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Companion Planting for Organic Gardening

Updated on September 27, 2009

Companion Plants Help Your Garden Grow!


One way to have a more successful vegetable garden with less work and chemicals is companion gardening. Companion gardening is a method of grouping plants together that help each other.

Native Americans knew that corn, pole beans and winter squash grew best when planted near each other. They called these plantings "Three Sisters Gardens". Corn is planted first and a few weeks later pole beans are planted at the base of the corn, then winter squash (or pumpkins) were planted between the corn plants. The corn provides a perfect place for the pole beans to climb and the beans add nitrogen to the soil, something that corn needs plenty of. The squash leaves keep the soil moist and protect the corn's roots from the sun and also provide shelter for ground beetles and spiders that eat destructive insects. It's a win-win situation that worked well for centuries and more and more gardeners are reviving this ancient method of planting.

Planting marigolds among vegetables keep pests at bay. Their pungent odor throws insects off the scent of your beans, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables. Plant marigolds at the ends or your rows of veggies or in between vegetable plants and they'll help your crops and add some color to your garden.

Tomatoes and basil not only taste great together, they require the same soil and weather conditions and grow well when planted near each other. Dill and fennel are also are good to plant among tomato plants. Dill and fennel are friends of pepper plants, and cosmos and marigolds look pretty planting among them.

Radishes help protect spinach from leaf miners. Radishes grow quickly and are ready for harvest in about 26 days. This means you can plant several crops of radishes during the growing season. Radishes also repel pests from squash and lettuce plants. Plant radishes and marigolds around your melon hills to protect them from destructive beetles.

Nasturtiums are edible flowers; their seeds are used to make capers. They also provide cover for beneficial insects such as spiders and repel Colorado potato beetles, aphids, Mexican bean beetles and squash bugs. Plant a few seeds along with your squash seeds and at the ends of rows of potatoes and pole beans.

Plant garlic around your roses and in your cutting garden or spray garlic water on the plants to repel pests such as Japanese beetles. Simply place a few garlic buds in two cups of water in a blender and liquefy, strain the water into a spray bottle and you have a natural, non-toxic bug repellant.

Chives are perennial herbs that grow in compact clumps. They repel Japanese Beetles, so plant a few clumps in your rose garden or flower beds and enjoy the added treat of fresh chives in your salads and dips.

There are a great number of companion plants that will make your garden more productive and enjoyable. Start with a few and add more as you find out which work best in your climate and garden.


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