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The Basics of Companion Planting In The Garden

Do you love the idea of having your own garden full of tomatoes, beans, onions, squash, beets, melons, and cucumbers along with other veggies and fruits? Well, before you jump right in and start digging, consider companion planting. This type of planting can increase the odds that you’ll have a flourishing, colorful garden this year.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is just what it sounds like. It’s putting two or three plants together in a garden that will benefit one another as they grow. Of course, there are some veggies and fruits that are more companionable than others.

Vegetables and Fruits Perfect for Companion Planting

Lettuce and Tomatoes

Am I placing an order for a hamburger? No, these two items are companion plants. Tomato plants grow to be very tall. Their height provides shade and protection to lettuce, a cool-season veggie that grows near the ground. Eggplants can be substituted for tomato plants if you prefer.

Carrots and Radishes

These two veggies grow well together because they both grow underground but radishes are harvested first: They help loosen up the soil, then are harvested and make way for the carrots to grow.

Melons, Squash, and Herbs

If melons and squash are on the list of fruits for your garden, plant them beside dill, parsley, and fennel. These herbs are attractive to pollinators like butterflies and bees, and melons and squash require the help of pollinators to grow.

Onions and Peppers

The biggest part of an onion grows beneath ground level, so they claim very little space in your garden. Plus, they repel garden pests like slugs, cabbage worms, and aphids. These pests love to munch on peppers, making onions a suitable companion plant.

Corn, Pole Beans, and Pumpkin

The tall corn in this planting scenario gives the pole bean vines support as they grow. The pole beans add to the richness of the soil by releasing nitrogen into it. Pumpkins grow low to the ground and help to keep the soil moist for all three plants. In addition, pumpkins have spiny stems, which are a deterrent for rodents that want to chomp on the beans and corn! This companion combination is known as the three sisters.

Veggies and Fruits Not Suitable as Companion Plants

Not every plant is a good neighbor: There are some veggies and fruit plants that would just as soon stay clear of one another.

Tomatoes and Potatoes

Tomatoes and potatoes are not suitable for companion planting. They’re both vulnerable to the same type of blight, so if one gets infected, the other will, too.

Green Beans and Onions

These two work well together in a casserole dish but not so much in the garden. Onions of any kind can slow down or even stop the growth of beans.

Cucumbers and Sage

It would seem like there’s little harm in planting these two items together. However, a fragrant gathering of sage can attract garden pests such as aphids and whiteflies. These pests would accept the invitation and start to gnaw on your cucumbers.

Taking some time to plan can help you end up with a flourishing garden of vegetables and fruits. Thanks for reading. – Alan

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