Gardening can be a lot of work but it’s also good exercise. Make the plants do some of the work for you with companion planting. If you have a green thumb, turn to the web for some quick gardening education and advice. Take a break from searching for celebrity gossip, political news or vape sites like smokingthings and learn what vegetables and flowers are friends and which ones aren’t.
Planting dill and basil around tomatoes will chase away tomato hornworms. Planting sage around brassicas like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower will deter cabbage worms. Nematodes hate marigolds so scattering them throughout the garden is a good idea. Aphids love nasturtiums and will leave other plants alone if they have some of the lovely orange and yellow flowers to snack on. Dill and parsley attract beneficial insects like praying mantises and ladybugs that feast on other insects. Onions repel carrot flies.
Shade and Support
Some plant companions hold each other up, literally. The traditional Native American grouping of corn, beans and squash, known as the Three Sisters, is a common companion planting. The corn supports the beans as they grow and the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which feeds the corn. The corn and beans protect and shade the squash until the vines are big enough to bear fruit. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach grow well in the shade of tall plants like corn or trellised peas, beans or cucumbers.
Some plants don’t get along well. Beans and peas do not grow well around alliums like garlic and onions. Potatoes and beans do not get along with sunflowers and even though cabbage and cauliflower are both members of the brassica family, they do not grow well in the same area. Strawberries do not like Brussels sprouts–they have a lot of company in that regard.
Some plants get along well with everything and help to strengthen the plants around them. Oregano and marjoram can be planted throughout the garden to chase pests and strengthen nearby plants. Parsley has no detrimental effects and mustard actually strengthens its neighbors. Rosemary and tarragon improve the flavor of vegetables, and thyme can be planted throughout the garden to deter insects, particularly cabbage moths. The herbs seem to be particularly good neighbors.
Learning which plants help or harm each other goes a long way toward gardening success. Planting a garden is a lot of work, and although it has a great payout, avoiding unfortunate mixtures can save a lot of headaches. So get your garden friends together for a great season and a successful harvest