I recently shared the rough garden plan for my 2400 sq ft garden, but although I mentioned companion plants, I didn’t really specify what or where. Today, I’m sharing more details on companion plants you must have in your vegetable garden. A concerted effort to include companion plants (often herbs and flowers) will yield a lot of positive benefits in your garden!
Companion Plants You Must Have in Your Vegetable Garden
Companion plants support growth, attract beneficial insects, deter pests, and can also help keep down the weeds. Pretty much any plant can be used as a companion plant if you know which plant combinations work well and which you should avoid. I use a lot of herbs and flowers as companion plants in my garden, but I also rely on the combination of certain veggies too. If you want to grow an organic garden, understanding how companion plants work might just be the key to your ultimate success!
Herbs as Companion Plants
Herbs make fabulous companion plants. Even if you don’t want to cook with fresh herbs (BUT WHY?!), I highly recommend that you plant them in your garden. Here are some of my favorites.
Basil – repels thrips and tomato hornworm. Enhances the flavor of post garden crops. I’ve always planted it near my tomatoes, but have noticed that it tends to get overshadowed and lost in the tomato growth as the season continues. I will plant basil on the outside of my tomato area, and not in the middle like I did last year. I’ll buy plants for these purposes, though I should start them myself!
Dill – attracts beneficial wasps to help control cabbage moths. Attracts butterflies, praying mantises, and spiders. Plus, I need dill to make my grandma’s famous dill pickles. I’m planting in my cabbage plot, mixed in with the cucumbers, and also mixed in with basil near the tomato area.
Rosemary – repels cabbage moths! I’m also planting rosemary in my cabbage area. I’ll buy rosemary plants as I didn’t start any.
Sage – deters cabbage moths and improves tomato plants. Sage will also go in my cabbage area and outside my tomato plot. I’ll buy sage plants too.
Flowers as Companion Plants
In addition to being beautiful, flowers belong in every garden for their beneficial companion planting properties. These are my favorite flower companion plants and how I plan to use them!
Nasturtium – repel aphids, cabbage moths, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs so plant near cucumbers, cabbages, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Nasturtiums will go along my tomato, cabbage, and cucumber plots and I plant them from seed directly in the garden.
Marigolds – deter bean beetles, aphids, potato bugs, squash bugs, nematodes, and maggots. They also enhance almost every crop you will grow in your garden! I plant a lot of marigolds, but this year I will concentrate them around my potatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini crops. I started my own marigolds from seed this year, but so far I only have one growing so I may have to buy a flat.
Zinnias – deter cucumber beetle and tomato hornworm and they attract predatory wasps, hummingbirds, and butterflies. I have always had zinnias in my garden as I think they are so beautiful and easy to grow. I will have zinnias in my cucumber area this year too, I haven’t had them there before.
Sunflowers – work well planted with corn to keep down the bugs. Also help shade cucumbers and provide a natural trellis for them to climb as well. Sunflowers planted along the south side of a potato patch can provide the potatoes with filtered shade and help keep the soil cool and moist, but I’ve also read that sunflowers should be kept away from potatoes, so I’m not honestly sure what the right strategy is there. In years past, I have moved sunflowers away from my potato patch. Maybe this year I will grow them on the south side and see what happens. I will for sure plant sunflowers in my cucumber area and see what happens.
Vegetables as Companion Plants
Certainly herbs and flowers work well as companion plants, but it’s also helpful to consider the companion plant properties vegetables can lend to each other as well. Here are my favorite ideas for using veggies as companion plants.
Radish – deter cucumber beetle. Radish was the first concerted effort I made with companion planting in my garden. After losing my cucumbers to cucumber beetles three years in a row, I read that radishes planted with cucumbers could be helpful. I’ve planted radish with my cucumbers the last two years now and haven’t lost another crop. I plant the radishes directly from seed and let them go to seed. As a result, I get a ton of volunteer radishes in my garden each year.
Arugula – planted in between onion sets can help keep down the weeds. I’m definitely trying this! I hate weeding my onions.
If you’re like to see the benefit of even more companion plant combinations, head over to Mother Earth News’ In-Depth Companion Planting Guide. It’s one of my most useful garden tools – I love it!
Tuesdays in the Garden
All right – it’s time for Tuesdays in the Garden! Are you ready to see what my gardening friends are up to? I’m excited to check out all of these amazing posts. I hope you will pop over too!
Simple & Easy Gardening Tips From Jami at An Oregon Cottage
Top 5 Gardening Tools from Shelly at Frugal Family Home
Transitioning the Garden from Winter to Spring from Angie at The Freckled Rose
Best Gardening Apps from Pam at House of Hawthornes
Build a Good Garden Soil Foundation by Diane at Homemade Food Junkie
Do you have a favorite companion planting combination you’d like to share?! Please leave a comment or a link to a post in the comments!