Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

Categories|Kitchen Garden, Seeds

As you plan this year’s garden, consider using companion planting. By selecting plants that will repel certain pests or improve the soil around other crops, you can boost your yield.

In general, plants with strong odors, like garlic and chives, will repel aphids and beetles, while savory, thyme, and chamomile all attract beneficial insects. Take a look at these suggested companions!

Possible Companions for Common Garden Crops

Beans (pole): Plant pole beans with corn, potatoes, and radishes. But avoid planting with onions, shallots, leeks, and garlic.

Beans (bush): Interplant these nitrogen-fixers with rows of strawberries, with beets, or with cucumbers. Avoid members of the onion family.

Beets: Try intercropping beets with lettuce, kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, chard, or cauliflower. Beets don’t like pole beans or mustard.

Broccoli and Brussels sprouts: Plant with aromatic herbs like dill, camomile, sage, thyme, or rosemary; or try them with onions. Avoid planting with strawberries, tomatoes, or pole beans.

Cabbage and Cauliflower: Like other members of this family, these two like smelly herbs. You can also group them with broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or try chard or tomatoes. Avoid planting near strawberries or tomatoes.

Carrots: We like to interplant fast-growing radish with slow-germinating carrots. Other good companions include onions and leeks, which repel carrot flies, and lettuce, peas, and many herbs.

Corn: Plant your corn with squash and pole beans to recreate the Three Sisters (timing is important here!) or plant with potatoes or cucumbers. Avoid planting corn and tomatoes together.

Cucumbers: Cucumbers are good companions to corn, beans, peas, and radishes. Plant them away from potatoes.

Lettuce: Lettuce is a good companion to radishes, beets, carrots, parsnips, and strawberries. Lettuce does better when planted away from the cabbage family.

Peas: These nitrogen-fixers do well with beans, corn, potatoes, radishes, and carrots. Keep them away from the strong-smelling onion family.

Peppers: Peppers can share space with their relatives, tomatoes and eggplant, as well as basil, onions, and carrot.

Radishes: We plant radishes together with carrots; they also do well with lettuce (which is supposed to make radish tender) and cucumbers (radish should help deter cucumber beetles).

Swiss Chard: Try your Swiss chard with bush beans, kohlrabi, or onions. They don’t seem to like pole beans.

Tomatoes: We plant tomatoes and basil together; they like the same conditions and are used together in cooking. (Plant basil after tomatoes and keep it cut back to ensure these two are ready for harvest together.) Tomatoes also play well with chives, onions, and carrots. Keep tomatoes away from vegetables in the cabbage family and from potatoes.