If you are planning to create a vegetable garden, you are probably also thinking about which vegetables and herbs to grow. In this phase it’s essential to take into consideration the associations to obtain a result in balance and harmony, here comes companion plants!
WHAT ARE COMPANION PLANTS?
Companion plants refer to plants that grow particularly well when planted side to side. This mutually beneficial association consists in growing different species at the same time in the same soil. This ancient technique is a simple imitation of nature where all the various spontaneous plant species help each other to maintain a healthy environment.
Obviously, the discourse of associations is also valid in reverse; in fact, the combination is not recommended when the plants subtract useful substances from each other or release unwelcome essences to each other.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO APPLY ASSOCIATIONS IN YOUR GARDEN?
Over time, with practical experience, it has been shown that placing some plants close together brings great benefits.
The associations in our vegetable garden or garden allow us to make the most of the characteristics of each plant, obtaining a better result in terms of quality and quantity. With this simple technique we grow more healthy plants protecting them also from parasites. In fact some plant work as repellent for certain parasite rather then attract them from the nearby ones. Knowing this we can manage to protect certain more delicate plants, and have a more self sustainable environment that requires less attention and work from our end.
Thanks to the right associations, plants help each other by exchanging nutrients. In addition, soil fertility increases and a balance of sun and shade is also created by coupling tall trees with those more sensitive to the sun.
SOME OF THE MOST COMMON COMPANION PLANTS:
There are many associations between vegetables, flowers, aromatic and essential plants. Here I would like to list some of these that I have personally tried in my garden and from which I have obtained the greatest benefits.
- Yarrow: helps to increase the aromatic qualities of all herbs.
- Garlic: goes well with beets, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, courgettes. Additionally, garlic and roses have mutually beneficial effects.
- Beetroot: They grow well next to onions, garlic, lettuce, cabbage, radishes, turnips.
- Basil: does well growing close to fennel, salad, tomatoes as it repels flies and mosquitoes.
- Borage: Strawberries and borage are beneficial for each other.
- Chamomile: are companion plant with onions.
- Carrot: has beneficial effects on the growth of peas. Additionally, carrots grow well with chives, lettuce, red radishes, leeks, tomatoes, sage, and rosemary.
- Cabbage: one of the insects that most infest cabbages is the cabbage butterfly which can be kept away by growing nearby tomatoes, celery or aromatic plants such as sage, rosemary, thyme, mint. In addition, cabbage grows well next to beets, strawberries, lettuce, peas, spinach.
- Chervil: Chervil and radishes are companion plants, mutually beneficial. Radishes that grow next to chervil tend to have spicier taste.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers appreciate the shade brought by the corn. They also get along well with beans, sunflowers, cabbage.
- Onion: Onions grow well with beets, strawberries, tomatoes, chamomile and savory. Alternating rows of onions with rows of carrots helps repel both the onion fly and the carrot fly.
- Beans: Beans pair well with potatoes, celery, cabbage, cucumbers, and carrots.
- Green beans: Green beans and strawberries get along very well.
- Strawberries: Strawberries grow well next to beans, lettuce, spinach, and borage.
- Lettuce: Lettuce combines well with strawberries, carrots, radishes, onions and beets.
- Lavender: With its strong scent it repels aphids and ants.
- Eggplant: Green beans are also companion plant mutually beneficial.
- Lemon balm: Lemon balm grows well along with tomatoes.
- Mint: Is an excellent neighbor for cabbages as it drives away the cabbage butterfly.
- Nasturtium: It’s okay to plant nasturtium near broccoli because it protects them from aphids. Nasturtium is also beneficial when placed next to pumpkins and radishes.
- Potatoes: They grow well next to eggplant, beans, and calendula.
- Peas: Peas love carrots, radishes, corn, cucumbers, beans, and turnips.
- Tomatoes: It’s good to grow tomatoes in the proximity of asparagus, parsley, basil, carrots and cabbage.
- Leeks: They grow well with celery and carrots.
- Parsley: It is beneficial to grow next to roses and tomatoes.
- Radishes: Get along well with peas, nasturtium, lettuce, chervil, beans, cucumbers.
- Roses: They seems to enjoy the presence of garlic, onions, parsley nearby.
- Rosemary: Particularly beneficial for cabbages and carrots because it keeps the cabbage butterfly away.
- Sage: The strong smell of sage keeps snails, caterpillars and aphids away.
- Celery: grows well next to leeks, tomatoes, kidney beans.
- Thyme: Like other herbs, it keeps the cabbage butterfly away.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin and corn are good friends.
- Zucchini: They are ideally planted close to onions
Let’s make the most of the characteristics of each plants we wish to grow, placing them near by their companion plants, for a more balanced and harmonious garden!