Companion Planting is so much fun! What is it you ask? Well, it’s been around for a really long time! The Romans and the Native Americans used this method of gardening with great success! Companion planting is simply planting your herbs and flowers with your vegetables. In the picture above I have multiple flowers that attract pollinators and herbs that I use in my kitchen! Isn’t it beautiful! This year I added cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce and onions! There are multiple benefits that come from this. Because some pesky bugs don’t like certain herbs and veggies we can decrease the amount of bug problems in the garden. The bugs also get a little confused as to where all the cabbage is with all the other plants around it, so we can decrease the loss of plants to pests. We can also attract beneficial insects by planting beautiful flowers with our veggies increasing their yield in production. And finally because we aren’t dealing with pests we don’t have to use so many chemicals therefore keeping our garden organic!
If you’ve decided to give companion planting a try this year there are a few things you may want to think about. First make a plan. Think about what veggies you are going to use. What colors of flowers do you like? When choosing plants think about the height and space that is required for their needs. If planting in a container, use the taller plants in the middle. When planting in medium to large sized beds make sure the tall plants are in the back and the smaller, low growing plants are placed in the front. That way you will be able to see everything you’ve planted and nothing gets covered. Choose flowers that go well together. I really like bright orange or pink and deep purple together. Bright colored flowers will also attract beneficial insects increasing the yield of flower blossoms and veggies. Plant vegetables that like the shade under taller plants like lettuce and spinach. And finally it’s really important to know which herbs, flowers and vegetables make good families and who their friends are. Checkout this beginners list of family and friends below to get started!
The Tomato Family
Vegetables that are included in the tomato family are, Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant. Greens, including Lettuce, Beets, Spinach and Chard also do well with their friends list.
Friends: Basil, Cleome, Cosmos, Parsley, Queen-Anne’s Lace, Asters and onions/garlic (with greens)
The Potato Family
Vegetables that also benefit from the list of friends below besides Potatoes are Beans and Peas.
Friends: Calendula (pot marigold), Cosmos, Basil, Tarragon, Daises, Dill, Rosemary, Sweet Annie
The Cabbage Family
Cabbage family crops include, Broccoli, Kale, kohlrabi, Radishes, Turnips and Cauliflower. Other plants that go well with its friends are Lettuce and Root crops.
Friends: Asters, Calendula, Chamomile, Chrysanthemums, Cosmos, Dill, Marigolds, Zinnias, Parsley, Radishes, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.
The Squash Family
Squash family crops include all Summer and Winter type squashes including Melons and Cucumbers. Vegetables outside of the family that benefit from the same friends are, corn and pole beans.
Friends: Borage, Dill, Nasturtiums, Sunflowers
The Root Family
This family includes Celery and Carrots. Greens and Onions, Leeks, Chives, Garlic also benefit from their friends too.
Friends: Caraway, Chamomile, Cleome, Cosmos, Dill, Fennel, Queen-Anne’s Lace, Poppies, Asters
The Perennial Family
Vegetables included in this family are Asparagus, Horseradish, Strawberries, Rhubarb and Raspberries.
Friends: Borage, Sweet Alyssum, Chives, Swan River Daises (for strawberries), Asters, Bee Balm, Black-Eyed Susan’s, Chamomile, Creeping Thyme, Lovage, Tansy, Yarrow (for horseradish), Cosmos, Dill, Hollyhocks, and Sweet Annie (for asparagus)
Some other plants not listed above that attract beneficial insects include:
Catnip, Anise, Chervil, Curry Plant, Fennel, Lavender, Rue, Spearmint/Peppermint (keep contained), Tansy, Bee Balm, Goldenrod, Pincushion Flowers, Echinacea (Cone Flowers), Rock Cress, Yarrow, Bachlor’s Button, Black-Eyed Susan, Blanket Flower, Coreopsis, Morning Glory, Gazania, Dandelion, Lamb’s Quarters, Wild Mustards.
For more information check out my favorite companion planting book called Great Garden Companions
3 Replies to “Companion Planting: Where to Begin?”
Emily, I think we need to do a class on this subject! This is something I’ve always wanted to do but I just don’t know much about it!
What a great idea! I think I’ll finish getting all my veggies planted this weekend and have something to show. June or July would be a great time to hold a class in my back yard! Thanks for the suggestion!
An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was doing a little research on this.
And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that
I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….
Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time
to discuss this topic here on your blog.