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Plant Relationships in the Vegetable Garden

Updated on July 13, 2013

Like all species, animals, plants and mankind, there are things you should and should no do when near specific types of entities. Many of these are instinctive, others are learned, some are cultural.

Relationships in your vegetable garden follow the same practices. Some plants like one another and when grown close to one another enhances their growth, while others are a no-no. Planting an unfriendly next to another might inhibit production or growth because nutrients are robbed by a more dominant plant system or invasive one. Some may attract specific types of pests that would not normally bother your plant but because it is close by, it becomes dinner. Did you know that marigolds are a natural pest control for tomatoes, potatoes, peas and peppers? The flower stops their dreaded enemy-the nematode. Also, use Basil to deter garden insects. Use it everywhere. It also enhances the flavor of some vegetables.

When planting a garden, keep tomatoes and asparagus near one another as tomatoes help keep the asparagus beetle away. But, keep both plants away from potatoes, fennel and those in the cabbage family. Use Garlic to repel insects around fruit trees, roses, tomatoes and cabbage crops. It also deters the carrot fly. Make sure there are no beans or peas nearby garlic plants, otherwise, their growth might be stunted.

Keep all broccoli, cauliflower, kale away from tomato plants. These cabbage family plants compliment the use of sage and mint to keep away the dreaded white butterfly pest. keep in mind that mint is invasive and will spread like ivy. It is hard to stop. You can plant potatoes with cabbage family plants. But again, do not plant tomatoes near potatoes because they share a common problem blight. Also, avoid planting cucumbers near potatoes because a cucumber will make the potatoes more susceptible to phytophthora blight.

In true synergistic fashion, corn, beans, squash and cucumbers can all be planted together in close proximity because each helps the other. Corn stalks help the bean vines with support (no stakes are needed), bean plants create and add more nitrogen into the soil, while squash will keep soil moist and help keep weeds down. If planting corn, also plan sunflowers to deter corn pests but, again, keep away from tomatoes. Corn and tomatoes attract the same kinds of pests.


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