Companion planting is planting vegetable, herb, and flower plants near each other to benefit one or more of the plants. Some plants benefit each other by attracting beneficial insects, keeping away unwanted bugs. Others aid in pollination. Some plants have working relationships with each other and others have antagonistic (hostile) relationships.
The other day at a show we were selling at, a lady came up to me and asked me what companion gardening is. I began to explain the concept of some plants getting along well together and benefiting each others growth and that other plants are hostile toward each other. She stopped me in mid-sentence and told me that was not true and that I did not know what companion gardening is. She then walked off. Had she stayed long enough, my response might have been:
"Okay, Ma'am, go ahead and plant fennel next to your tomatoes and cucumbers. Position your beans in between your chives and onions. Plant broccoli between your squash and your strawberries and see what happens. Your garden will be one big FAIL!"
This type of gardening is not an exact science, because soil, climate, watering, and other factors of the environment play a part. The idea is to get the best garden you can grow so you will need to plan it ahead of time from experience and experimentation.
Thousands of years ago, Native Americans planted crops this way and people in England and Asia have been planting their gardens for hundreds of years using this type of gardening.
Our Other Companion Planting Pages
Planting certain types of flowers and/or herbs with vegetables will keep certain bugs off of them.
The smell of the foliage of marigolds is claimed to deter aphids from feeding on neighboring crops. Marigolds with simple flowers also attract nectar-feeding adult hover-flies, the larvae of which are predators of aphids.
Basil improves pollination to tomatoes by attracting bees. It also repels horn-worms, aphids, spider mites, white-flies, and mosquitoes.
Parsley is good to have because it brings hover-flies which eat the pests that like to eat tomato plants. Parsley, however, does not do well in heat.
Mint varieties keep away ants, mice, cabbage moths, aphids, and flea beetles. However, if you allow it, mint will take over and eventually destroy everything that is in the same garden bed. It is difficult to control.
Dill seedlings prevent hornworms from getting on your tomato plants. Mature dill plants will stunt the growth of your tomato plants.
There are many natural ways to increase crop production, yields and fight disease and insects.
It would be well worth your time to study the charts and our pages. Companion growing really does take the guess work out of gardening.
We have a page on planting that Native Americans taught us back before the United States was a nation, the Three Sisters Garden. The Three Sisters method uses bean plants, pumpkins or squash, and corn plants. This is still used today in gardening.
More On Companion Planting
This portion of the page will give you more ideas for what plants to place near each other in your backyard garden. There is also information on what not to place near each other, such as not planting beans and peas near onions or garlic. Onions and garlic stunt the growth of bean and pea plants. Keep them far apart.
Beans will not grow well if they are near sunflowers. Keep the sunflowers on one side of the yard and grow your green beans in a completely separate garden bed.
Cabbage and cauliflower hate each other and both will not grow well when next to each other.
Most new gardeners think of tomatoes when they make a list of things they want in their garden and rightly so. When you plant tomatoes, put some herbs in between the tomato plants, namely some varieties of dill and basil. We sell several varieties of each.
New dill seedlings actually enhance the well-being of tomato plants and help them grow. As mentioned above, they also prevent hornworms from getting on and destroying your tomato plants. However, mature dill plants stunt the growth of tomato plants so be sure to plant your dill seeds or seedlings by your tomato seedlings but do not put tomato plants by mature dill plants.
I think you get the idea. Study the charts and the information we provide for you and you will get better results in your garden.