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Companion Planting

Explanation of how companion planting works

 

Jump to:-  What is Companion Planting?  |  How does Companion Planting Work?
Incompatible Planting  |  Companion Planting Chart

Companion PlantingIf you want to grow your own vegetables as organically as possible, then the use of pesticides or insecticides, or rather not using them, will probably be one of your main concerns, especially as these chemicals are often indiscriminate and also kill beneficial insects. Companion planting is nature’s way of fighting the pest problem most of us will face when growing our own crops. 

This article explains the principles of companion planting and also includes a table of plants which have been found to aid various crops in one way or another. Although the individual growing pages list the main suitable companion plants, you may well find more plants in the table below which may also be beneficial.

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the planting of different plants together so that one plant can help the growth or performance of another plant.  Much like in the countryside, where you will often find dock leaves naturally growing near stinging nettles. The chemicals in the leaves of docks are an antidote for the sting of the nettles. So it is with many other plants.

How does Companion Planting work?

The benefits of companion planting are usually achieved by one or more of three means:-  

1. Camouflage - Using plants with strong scents or other naturally occurring chemicals, which protect themselves and therefore other nearby crops from pests. An example of this would be in the case of carrots and the carrot root fly which is attracted to the smell of carrots, particularly when the leaves may be bruised during the tinning process.   The planting of onions, which have a pungent smell, close to carrots will mask the carrot smell so the carrot root fly will be less likely to be attracted.  

 

 

2. “Honey-Pots” - Using plants which will attract pests away from the crop you wish to protect. An example of this would be to plant  marigolds near to any crops which are prone to black fly attack or slug attack as both of these pests prefer the “taste” of marigolds and so would be more likely to gravitate to the marigolds and not your crops. In many cases, honey-pot plants do such a good job, that they are sacrificed in the process.  

3. Recruiting Allies -  Using plants which will attract friendly allies such as hover flies and ladybirds, whose larvae love to eat aphids. Many flowering plants will fall under this category and some, such as the above mentioned Marigold, will help fight pest attack on more than one front.

Bad Companions

It should be noted that just as there are good companion plants, there are also bad ones as some plants can hamper the growth of others either by competing for nutrients or by exuding incompatible scents or chemicals. For this reason, we’ve also listed “incompatible plants” in the table below.

Companion Planting Chart

CROP

GOOD COMPANION PLANTS

INCOMPATIBLE PLANTS

Asparagus

Tomato, Parsley, Basil

 

Aubergine (Eggplant)

Broad Beans, Marigold

 

Beans, Broad

Potato, Cucumber, Sweetcorn, Strawberry, Celery

Beans, Runner

Sweetcorn, Summer Savory, Radish

Beets, Kohlrabi,  Tomatoes, chilli peppers,  alliums (onions, garlic, etc)Sunflower,

Brassicas - Green e.g. Brussels Sprouts, Kale Cabbage, Broccoli.

Celery, Beetroot, Onion Family, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard, Rosemary, Nasturtium, Geraniums

Dill, Strawberries, Runner Beans, Tomato, peppers

Carrots

Pea, Lettuce, Rosemary, Onion Family, Sage, Tomato

 

Cauliflower Celery, Beetroot, Onion Family, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard, Rosemary, Nasturtium, Geraniums Dill, Strawberries, Runner Beans, Tomato, peppers

Celery

Onion & green Brassica Families, Tomato, Broad Beans, Nasturtium

Dill

Courgettes, Marrows & Cucumber

Beans, Sweetcorn, Pea, Sunflowers, Radish, marigold, nasturtium

Potato, Aromatic Herbs

Lettuce

Carrot, Radish, Strawberry, Cucumber

 

Sweetcorn (Maize)

Potato, Broad Beans, Pea, Pumpkin, Cucumber, Squash

Tomato

Melon

Sweetcorn, Nasturtium, Radish,

 

Onion Family

Beetroot, Carrot, Lettuce, Brassicas (Green)

Beans, Peas

Parsley

Tomato, Asparagus

 

Peas

Carrots, Radish, Turnip, Cucumber, Sweetcorn, Beans

Onion Family, Gladiolus, Potato

Peppers Tomatoes, Geraniums Beans, leafy brassicas such as kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage

Potato

Beans, Sweetcorn, Brassicas(green), Marigolds, Horseradish

Pumpkin, Squash, Tomato, Cucumber, Sunflower

Pumpkins

Sweetcorn, Marigold, Nasturtium

Potato

Radish

Pea, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Cucumber

Hyssop

Spinach

Strawberry, Cauliflower, Celery

 

Squash

Nasturtium, Sweetcorn, Marigold

Potato

Strawberry

Broad Beans, Lettuce, Onion, Spinach

Cabbage

Swede (Rutabaga)

Pea

Potato

Sweetcorn Sunflowers, beans, peas, courgettes,  squash, cucumbers, melons,  morning glory,  potato Tomato, Celery

Tomato

Basil, Onion Family, Nasturtium, Marigold, Asparagus, Carrot, Parsley, Cucumber, Mint

Potato, Fennel, Cabbage Family

Turnip

Pea

Potato

 

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