomatoes
Mice
Mint, wormwood
Mosquitoes
Bee balm, catnip, citronella, lemon balm, marigolds, pennyroyal, tansy, wormwood
Moths
Lavender, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme
Slugs
Dry rosemary, marigold, leaf mulch, wormwood
Spiders
Nasturiums, Onions
Snails
Garlic
Tomato worm
Garlic, marigolds
White fly
Basil, nasturiums
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