Top Plants for Companion Planting

You can use specific plant combinations to repel pests, control weeds, and boost your garden’s overall health.

| April/May 2018

Companion planting means growing two or more different plants in close proximity for a specific purpose, such as better pest control or higher yields. In the past, many companion planting practices were based on folklore or bad science, but recent research into reducing pesticide use on farms has shed new light on how companion planting works.

Increased diversity is at the heart of companion planting. Incorporating plants that attract beneficial insects, deter pests, or invigorate the soil will turn up the volume on interactions between plants, insects, and the soil food web — and the result is boosted garden resilience. A successful combination often has multiple benefits. For example, when arugula and onions are grown together, the onions repel some flea beetles from the arugula, while the wide leaves of arugula smother weeds and shade the onion roots. A good companion planting scheme often has a ripple effect that will enhance the health of your vegetable garden.

The trick is finding plant combinations that work well, are easy to manage, and accomplish one or more of these goals:

• Reduce pests.

• Deliver better weed control.

• Enrich the soil.

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