Violet Mertz is a dedicated horticulturist and author who has devoted over ten years to the art of companion planting. Her passion lies in exploring unique plant pairings, and she is committed to imparting her extensive knowledge to others.
Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves planting different plants together to maximize their growth and health. Certain plants have natural affinities for each other and can benefit from being grown in close proximity. Here are some beneficial companion planting combinations that you can try in your garden:
1. Tomatoes and Basil: Tomatoes and basil are a classic companion planting combination. Basil repels pests that commonly attack tomatoes, such as aphids and tomato hornworms. Additionally, basil enhances the flavor of tomatoes when grown nearby.
2. Carrots and Onions: Carrots and onions make great companions. Onions repel carrot flies, which can damage carrot roots. Carrots, in turn, help to deter onion flies. Planting these two together can help protect both crops from pests.
3. Lettuce and Radishes: Lettuce and radishes are a perfect pairing. Radishes grow quickly and can be harvested before the lettuce needs the space. The radishes also help to break up the soil, making it easier for the lettuce to grow.
4. Peppers and Marigolds: Marigolds are known for their pest-repellent properties, particularly against nematodes. Planting marigolds around pepper plants can help protect them from these harmful pests.
5. Cucumbers and Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums attract aphids away from cucumber plants, acting as a sacrificial crop. They also repel cucumber beetles, which can damage cucumber vines. Planting nasturtiums near cucumbers can help keep these pests at bay.
6. Beans and Corn: Beans and corn are a classic companion planting combination known as the "Three Sisters." The corn provides support for the beans to climb, while the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting the corn. Additionally, the large leaves of the corn provide shade for the beans, helping to conserve moisture.
7. Broccoli and Calendula: Calendula, also known as marigold, attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which prey on pests that commonly attack broccoli. Planting calendula near broccoli can help control pests naturally.
8. Strawberries and Borage: Borage is a beneficial companion plant for strawberries. It attracts pollinators and repels pests such as tomato hornworms and cabbage worms. Planting borage near strawberries can help improve pollination and protect the plants from pests.
Remember, companion planting is not an exact science, and results may vary depending on your specific garden conditions. It's always a good idea to experiment and observe how different plant combinations work in your garden. By practicing companion planting, you can create a harmonious and thriving garden ecosystem.