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Vegetable Garden Companion Plants Guide

Updated on April 5, 2016
Zucchini growing in my organic vegetable garden. Marigolds help repel bugs, and the zucchini leaves provide shade for the lettuce.
Zucchini growing in my organic vegetable garden. Marigolds help repel bugs, and the zucchini leaves provide shade for the lettuce. | Source

Companion Planting can Help You be a Better Gardener

Growing your own vegetables is a wonderful way to save money and may help you eat healthier, by providing a ready supply of vegetables during the growing season. Whether you are an experienced gardener, or just starting out, it can be helpful to learn about companion planting as a natural and eco-friendly way to have a productive and healthy garden.

Basically, companion planting means learning about which plants provide benefits to other plants and planting them together in the garden. Companion plants for a vegetable plant can be other vegetable plants, herbs or even flowers.

Benefits of Companion Planting

When successful, companion planting can:

  • deter harmful insects and other garden pests
  • attract beneficial and predatory insects
  • improve pollination and crop yields
  • improve the flavour of certain vegetables
  • maximize growth of plants by keeping down weeds and providing shade where needed

without the use of harmful chemicals.

Marigolds are an invaluable addition to any vegetable garden.
Marigolds are an invaluable addition to any vegetable garden. | Source

Planting Herbs and Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden

There are many flowers and herbs that are beneficial to vegetable plants. The main benefit of most of these is in their ability to either attract or repel various insects.

Beneficial flowers in a vegetable garden include nasturtiums, marigolds, zinnias, petunias, sweet peas, cosmos, and sunflowers. Of these, nasturtiums and marigolds are my absolute favourite companion plants. They both keep away a large variety of garden pests, and provide a bright colourful addition to the garden. I tend to intersperse several different varieties of marigolds throughout my vegetable garden, and plant the lower growing nasturtiums along the edge of the garden.

Herbs such as chives, basil and dill also provide benefits to the vegetables growing in your garden, and of course are great for cooking.

Flowers and Herbs for the Vegetable Garden

Flower
Plant With
Benefits
Marigolds
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes
Strong smell repels garden pests such as Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, slugs, and tomato worm.
Nasturtiums
Broccoli, Cucumber, Cabbage, Potatoes, Radish, Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini
Wards off fungal diseases. Attract aphids away from other plants. Also trap other insects such as whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and cabbage worms.
Petunias
Throughout the garden, especially near tomatoes
Repel aphids, tomato worms, Mexican bean beetle, asparagus beetle, leafhoppers and other garden pests.
Yarrow
Anywhere in or near vegetable garden
Attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps. Repels harmful insects. Fertilizes soil.
Zinnias, Sweet Peas, Cosmos and Larkspur
Anywhere in or near vegetable garden
Attract bees to the garden to improve pollination. Also attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps.
Basil
Asparagus, Cucumber, Tomatoes
Repels aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, hornworms and other garden pests. Attracts bees to improve pollination. Improves flavour of tomatoes.
Chives
Asparagus, Carrots, Tomatoes
Repels aphids. Improves the flavour of carrots and tomatoes. May help to prevent powdery mildew on cucumber plants.
Dill
Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Onions,
Attracts beneficial insects such as bees, wasps, and hoverflies. Repels garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, squash and cabbage bugs.

Vegetables as Companion Plants

Certain vegetables grow better when planted close to others. They may provide needed shade, improve the soil by adding nutrients, attract beneficial insects, repel harmful garden pests or improve the flavour of the other plant. A good example of this is the Three Sisters Garden,

In a Three Sisters Garden, corn, beans and squash are planted together to maximize the yield on each crop. Each of these plants is beneficial to the other plants in some way. The corn provides support to the bean stalks as they grow. Beans improve the soil by adding nitrogen to it, which benefits both the squash and the corn, which is a particularly heavy feeder. The squash helps keep the weeds down, and benefits from the shade provided by the other two plants.

Watch the video below for more information on companion planting in an organic garden, including an example of a Three Sisters Garden.

Organic Gardening with Companion Plants

Plant Combinations to Avoid

In the same way that certain plants are beneficial to each other when planted together, there are some plant combinations that are best to avoid.

For example, beans are beneficial to many vegetable plants, as they fix nitrogen from the air and enrich the soil. However, they should not be planted with beets as the two will stunt each other's growth. Also, onion bulbs' growth is stunted by too much nitrogen in the soil, so beans and onions should not be planted near each other.

The chart below summarizes which vegetables make good companions and which combinations should be avoided.

Vegetable Garden Companion Planting Chart

Vegetable
Good Companions
Avoid Planting With
Asparagus
Basil, Chives, Parsley, Tomatoes
 
Beans
Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigolds, Parsley, Peas, Rosemary, Sage
Chives, Fennel, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Beets
Bush Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Lettuce, Onions
Climbing Beans, Tomatoes
Bell Peppers
Basil, Carrots, Marigolds, Onions, Parsley, Tomatoes
Dill, Fennel
Broccoli
Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Dill, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Potatoes, Tomatoes
Rue, Strawberries
Cabbage
Beans, Beets, Chamomile, Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Lettuce, Marigold, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Rosemary, Sage
Garlic, Rue, Strawberries, Tomatoes
Carrots
Beans, Chives, Coriander, Cucumber, Dill, Leeks, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Tomatoes
Parsnip
Celery
Bush Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dill, Leeks, Peas, Tomatoes
Parsnip, Potatoes
Corn
Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Marjoram, Parsnip, Peas, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rosemary, Squash, Zucchini
 
Cucumbers
Basil, Beans, Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Radish
Potatoes, Sage
Eggplants
Beans, Marjoram, Potatoes
Dill,
Hot Peppers
Basil, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Squash, Tomatoes
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dill
Lettuce
Beans, Beats, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Onions, Parsnip, Peas, Radish
Parsley
Onions
Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Lettuce, Leeks, Parsley, Parsnip, Tomatoes
Beans, Peas,
Peas
Beans, Cabbages, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Parsnip, Potato, Sage
Chives, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Potatoes
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Peas
Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Tomatoes
Pumpkin
Corn, Marjoram
Potatoes
Spinach
Marjoram, Fruit Trees, Strawberries
 
Squash
Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Onions, Nasturiums, Peas, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sunflower
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Celery, Chives, Dill, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Peppers, Radish, Spinach
Beets, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Fennel, Potatoes, Rosemary, Rue
Zucchini
Corn, Marjoram, Nasturtiums
 

Natural Insect Repellents

Pest / Insect
Natural Repellents to Try
Ants
Garlic, mint, tansy, pennyroyal
Aphids
Basil, chives, garlic, onions, nasturiums, petunias, tomatoes
Cabbage fly
Chamomile, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme
Caterpillars
Garlic, tomatoes
Mice
Mint, wormwood
Mosquitoes
Bee balm, catnip, citronella, lemon balm, marigolds, pennyroyal, tansy, wormwood
Moths
Lavender, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme
Slugs
Dry rosemary, marigold, leaf mulch, wormwood
Spiders
Nasturiums, Onions
Snails
Garlic
Tomato worm
Garlic, marigolds
White fly
Basil, nasturiums

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    • KerryAnita profile image

      KerryAnita 4 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      Thanks for this hub! It was very informative. I will have to try to plant some nasturtiums next time I try to grow squash; they always seem to get a fungal disease.

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks KerryAnita! The nasturtiums do seem to help. I didn't plant any last year, and I definitely saw a difference in some of my vegetables, including the zucchini squash. I'll be planting lots this summer!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      An excellent gardening companion. It's never too early to start planning for the next garden. This past year I witnessed our nasturtiums doing yeoman work in attracting aphids....they were swarmed by aphids. It really was remarkable to see, and all the while the other veggies nearby were left alone.

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Those nasturtiums are certainly hard workers, aren't they? It's an added bonus that they're pretty too. Thanks for stopping by Bill. I always appreciate your visits!

    • Bettyoverstreet10 profile image

      Betty (Alawine) Overstreet 4 years ago from Vacaville, Ca.

      Great hub! I will certainly pay attention to this next year. I have bookmarked your page on my computer so I won't forget it. Have a wonderful day!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Great info! This hub's a keeper.

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Jill and Betty! I'm glad you found it useful.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Another really useful hub. Love the table and really only knew about marigolds being a deterrent to various critters. Thanks. Shared!

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm glad you liked it! I used to shun marigolds because of their pungent smell. Apparently that smell discourages lots of garden pests, so I've learned to appreciate marigolds much more. Thanks for the visit!

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Texas

      We planted marigolds interspersed with tomatoes and both did extremely well. We also erred in putting beans and beets near each other - no wonder the beets were so small! Won't do that again. Thanks so much for the useful information.

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You're welcome Joanie! I'm glad to hear you found it helpful!

    • azrestoexp profile image

      Arizona's Restoration Experts, LLC 4 years ago

      Glad I found you. Great hub full of lots of useful information. Gardening in the desert requires all the help I can get. THANKS! :0)

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm so glad to hear you found it helpful, azrestoexp! I don't know much about gardening in the desert, as I live in Canada, but I hope some of these strategies work out for you!

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