Over the years that I’ve had a garden, I haven’t ever been that interested in companion planting. I’ve always liked everything to have its own space in neat little rows, or semi-neat crooked rows in my case. Planting certain plants together to benefit each other never really crossed my mind, up until last year. I was having problems with bugs invading some crops in my garden so I started researching organic ways to control them and ran across an article on companion planting. I found it really interesting and wanted to try it to see if it would really work. Since I had already planted my garden, I mostly focused on planting various flowers and herbs that would help to control the bugs. The kids really got into it and had so much fun buying different herbs and flowers and then researching too find the best companions to plant them next to.
This year, I was kind of rushed getting everything planted so I really didn’t take time to do the research and plan out the garden like I should have. It wasn’t until I bought more plants than what I had room for, that I decided I better check out a companion planting chart to figure out the best place to plant them. I usually like to google companion planting and check out several different sites and charts when deciding what plants work best together because I’ve found conflicting information between some of them. One of my favorite sites to check out is the Mother Earth News Companion Planting Guide.
Here are a few examples of how we’re using companion planting:
Pictured above is a veggie/herb barrel that Brooke planted dill, lettuce and cucumbers in. She planted the lettuce to feed to her rabbit, and then researched what other plants would grow together well with lettuce. She chose dill and cucumbers because she thought it would be fun to try growing everything we’d need to make pickles. So far everything is looking good!
I planted broccoli in between the beet and carrots, which are both good companions for broccoli. Paring broccoli with beets is a good combination since beets don’t require a lot of calcium so it frees it up for the broccoli.
As you can see, the beets, broccoli, and carrots have grown quite a bit since I first planted the broccoli.
Basil and parsley always grow well with tomatoes. Parsley attracts wasps that will kill the tomato hornworm and basil improves both the flavor and growth of the tomatoes. I only have one parsley plant and a few basil plants, so I don’t know how effective they really are compared to the number of plants we have. It would be really nice to plant them all through out the rows of tomatoes, but buying that many gets to be a little expensive. Maybe one of these years I will try starting them from seed.
There is so much more to companion planting, and still so much I need to learn about. I find it interesting and see how it can be very beneficial. It’s definitely something that I plan to learn more about and incorporate into future gardens.
Do you do companion planting in your garden? If so, do you find it works? What are your favorite companions to plant?