Plants Thrive with Good Neighbors
By Patty Cressman
Grayson County Master Gardener
Springtime is upon us and its time to start the vegetable garden. When planting your garden keep in mind which plants make good neighbors and can help each other grow and produce their full potential.
Plants have something in common with people. Like people, plants have companions too. Companion planting means putting plants together in a garden that help each other by attracting insects and pollinators and deterring pests. Companion planting is great for square foot gardens and helps maximize garden space while increasing crop production.
Native Americans practiced a form of companion planting. They would plant corn and pole beans together. The pole beans were able to climb the corn plants. The beans provided nitrogen to the soil and helped stabilize the corn plants from blowing in the wind. Squash was also planted which helped prevent the growth of weeds and helped slow the rate of moisture from evaporating from the soil. The squash plants also deterred predators from eating the beans or corn. Pole beans, corn, and squash combination is known as the Three Sisters.
Companion planting can play a significant role in assisting in pest control. Some combinations work because they create scents that repel pests, and some combinations work because they attract beneficial insects.
|The following chart illustrates companion plant combinations. Garden Crop||Companion Plant|
|Beans||Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garden Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Squash, Strawberries, Tomatoes|
|Carrots||Beans, Garden Peas, Lettuce, Onions, Tomatoes|
|Cabbage and other Cole crops (Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Collard greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Rutabagas, Turnips)||Other Cole crops, Onions, Potatoes|
|Corn||Beans, Cucumbers, Garden peas, Melons, Potatoes, Squash|
|Cucumbers||Beans, Beets, Corn, Onions, Garden Peas, Radishes|
|Garden Peas||Beans, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Peppers, Radishes, Spinach, Tomatoes|
|Garlic||Beets, Carrots, Cole crops, Eggplant, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes|
|Lettuce||Corn, Pumpkins, Radishes, Squash|
|Melon and Watermelon||Broccoli, Corn, Garlic, Radishes|
|Onions||Beets, Carrots, Cole crops, Lettuce|