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Compatible Planting

Updated on October 6, 2015

Garden Friends

It took me years to realize, better said to recall all Gramps had told about garden companions. To me as a teenager it really didn't matter that the tomato and the potato didn't want to be neighbors. Neither did it worry me that the carrots would be stunted if the calendula flowers were planted near-by. Grandma needed a certain type of calendula (marygold) flower every year to make her special first aid cream. The garden was Gramps's project the only input Grandma made each year was "...make sure I have enough calendula and chamomile blooms for my salves..."

It all grows outside in nature doesn't it? So what's the hype here?

The garden Gramps grew veggies in was not bigger then about 15'X18' with a couple of planters for some extra tomatoes in the front yard and a few on the deck. Before it became a fashion thing to do he incorporated flowers into the veggie garden. He grew extra leaf lettuce at the base of the the espaliered dwarf apple and pear trees (2each). In a growing zone of 4 he was able to supply the family with berries and veggies and fruit. From the beginning of July till the end of October something was going into jars or freezer regularly. But I'm getting away from my main purpose here.

Perfect pair gardening.

Ignoring most of Gramps's teachings my first attempt at veggie gardening 25 or so years ago was not quite the success that I had thought it was going to be. It looked easy enough when he did it. So since then I've experimented and applied all of his methods (the once I can recall) and added a few of my own. This is the list I have compiled from my yearly gardening journals:

Cucumber family: includes cucumbers, water & muskmelon, summer & winter squash,

  • is friends with the bean family, cabbage family, dill,lettuce, eggplant, tomato, onion family, iris, lilies, nasturtium, lemon balm,grape hyacinth
  • does not like potato, sage, corn, nicotiana,


  • is friends with bean family, potato, yam, onion family, hot & mild peppers, tomato, dill, fennel, anise, iris, marigold, nasturtium
  • likes everybody

Lettuce: leaf, romaine, boston, butter, iceberg

  • is friends with everyone

Onion family: includes onion, chives, garlic, leeks, scallion,

  • is friends with it's own family members, beet family, cabbage family, carrot family, hot & mild peppers, tomato, strawberries, most in the flower garden, spinach, potato, yam
  • does not like asparagus, sage

Pepper family: includes all hot & mild

  • is friends with tomato, carrot family, eggplant, potato, onion family, marigold, nasturtium,
  • does not like fennel, turnip,yam


  • is friends with the bean gang, lettuce, borage, onion family, spinach, mint, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, nasturtium, marigold
  • does not like cabbage family


  • is friends with everybody except
  • does not like dill, fennel, potato, corn


  • is friends with tomato, parsley, gladiolus, basil, nasturtium, anemones and phlox
  • does not like the onion family--onion & garlic & chives & leeks, dill, fennel, anise

Beans, bush & pole & Peas:

  • is friends with beets, carrots, cauliflower, and most others from the cabbage family, corn, peas, potato, yams, sunflower, marigold, rosemary, iris, lemon balm
  • does not like fennel, anise, basil, and the poor onion family

Beet family: includes beets, spinach, swiss chard,

  • is friends with bush & pole beans. cabbage family, onion family, leaf & romaine & head lettuce, radishes, corn, nasturtium, sunflower, dahlia
  • does not like strawberries, calendula or any type of marigold, iris, lilies

Cabbage family: includes cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cress, chinese cabbage, kale, turnip,

  • is friends with each of its family members beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce family, onion family, potato, yam, eggplant, spinach, iris, lilies, nasturtium, marigold, rosemary, oregano,
  • does not like strawberries, hyssop, dill, fennel, blue & rasp & black & thimble-berries,

Carrot family: including carrot, celery, chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel, anise, parsley, parsnip

  • is friend with just a few of its family members ( how rude) fennel & chervil & cilantro, bean family, cabbage family, rosemary, sage, thyme, tomato, hot and mild peppers, chives and the rest of the onion gang, nasturtium, geranium, english lavender
  • does not like and is in a family feud with celery & dill & parsnip & anise, calendula and all other marigolds, iris, basil, oregano,


  • is friends with bean family, beets,cabbage family, cucumber bunch, onion family, parsley, potato, yam,pumpkin, morning glory, marigold, nasturtium, gladiolus,
  • does not like tomato

 my fall 1978, spring 1982 garden journal notes
my fall 1978, spring 1982 garden journal notes

I also found that if you mix onion and garlic, actually all of the onion family members throughout the veggie and flower garden they will keep a lot of the pesky bugs way. Most plants give off a scent that attracts the pests. Disguise them by planting stronger-smelling ones around.

Planting garlic cloves amongst the flowers will keep them healthy. The small garlic heads that develop actually add interest in the flowerbed as does a nice big bunch of chives here and there. Their purple little pompom heads seem to fit right in.

Broccoli, actually the whole cabbage family can get an infestation of the green caterpillars that are hatch-ling of the the white moths. Planting a row of celery on each side of the cabbages will keep those moths at bay. Add a few pots of herbs such as mint, thyme, & sage into the cabbage patch and the moths will move to the next county.

Potato beetles don't like beans so it's a smart choice to plant bush beans amongst or around the potato patch perimeter.

All the marigolds especially the calendula are useful against aphids, whiteflies and potato beetles, tomato hornworm, cucumber beetles. Planting them throughout the veggie and flower garden can only help. ONLY thing to remember keep marigold away from the Carrots as they will get Gramps said...

Watch for the next hub on "Making a Garden Plan" using this pal system .


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