What is companion gardening?
Something every gardener will hear at some point when planting a veggie patch is “but what about companion gardening?” This is not an exact science, but most vegetables seem to grow better if paired with other plants. They can help each other by increasing yield, improving growth and helping with pest control. As different vegetables take different levels of nutrients from the soil, companion gardening can also help maintaining a healthy soil.
Planting flowers and herbs next to your veg helps attract essential pollinators, as well as providing a bit of misdirection so to speak for pests, as it is offering an alternate meal.
What plants are good for companion gardening?
Of course the list is not definitive, as most of this process has been passed down through the years through word of mouth and also through trial and error, but this should give you some idea of which vegetables benefit from being planted with what.
Plant marigolds freely around the garden to repel aphids, soil nematodes, bean beetles. Plant comfrey around the edges of the garden.
Although it can be very invasive, comfrey is a wonderful at adding nutrients to the soil and the leaves can be composted or made into a great liquid fertiliser.
Plant nasturtiums with cucumbers and courgettes – a classic combination which works so well attracting pollinators. They also provide a tasty salad addition!
Melons and squash planted with flowering herbs tend to grow healthily and it means you have extra seasoning for your meals!
Most legumes are great for adding nitrogen to the soil. Plant with potatoes, cucumbers and celery.
Tomatoes, onions and leeks
Carrots really benefit from being planted with the likes of tomatoes, onions, or leeks.
Cabbages grow well with beans Beans are a great companion plant, but try planting some marigolds around the beanstalks.
Garlic grows well with potatoes and cucumbers.
Plant broccoli with calendula flowers to help repel aphids.