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Companion Planting

Find out about the benefits of companion planting

Companion Planting

grow your own | vegetables

Companion planting onions and carrots so that carrot fly are deterred

Companion planting is the system of planting crops in close proximity to one another in order to deter pests and diseases, or to increase flavour and yields organically. It also includes planting sacrificial crops which will be so attractive to pests that they will leave your main crop alone.

Companion Planting of Vegetables

Three sisters companion planting - squash, beans, and sweetcorn

The most common example of companion planting is the traditional three sisters system (pictured above). In this a bed is planted with sweetcorn, beans, and squash plants (e.g. courgettes, or pumpkins). The stems of the tall sweetcorn offer the perfect climbing frame for the beans, the beans set nitrogen in the soil which feeds the sweetcorn and the squash, and the large leaves of the squash plants act as mulch helping the soil retain its moisture, supressing weeds, and keeping the sunshine off the roots of the sweetcorn.

Below is a table with companion plants for a selection of the most commonly grown vegetables.

AsparagusTomato, Parsley, Basil  
BeansMost Vegetables & Herbs  
Beans, Broad Potato, Cucumber, Maize, Strawberry, Celery, Summer Savory Onion
Beans, Runner Maize, Summer Savory, Radish Onion, Beets, Kohlrabi, Sunflower
Cabbage FamilyAromatic Herbs, Celery, Beetroot, Onion Family, Chamomile, Spinach, ChardDill, Strawberries, Runner Beans, Tomato
Carrots Pea, Lettuce, Rosemary, Onion Family, Sage, Tomato 
Celery Onion & Cabbage Families, Tomato, Broad Beans, Nasturtium Dill
Cucumber Beans, Maize, Pea, Sunflowers, Radish Potato, Aromatic Herbs
Aubergine (Eggplant) Broad Beans, Marigold  
Lettuce Carrot, Radish, Strawberry, Cucumber  
Maize (Corn)Potato, Broad Beans, Pea, Pumpkin, Cucumber, Squash Tomato
MelonMaize, Nasturtium, Radish,  
Onion Family Beetroot, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage FamilyBeans, Peas
Parsley Tomato, Asparagus  
Peas Carrots, Radish, Turnip, Cucumber, Maize, Beans Onion Family, Gladiolus, Potato
Potato Beans, Maize, Cabbage Family, Marigolds, Horseradish Pumpkin, Squash, Tomato, Cucumber, Sunflower
Pumpkins Maize, Marigold Potato
Radish Pea, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Cucumber Hyssop
Spinach Strawberry, Cauliflower, Celery  
Squash Nasturtium, Maize, Marigold Potato
StrawberryBroad Beans, Lettuce, Onion, SpinachCabbage
Tomato Basil, Onion Family, Nasturtium, Marigold, Asparagus, Carrot, Parsley, Cucumber, Mint Potato, Fennel, Cabbage Family
Turnip Pea Potato

Herbs as Companion Plants

Herbs are typically very aromatic and so can be excellent at repelling pests. Hyssop for example repels cabbage white butterflies and so should be planted next to cabbages. Similarly, Coriander will repel aphids from all vegetables, and chives will deter carrot fly.

Article Published: 09:27, 12th Jul 2008

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