Grower's Guide: Companion planting

Image from Small Farm Permaculture and Sustainable Living
Mapping out your garden will remind you where things were in seasons past so you can properly rotate your crops; give you a handy guide for where things are now; and help you in planning your garden for the future.

But there's another reason to sit down and brainstorm where plants should go, and that's a little process called "companion planting".

For those of you, like us, unwilling to utilize harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides, companion planting is a great, organic way to promote healthy growth and ward off disease. This method encourages the planting of certain plants together because of their complementary properties (repelling certain bugs or illness; or absorbing different nutrients from the ground so there's a healthy balance); and discourages putting other plants in the same space.

For example, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower should be surrounded by tansy and thyme to ward off cabbage worms; while nasturtiums will repel beetles and aphids. Conversely, aster flowers can transmit disease to celery so they need to be kept away from each other. Here are a couple companion planting map examples:
Companion planting map found online

Below is  a chart to help get you started with companion planting.

COMMON NAME COMPANIONS ANTAGONISTS
Alliums Fruit trees, Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc), Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, etc) Carrots Beans, Peas, Parsley
Asparagus Tomatoes, Parsley, Basil Onion, Garlic, Potatoes
Beans Potatoes, Carrots, Cucumbers, Radishes, Rosemary, Peas, Corn, Cucumbers, Brassicas, Summer Savory, most other vegetables and herbs Tomatoes, chili peppers, sunflowers, alliums (onions, garlic, etc), kales (cabbage, broccoli, etc) Gladiola
Pole Beans Corn (see Three Sisters, Summer Savory, Sunflowers Onions, Beets, Kohlrabi, Cabbage
Bush Beans Potatoes, Cucumbers, Corn,Strawberries, Celery, Summer Savory Onions
Beets Lettuce, Onions, Brassicas, Kohlrabi Pole beans
Brassicas (Cabbage, Cauliflower,Kale, Kohlrabi, Broccoli) Aromatic Herbs, Potatoes, Celery, Chamomile, Dill Peppermint, Sage, Rosemary, Beets, Onions, Spinach Pole beans, strawberries, tomatoes
Carrots Chives, Rosemary, Sage, Radishes, Lettuce, Peas, Onions, Leeks, Tomatoes Dill
Celery Leeks, Tomatoes, Bush Beans, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Cosmos, Daisies, Snapdragons corn, Aster flowers, these can transmit the aster yellows disease
Chives Carrots, tomatoes Peas, beans
Corn Sunflowers, Pumpkins, Beans, Potatoes, Peas, Cucumbers, Pumpkin, Squash Tomatoes, Celery
Cucumber Beans, Carrots, Beets, Onions, Radishes, Corn, Peas, Lettuce, Dill, Sunflowers, Nasturniums, Marigolds Potatoes, aromatic herbs
Dill Cabbage, Onions, Cucumbers Tomato
Eggplant Beans, Peppers, Potatoes  
Leek Onions, celery, carrots Legumes (beans, peas, etc)
Lettuce Carrots with radishes, Strawberries, Cucumbers, Onions  
Marigold Plant throughout the garden  
Oregano Good to all Vegetables  
Onion (and garlic) Beets, Strawberries, Tomatoes,Lettuce, Summer Savory, Chamomile, Leeks, Parsley Peas, Beans, Parsley
Parsley Tomatoes, Asparagus  
Peas Carrots, Turnips, Radishes, Cucumbers, Corn, Beans, Lettuce, most vegetables and herbs Onions, Garlic, Chives, Gladiola, Potatoes
Roses Garlic  
Potato Beans, Corn, Cabbage, Horseradish,Marigold, Eggplant (as a lure for the Colorado potato beetle) Pumpkin Squash, Cucumber, Sunflowers, Tomatoes, Raspberry
Pumpkin Corn, Beans Potato
Radish Peas, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Cucumber  
Sage Broccoli, Cauliflower, Rosemary, Cabbage, Carrots Kohlrabi, Corn, Potatoes, Fennel, Cabbage
Soybeans Grows/helps with everything  
Spinach Strawberries  
Squash Nasturtiums, Corn Potatoes
Strawberries BUSH Bean, Spinach, Borage, Lettuce (as a border), Onions Cabbage
Sunflower Cucumbers Potato
Tomatoes Basil, Chives, Onions, Parsley, Asparagus,Marigold, Nasturtiums, Carrots Black Walnut, Kohlrabi, Corn, Potatoes, Fennel, Brassicas
Turnip Peas  
(Source: GardenSimply.com)


Please contact us at info@betterfarm.org with any questions, ideas, or stories about your experiences with this planting method.
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.