Companion planting is a great way to maximize the efficiency of your garden. For almost every vegetable you grow, there is likely to be a beneficial companion plant that will help increase soil nutrients, chase away pests, and help you get the most out of your garden. Here are the 10 most popular vegetables grown in the United States and their friends (and foes) in the garden.
Companion Planting For These Top 10 Veggies
Friends: Basil and tomatoes were made to go together, not only in sauces but in the garden, too. This herb helps tomatoes produce greater yields and it repels both flies and mosquitoes. Marigolds are another good companion, repelling nematodes and other garden pests. Other friends to tomatoes include asparagus, carrots, celery, the onion family, lettuce, parsley, and spinach.
Foes: Cabbage, beets, peas, fennel, dill, and rosemary. Corn and tomatoes both suffer from the corn earworm, and tomatoes and potatoes are affected by the same blight, so keep these plants separate to prevent the spread of pests or disease.
Friends: Basil is a good friend to peppers, helping repel aphids, spider mites, mosquitoes, and flies. It’s also thought that basil improves the pepper’s flavor. Other good companions include onions, spinach, and tomatoes.
Foes: Beans so the vines don’t spread among the pepper plants.
3. Green Beans
Friends: Corn and beans grow well together because beans will grow up the cornstalks, which means you won’t have to build them a trellis. Beans also fix nitrogen in the soil, which is good for the corn. Marigolds, nasturtiums, rosemary, and summer savory repel bean beetles, and summer savory improves growth rate and flavor. Other companions include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other members of the cabbage family along with cucumbers, peas, potatoes, and radishes.
Foes: Beets or anything from the onion family. Onions, in particular, impede the growth of bean plants.
Friends: Plant marigolds and nasturtiums among your cucumbers to repel aphids and beetles,. Beans, celery, corn, lettuce, dill, peas, and radishes are also good companion plants.
Foes: Aromatic herbs such as sage which will stunt the growth of cucumbers.
Friends: Carrots should be planted near onions because onions will repel the carrot fly. Onions will also chase away the aphids, so plant them near aphid-prone (but onion-friendly) veggies. Other good friends of onions include beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, parsnips (which also suffer from carrot fly), tomatoes, and spices like marjoram, savory, and rosemary.
Foes: Asparagus, beans, and peas.
Friends: Plant mint among your lettuce to keep away the slugs that feed on lettuce leaves, or plant chives and garlic to repel aphids. Beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, radishes, and marigolds also work as good companion plants. Marigolds attract aphid-eating ladybugs.
Foes: Parsley, because it tends to grow into a small yet bushy plant and can crowd your lettuce.
7. Summer Squash/Zucchini
Friends: Corn and squash make good companion plants since the cornstalks give squash vines a place to grow. Squash also does well planted alongside beans, peas, radishes, dill, and marigolds.
Foes: Potatoes, as both plants are prone to blight.
Friends: Carrots are heat sensitive, which is why they go well with tomato plants that can provide them a bit of shade. Tomatoes are also known to produce solanine, which is a natural insecticide that targets pests affecting carrot plants. Tomatoes benefit from carrots, too. Carrots aerate the soil around the roots of the tomato plants, allowing more air and water to reach the roots. Leeks and carrots are also good companion plants since leeks repel carrot flies and carrots repel leek moths and onion flies. Rosemary, sage, and chive also help repel carrot flies.
Foes: Coriander and dill, as they both produce compounds that can harm carrot plants, and parsnips suffer from the same diseases and pests as carrots, so keep them apart to minimize a potential infestation.
Friends: Radishes can be planted among cucumbers to attract cucumber beetles away from the cukes. They also do well among carrots because they are harvested before the carrots and they loosen the soil as the carrots start to take off. Onions, beets, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, and squash are also good friends for radishes.
10. Sweet Corn
Friends: Corn loves veggies that fix nitrogen in the soil—like green beans. Cornstalks also make a great trellis for vining or trailing plants including beans, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, and melons. Zucchini is a good companion plant when planted among corn.
Foes: Tomatoes, as they and corn are attacked by corn earworms. Plant these two far apart to minimize the spread of these pests.
Follow these companion planting guidelines to boost yields, minimize pest or disease problems and make garden management easier!
Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental, and green living topics.