An In-Depth Companion Planting Guide

For a healthy, thriving garden, consult this companion planting guide when you're deciding what seeds to put where.


| May/June 1981



Companion Planting SQ

A companion planting guide is almost a necessity for gardeners when there are so many types of fruits and vegetables to choose from.

Photo by Getty Images/valentinrussanov

A companion planting guide such as this one will show you which vegetables and flowers support or inhibit the growth of other plants and/or which pests they deter.

Basil

Plant near: most garden crops
Keep away from: rue
Comments: improves the flavor and growth of garden crops, especially tomatoes and lettuce. Repels mosquitoes.

Beans, Bush

Plant near: beets, cabbage, carrots, catnip, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, marigolds, potatoes, savory, strawberries
Keep away from: fennel, garlic, leeks, onions, shallots
Comments: potatoes and marigolds repel Mexican bean beetles. Catnip repels flea beetles.

Beans, Pole

Plant near: corn, marigolds, potatoes, radishes
Keep away from: beets, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, shallots
Comments: same as for bush beans.

Beets

Plant near: broccoli, brussels sprouts, bush beans, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, onions
Keep away from: charlock, field mustard, pole beans
Comments:

Borage

Plant near:  squash, strawberries, tomatoes
Keep away from:
Comments: repels tomato worms. Improves flavor and growth of companions.

rebecca
10/18/2017 3:48:55 PM

Myth? I doubt it. Plants are chemical production factories and do impact each other. I majored in plant science, and very little is known about plant chemical interactions, but each research paper adds a little bit. I have hardened fifty years, and mix plants all the time, use no pesticides. I did study the plant-soil interface, and quit using fertilizers, they kill soil microbial life. I tuck beans and peas arround everything. Interplant herbs with vegetables. Edge it all with onion, garlic, nasturtium, calendula. I plant nothing in rows. Polyculture is healthier than monoculture. I have lizard housing all around, they keep pests down. I have penstemons to bring in hummingbirds, which eat their weight in insects every day.


rebecca.treeseed
10/18/2017 3:48:53 PM

Plants are miniature chemical warfare organisms. They impact each other in ways we haven't completely studied. If I have a plant reacting poorly, I move it quickly! Saves most of them. I do plant my perennial herbs sprinkled throughout the garden, avoid row planting, and edge with onions, garlic, nasturtium, and calendula. I like a large variety of food, and never have fields of predator inviting monoculture. Pesticides are a byproduct of monoculture.


sandy
9/30/2017 7:47:23 AM

What does tomato late blight look like? My tomatoes are doing great but lots of leaves have spots and even dead looking branches. The tomatoes look fine but a couple of days after picking many get spots mostly on the top around the stem end.


svand93099
9/30/2017 7:47:21 AM

What does tomato late blight look like? My tomatoes are doing great but lots of leaves have spots and even dead looking branches. The tomatoes look fine but a couple of days after picking many get spots mostly on the top around the stem end.


Mary
5/22/2016 7:11:24 PM

Can't wait to put this in action in my city garden!


SvenTheBold
5/2/2016 10:01:42 PM

Here's a really good example of how intercropping marigold with tomatoes can prevent tomato early blight. "We found that intercropping with marigold induced a significant (∗P<0.05) reduction in tomato early blight caused by A. solani, by means of three different mechanisms. One was the allelopathic effect of marigold on A. solani conidia germination, as it was shown in vitro conditions; while pigweed did not have any of this inhibitory effect in conidia germination. The second way was by altering the microclimatic conditions around the canopy, particularly by reducing the number of hours per day with relative humidity ≥92%, thus diminishing conidial development. The third mechanism was to provide a physical barrier against conidia spreading. When intercropped with tomato, pigweed plants worked also as a physical barrier and promoted reductions in the maximum relative humidity surrounding the canopy, but to a lesser extent than marigold." It's true that this is the internet: there's bad information out there. I think the world would be better if everybody was brave enough to read journal abstracts directly.


SvenTheBold
5/2/2016 4:53:09 PM

to normg: Companion planting principles are *absolutely* not a myth.


Sarah
3/7/2016 2:32:06 PM

Have scallions that over took the garden over the winter and know I need to move some strawberry plants that they decided to grow around. I didn't ruin those strawberries already did I?


yaqubronalda
5/13/2015 3:53:33 PM

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CatsMeow
4/7/2015 2:57:18 PM

Hello, I was wondering if I can put my herb garden containers on the edges of my above ground garden and get the same results as planting them in the garden? Thank you.


jesusrox19
3/14/2014 6:13:50 PM

Problem with section on Cabbages and Cauliflower!! Never plant a plant near a plant from the same family. "Doing so weakens you plants and makes them susceptible to invasion by pests and diseases." http://homeguides.sfgate.com/not-plant-near-cucumbers-33318.htm


RisaR
1/2/2014 9:59:30 AM

Last year I planted my pole beans in the same small 4x4 raised bed as my kohlrabi and I got great yields of both. I still have a few freezer bags of green beans left and at one point we were getting buckets of beans from less than 15 plants. So I think the article are good suggestions but there is no real proven science to some of the do not grow nears. I do take some of the suggestions and ideas I find online but I also think that just trial and error in placing different things near each other is the best way to find out what works. Everyone's environment is just a little different so other things can be influencing a plant rather than just what is nearby.


kdw
10/27/2013 6:16:16 PM

There is scientific evidence that nitrogen fixing plants such as legumes can benefit other plants that can not do so through soil interaction, as well as trap cropping for pests. The Three Sisters planting method is merely using a planting that benefits and saves space. Allelopathy is also scientifically proven. So I would not go so far as to say most of it is myth. I happen to be writing a research paper on "companion planting" which is somewhat of an anthropomorphic term. Look up trap cropping, intercropping, allelopathy, polyculture, "plant associations" for ecological readings.


Debi
7/16/2013 11:50:57 AM

You may say myth, but I've had some experiences that were tragic! Don't plant hot peppers (jalapeno, poblano, etc.) near green beans.  One year I had them next to each other and I got about 4 beans off of 15 plants.  I keep them well separated and now I get more beans than I know what to do with.  And, marigolds almost totally killed my oregano...I'd never heard of this one, but I had marigolds lining my garden area and my one thriving oregano almost totally died.  I pulled the marigolds from within 4 feet and it came back...go figure.  I suspect a lot of companion planting may not be as devastating as these, but I would consider it when plotting my garden...it's hard enough keeping an organic garden going without veggie rivalries.


normg
7/15/2013 10:17:39 AM

dafydd9; don't worry about it too much.  Most of the "companion planting" guidelines are steeped in myth and conjecture with very little documented scientific support.  It's fun to plant a variety of plants, and it is interesting to plant marigolds or thyme or whatever with this or that crop.  But whether next to, surrounded by, adjecent, dense, or sparse; any "companion" planting is mosty myth.  What is important is considering crops that are impacted by the same diseases or pests.  For example, both potatoes and tomoatoes are susestiptable to late blight, so they say to keep them apart.  But since late blight can sweep across a whole county in a matter of a few days (or even overnight), I am not sure how much validity there is even to that.  Oh...for the record I have been a serious veggie gardener for about 20 years and I have completed basic horticulture classes.


dafydd9
6/8/2013 1:10:08 AM

when you say, keep away from, how far away are you talking??


dafydd9
6/8/2013 1:10:04 AM

when you say, keep away from, how far away are you talking??






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