Companion planting is not a new organic gardening concept, it’s a tried and true gardening method that has been used from the beginning. Companion planting is simply planting two or more plants near each other for mutual benefit. We see this growing concept in nature, like shade-loving ferns and dogwood trees growing under tall maple trees. As they say, birds of a feather flock together, and as gardeners, we should try to reproduce this concept in our gardens, with our plants.
Organic gardeners can harness the power of companion planting in their gardens to promote healthier plants, larger and tastier harvests and organic pest control (by discouraging pests from breeding and hanging out on neighboring plants that they dislike in common). After all, two or more plants together are better than one, right?
Use these guidelines when planting crops to get the most from your vegetables and flowers.
Tomatoes are a favorite vegetable to grow in the garden, the ripening tomatoes are also a favorite food for pests too. Plant dill and basil near tomato plants to keep horn worms from devouring the plants. Tuck in an oregano plant to enhance the tomato flavor.
Rose bushes have several enemies, including aphids and black spot. Plant onions and garlics near rose bushes to help keep roses growing strong and pest-free. A few nasturtiums grown at the base of rose bushes will also keep aphids from devouring tender new bush growth.
Several garden plants prefer to be shaded in the hot afternoon, and tall growing plants can provide the shade. Plant squash and leafy greens, like Swiss chard, kale and spinach, on the east side of corn, beans and tomatoes. The taller growing plants will provide afternoon shade to the shorter growing plants.
Nasturtium is a hardworking colorful flower that is edible. Nasturtium help rid soil of nematodes, add nitrogen to the soil, plus attract aphids so the sap-sucking pests will feast on them instead of vegetable plants. Hence, grow nasturtiums as companions for your vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
If you could only plant one companion plant in your organic garden, let it be the marigold. Marigolds are hardworking and pretty to look at. Marigolds repel beetles, nematodes, several stinging insects, cats, dogs and deer. Plant dwarf marigolds all around the perimeter of the garden for best results. Marigold goes well with tomatoes, corn, most beans, and potatoes.
Beans and Corn
Beans that create vines need support to keep the vines off the ground. Corn stalks can provide the upright support system and a little shade to enable beans to grow their best.
Certain bugs are desirable in the organic garden because they eat harmful pests. Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis are two bugs that benefit a garden and act as organic pest control. Attract these two beneficial bugs by planting carrots, parsnip, parsley and dill in your garden. These vegetables attract little bus to breed on/around them, which in turn, provide a food source for ladybugs and mantis’s.
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