Friendly Gardening: The Many Benefits of Companion Planting

By Vicki Matsumonji, White Mountain Community Garden

Team up your veggies with companion plants for flavor, protection and health because companion planting in your garden is smart planting. Good plant companions benefit each other and some plants are not good neighbors, so it’s good to know which plants thrive and support each other and which ones are not so beneficial.

For instance, tomatoes grow well with onions and basil, but don’t plant with potatoes, fennel or the cabbage family. Onions are not good companions to beans, peas and asparagus. Marigolds are good companions to just about all veggies because their odor repels insects and rabbits. Marigold roots release a chemical substance that repels many insects, especially nematodes, round worms that attack vegetable roots.

Many herbs make great companion plants that provide protection from insects because of their strong essence. Chives deter insects from carrots. Plant dill with cabbage but keep it away from carrots. Marjoram is a good companion to all plants but fennel is the least amiable neighbor for many vegetables. For more love matches and bitter rivals, please refer to the accompanying chart. Of course, this is merely a guideline and there are no strict rules about what you must and must not plant. Gardening is wonderful like that.

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