While easy to get into, gardening takes a little bit of time to get good at. It’s not just about picking some free space in your backyard, tilling the earth, and throwing seeds around. You are always better off applying strategies that those before you discovered and perfected. For example, many plants interact with each other in a variety of ways, which can help them or hinder them in growing and producing fruit.
Advantages of Companion Planting in Your Garden
When you pair up certain plants with each other in your garden to help them produce more, or protect each other from diseases and pests, you are practicing a method called companion planting. This approach can offer many benefits: (1)
- You save space by planting more plants in the same amount of space.
- Stronger plants can shield the delicate ones from changes in weather .
- One plant can deter another plant’s pests, or attract bees and helpful insects.
- Diversity in companion planting helps minimize the spread and effects of diseases.
- Weeds have less room to grow and you have less tedious work to do.
- It fights soil erosion, while maintaining moisture.
Best Plant Pairs for Companion Planting
1. Nasturtiums and Cucumbers
Nasturtiums not enhance the flavor and health of cucumbers, but also repel insects and distract aphids that might harm different vegetables. Additionally, the leaves and petals of this flower carry lots of vitamin C and they’re a colorful addition to a fresh and leafy green salad.
2. Roses and Chives
Chives are a good match for many garden plants, but they do wonders when planted next to roses. Black spot disease and Japanese beetles are deterred by chives (2) which otherwise cause significant damage to roses in bloom. Even overall growth is positively affected when you place chives near rose bushes. Chives taste like a milder onion and can be chopped up and added to sour cream dips or different salads.
3. Asparagus and Tomatoes
Those planning to give asparagus and tomatoes a go in their garden might as well plant them together as companions. Asparagus carries a certain chemical that is deadly to nematodes (3) that prevent tomatoes from growing as they should. On the other hand, tomatoes have solanine, another chemical that drives asparagus beetles away.
4. Squash or Melons and Flowering Herbs
Companion planting isn’t always about shooing insects away, as there are many beneficial bugs that help your garden. Squash and melons require pollinators, such as bees, to bear fruit, so don’t forget to plant flowering herbs such as dill and fennel close by. (4)
5. Peppers and Basil
Basil (5), when grown next to peppers, keeps fly, mosquito, aphid, and spider mite numbers down. However, that’s just one of many other benefits. Basil can also improve the growth and flavor of peppers when harvest time is near.
6. Green Beans and Summer Savory
This is a pair of plants that look good both in the ground and on your dinner plate. Growing the two side by side as companions has many benefits, as savory keeps Mexican bean beetles away and also enriches the flavor of your beans. (6) Plant them together and eat them together, too, when harvest time comes around.
7. Marigolds and Broccoli
You already know about this companion pairing, but still wonder what makes it so good?
It turns out that marigolds require very little calcium, and broccoli requires a lot.  Marigolds also add some vibrancy to your home garden and keep pesky insects out.
8. Cabbage and Chamomile
Chamomile, which is most famous for its use for tea, attracts useful insects into your garden and protects vegetables such as cabbage. Once you pluck your cabbages from the ground, don’t forget to cut the chamomile as well, and if you do not want to dry the flowers for tea, simply spread it around to enrich the soil for the next time you plant your vegetables.
Gardening can be an excellent way to stay active and is a rewarding hobby on its own. However, when you spend so much time and effort into putting your garden together, you also want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, so to speak. Pests, disease, and poor yields can drain your motivation, so don’t forget to try out these companions pairings. Doing so, you give your garden an even better chance for success. And when you finally start to harvest all the things you worked so hard to have, you’ll be rightfully proud of yourself.