Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > April 2013 > Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Some plants seem to do better when planted with other plants. This is Companion Planting. Companion Planting could be defined as ‘growing two or more species in close proximity so that some benefit can be achieved.’ 
 
There are many reasons why a plant might grow better with certain other plants.  Some plants offer some insect protection. Three or four radish plants in each hill of cucumbers helps repel cucumber beetles and nasturtiums are great as a “trap” for aphids, for example. Hoverflies are early summer insects whose larvae eat aphids. Because adult hoverflies tend to stick close to nectar sources, planting certain flowers (sweet alyssum, Greek oregano, cilantro, and other herbs) in and around your vegetable garden can help protect your vegetables from aphids.
 
Many highly aromatic herbs have insect repellent properties because their strong scent helps to mask the scent of vegetables planted near them. It might be hard for a hungry insect to find your broccoli if all it can smell is the Rosemary planted close by. French marigolds have even been proven to reduce the number of harmful nematodes in the soil (the brightly colored flowers are a bonus). Onions, chives, and garlic are said to have a repellent effect on many pests—including the furry four-legged kind. 
 
Other plants are said to actually help in some way. According to the Michigan State University Extension, lovage improves the growth and vigor of beans, while tansy can improve the flavor of many fruits. Borage apparently can improve the growth and vigor of many plants. Parsley planted near asparagus appears to be more vigorous. 
 
There are many other suggested combination plantings out there—beans with cucumber family members and carrots with onions or tomatoes, for example. There’s a really good book out there called Carrots Love Tomatoes  by Louise Riotte. It’s full of all manner of companion plant suggestions. 
 
Next week’s blog will be about a Native American version of companion planting--the Three Sisters Garden…
Posted: 4/22/2013 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: BonniePega, Bonnie'sGarden
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