What Grows Well Together in a Vegetable Garden?

Table of contents

Short Answer

  • Tomatoes and Basil: Basil repels mosquitoes and flies, potentially improving tomato health and flavor.
  • Carrots and Onions: Onions deter carrot flies, protecting carrots by masking their scent.
  • Lettuce and Tall Flowers: Tall flowers provide shade for lettuce, keeping the soil cool and moist, while some flowers, like marigolds, deter pests.
  • Beets and Garlic: Garlic can improve beet growth and deter pests.
  • Spinach and Strawberries: Spinach benefits from the shade provided by strawberry plants, which helps maintain soil moisture.
  • Corn, Beans, and Squash (“Three Sisters”): Corn offers structure for beans; beans fix nitrogen, benefiting all three; squash shades the ground, reducing weed growth.
  • Peas and Carrots: Peas fix nitrogen, enhancing soil for carrots.
  • Cucumbers and Radishes: Radishes can act as a trap crop for cucumber beetles.
  • Zucchini and Nasturtium: Nasturtium repels squash bugs and other pests, while attracting pollinators.
  • Marigolds: Known to deter nematodes and other pests, beneficial near tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and peppers.

What Veggies to Plant Next to Each Other?

Let us first define what companion planting means. Companion planting is a gardening practice that pairs different plants for mutual benefits. It’s a strategy rooted in the idea that certain plants can enhance each other’s growth, deter pests, and help with nutrient uptake when grown together. This approach relies on biodiversity, encouraging a mix of plants to create a balanced ecosystem.

You use companion planting to take advantage of natural plant interactions. For example, some plants might emit substances that repel harmful insects, while others may attract beneficial ones that aid in pollination or pest control. Additionally, certain plant combinations can improve soil health, helping each other absorb nutrients more effectively.

In essence, companion planting is about understanding these relationships and using them to your advantage. It’s a method that not only aims to maximize the productivity of your garden but also to maintain its health in a natural and sustainable way. By carefully selecting and placing your vegetables, you can create a garden that is more resilient against pests, diseases, and environmental stresses.

What Veggies to Plant Next to Each Other

What Plants Grow Best Together in a Vegetable Garden?

In the realm of companion planting, some pairs stand out for their mutual benefits. Here are a few examples that can help you start your companion planting journey:

Tomatoes and Basil

Planting basil alongside your tomatoes can do wonders. Basil is known to repel insects like mosquitoes and flies, potentially reducing pest problems on your tomatoes. Moreover, it’s often said that basil can improve the flavor of tomatoes, making this pairing not just beneficial for growth but also for your taste buds.

Basil tomatoes companion planting

Carrots and Onions

This pairing is a classic example of how companion planting can deter pests. Onions can help repel carrot flies, which are common pests affecting carrot crops. The strong smell of onions masks the scent of carrots, making it harder for carrot flies to locate their target. Additionally, these root vegetables occupy different soil levels, allowing them to grow together without competing for nutrients.

Carrots and Onions companion planting

Lettuce and Tall Flowers

Lettuce benefits from a bit of shade, especially in warmer climates or seasons. Planting tall flowers near your lettuce can provide the necessary shade to keep the soil cool and moist, conditions that lettuce loves. Flowers such as marigolds not only add beauty to your garden but can also deter pests with their scent, offering protection to your lettuce and other nearby plants.

Lettuce and Tall Flowers companion planting

Beets and Garlic

Planting garlic near beets can help improve the growth and flavor of the beets. Garlic can also deter pests that might otherwise target beets, providing a natural form of pest control.

Beets and Garlic companion planting

Spinach and Strawberries

Spinach and strawberries make good companions in the garden. The spinach can benefit from the shade provided by the strawberry plants, while the strawberries can appreciate the ground cover provided by the spinach, which helps maintain soil moisture and deter weeds.

Spinach and Strawberries companion planting

Corn, Beans, and Squash

Known as the “Three Sisters,” this trio is a classic example of companion planting used by Native American cultures. Corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, beans fix nitrogen in the soil to benefit all three, and squash spreads along the ground, shading it and preventing weed growth.

Corn, Beans, and Squash companion planting

Peas and Carrots

Peas and carrots are another well-matched pair. They fix nitrogen in the soil, which carrots can benefit from. Additionally, planting them together can help maximize the use of space, as peas can be trellised upwards, leaving more room for carrots to spread out below.

Peas and Carrots companion planting

Cucumbers and Radishes

You can plant radishes near cucumbers to help deter cucumber beetles and other pests. The radishes act as a trap crop, attracting pests away from the cucumbers. Additionally, radishes grow quickly and can be harvested before the cucumbers need more space.

Cucumbers and Radishes companion planting

Zucchini and Nasturtium

Nasturtium is a flower that makes a great companion for zucchini and other squash plants. It can repel squash bugs and other pests while also attracting pollinators to the garden. Plus, nasturtiums are edible, adding beauty and variety to your garden.

Zucchini and Nasturtium companion planting

Basil and Cabbage

Basil can help repel pests like whiteflies, moths, and beetles that might target cabbage and other brassicas. People believe the strong scent of basil is to mask the smell of the cabbage, making it harder for pests to find their target.

Basil and Cabbage companion planting

Marigolds and Almost Anything

Marigolds are well-known for their pest-repellent properties and can be planted throughout the garden to deter nematodes, aphids, and other pests. They are particularly beneficial when planted near tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and peppers.

By integrating these plant combinations into your garden, you can harness the benefits of companion planting to create a more resilient, productive, and beautiful garden space.

Marigolds companion planting

What Should You Not Plant Next to Each Other in a Vegetable Garden?

While many plants benefit from being close to certain neighbors, there are also combinations you should avoid in the garden. Some plants can have a detrimental effect on others, whether through competing for resources, attracting the same pests, or through negative chemical interactions. Here are a couple of examples:

Beans and Onions

Beans and onions are not compatible garden companions. Onions, along with other members of the allium family such as garlic and leeks, can inhibit the growth of beans. This is due to the release of certain substances by alliums that beans are sensitive to. Planting these together can result in stunted growth for your bean plants.

what not to plant nex to onions

Tomatoes and Cabbage

Tomatoes and members of the cabbage family, which includes broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, should not be planted close together. These plants can attract the same pests, making it easier for infestations to occur and spread. Additionally, they can compete for nutrients, potentially leaving both plants worse off.

what not to plant nex to tomatoes

Peppers and Beans

Peppers and beans have a contentious relationship in the garden. Beans, which fix nitrogen in the soil, can provide too much nitrogen for peppers, which prefer a more balanced nutrient environment. Excess nitrogen can lead to lush foliage in peppers but with fewer fruits.

what not to plant nex to peppers

Cucumbers and Aromatic Herbs

Cucumbers do not fare well when planted near strong-smelling herbs like sage or basil. These aromatic herbs can negatively affect the growth and flavor of cucumbers. It’s best to keep cucumbers away from potent herbs to ensure they grow healthy and taste as they should.

what not to plant nex to cucumbers

Potatoes and Tomatoes

Both being members of the Solanaceae family, potatoes and tomatoes are susceptible to the same diseases, such as blight. Planting them together can increase the risk of disease spreading from one plant to the other. It’s advisable to keep them separated to minimize disease transmission.

what not to plant nex to potatoes

Carrots and Dill

While carrots can be good companions for some plants, they should not be planted near dill. Dill can attract insects that are beneficial for some plants but detrimental to carrots. Additionally, dill can inhibit carrot growth when planted too closely.

what not to plant nex to dill

Asparagus and Garlic

Garlic and onions can stunt the growth of asparagus. Garlic releases substances into the soil that can be harmful to asparagus, potentially reducing yields or harming the asparagus plants.

By avoiding these incompatible pairings, you can ensure that your garden remains healthy and productive. It’s always a good idea to research and plan your garden layout, considering both the beneficial and detrimental relationships between plants.

what not to plant nex to asparagus

Implementing Companion Planting in Your Garden

To incorporate companion planting into your garden effectively, start by planning your garden layout with compatibility in mind. Here are some strategies to help you get started:

  1. Start Small: If you’re new to companion planting, begin with a few pairs of plants that are known to benefit each other. This approach allows you to observe the results and learn as you go without overwhelming yourself.
  2. Consider Plant Needs: Next, group plants with similar water, light, and soil requirements together. This ensures that one plant’s needs don’t adversely affect another’s growth.
  3. Rotate Crops: Practice crop rotation from year to year to prevent soil depletion and reduce pest and disease buildup. This is especially important in companion planting, where diverse plantings can help break pest and disease cycles.
  4. Use Polycultures: Instead of planting large blocks of a single crop, mix your plantings to create a diverse ecosystem. This can reduce pest problems and improve soil health.
  5. Observe and Adjust: Lastly, pay attention to how your plants are doing and be ready to adjust your planting strategy as needed. Companion planting is as much an art as it is a science, and what works well one year might need tweaking the next.

By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy the benefits of companion planting, creating a more productive, healthy, and balanced garden. Remember, the goal is to create a space where plants support each other, leading to a thriving garden ecosystem.

Final Thoughts

Understanding what grows well together in a vegetable garden can significantly impact your gardening success. Companion planting is a powerful tool that, when used effectively, can enhance plant health, deter pests, and improve yields. By carefully selecting plant companions, you create a balanced ecosystem that supports robust growth and minimizes problems.

Remember, the key to successful companion planting lies in observation and adaptation. What works for one garden might not work for another, and conditions can change from year to year. Experiment with different plant combinations, and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy based on your observations.

Encourage yourself to try companion planting in your garden. Start with a few well-known pairs, observe the results, and expand your plant partnerships over time. With patience and practice, you’ll discover the best combinations that bring out the best in your garden.

Disclaimer: Information in this article without an APA citation comes from our personal knowledge and collective experience. It reflects years of practice and informal discussions, not directly cited from scientific sources. For more information, read our editorial policy.

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Steve Mille

Steve Mille

I'm Steve Mille. Before I retired, I spent my days among trees and plants as a forester. My passion didn't end there. For 40 years, I've volunteered at botanical gardens across the country. I've learned about different climates and the plants that flourish in them. I often visit high schools to teach and talk about gardening. Sharing this passion is something I love. I also contribute to BestoftheGardenState.com, where I get to reach even more people.

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