Companion Planting
By: Jonathan Sturm

One of the key elements of organic growing is diversity, as opposed to monoculture. Companion planting takes this one step further, by growing different plants adjacent to each other for a purpose. This can benefit one, or both plants. For instance, companion planting can used to mask the smell of plants, which is used by pests to locate their food. Carrots and onions grown together reduces the incidence of both onion and carrot fly. Some plants cannot abide growing adjacent to others, for example peas and onions. The pea rhizobia are sensitive to root exudates from the onions. Knowing this beforehand prevents problems.

You are unlikely to solve all your problems with companion planting. It is far from an exact science, and results from some relationships often differ from garden to garden. One of the problems is that different varieties of vegetables behave differently, as well as variation due to soil type. The maturity of plants affects their aroma and this may be a significant factor in increasing their insect repellent nature. Some plants attract predatory insects. Flowering umbelliferae (carrots, parsnips, parsley etc.) are particularly attractive to hover flies which also consume aphids. The greater the variety of herbs used, generally the fewer insect problems reported by gardeners.

AsparagusTomatoes, parsley, basilOnions, garlic
Broad BeansPotatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, cabbage, summer savoryOnions
French BeansPotatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, strawberries, celery, summer savoryOnions
Climbing BeansSweet corn, summer savoryOnions, beetroot, kohlrabi, sunflowers
BeetrootOnions, kohlrabiClimbing beans
Cabbage Family (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohl-rabi, broccoli)Potatoes, celery, dill, chamomile, sage, mint, rosemary, beetroot, onionsStrawberries, tomatoes, climbing beans
CarrotsPeas, lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary, sage, tomatoesDill
CeleryLeeks, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbageFrench beans
ChivesCarrotsPeas, beans
CucumbersBeans, sweet corn, peas, radishes, sunflowersPotatoes, aromatic herbs
LeeksOnions, celery, carrots 
LettuceCarrots, radishes, strawberries, cucumbers 

Amaranth (Prince of Wales Feather)Benefits sweet corn.
BalmLikes tomatoes, improves growth and flavour. Good bee fodder.
BasilGood for tomatoes. Dislikes rue. Repels flies and mosquitoes. Improves growth and flavour.
BorageGood for tomatoes, squash and strawberries. Improves growth and flavour.
BurnetGood here and there throughout the garden, Deep roots pump up subsoil nutrients.
CalendulaGood for tomatoes and throughout the garden. Pest repellent.
CarawayPlant throughout the garden. Loosens the soil.
CatmintPlant as borders to deter flea beetle.
ChamomilePlant with cabbage and onions. Improves growth and flavour.
ChervilGood for radishes. Improves growth and flavour.
ChivesGood for carrots. Improves growth and flavour.
DeadnettleGood for potatoes and cereals. Improves growth and flavour.
DillGood for cabbage. Dislikes carrots. Improves growth and flavour of cabbage.
Fat HenLikes corn. Generally good throughout the garden.
FennelUnsociable. Plant away from main garden if possible.
FlaxGood for carrots and potatoes. Improves growth and flavour.
GarlicGood for roses and raspberries. Improves growth and health.
HorseradishPlant at corners of potato patch.
HenbitInsect repellant.
HyssopDeters cabbage moth. Good for cabbage and grapes. Dislikes radishes.
LarkspurRepels grasshoppers.
LovagePlant here and there throughout the garden. Improves health and flavour.
MarigoldPest deterrent. Plant throughout the garden.
MintGood for cabbage and tomatoes. Good for health and flavour. Deters cabbage moth.
MarjoramPlant here and there throughout the garden. Good for health and flavour.
NasturtiumGood for radishes, cabbage and pumpkin tribe. Plant under fruit trees. Deters aphids and codling moth.
PetuniaProtects beans from whitefly.
PurslaneGood in salads and as ground cover for sweet corn.
RosemaryGood for cabbage, beans, carrots and sage. Pest repellent.
RueGood for roses and raspberries. Hates basil. Pest repellent.
SageGood for rosemary, cabbage and carrots. Hates cucumbers. Pest repellent.
SouthernwoodGood for cabbage. Plant around garden. Pest repellent.
Sow ThistleGood for tomatoes, onions and corn.
Summer SavoryGood for beans and onions. Improves growth and flavour.
TansyGood for fruit trees, roses and raspberries. Insect repellent.
TarragonGood here and there throughout the garden.
ThymeGood throughout the garden. Pest repellent.
ValerianGood throughout the garden.
WormwoodGood border for garden. Keeps out animals.
YarrowGood for borders. Enhances essential oils in aromatic herbs.
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