photo by Canva

Veggie Matchmaking: The Art of Companion Planting

May 21, 2024

by brittany schimke

Did you know that vegetables have best friends too? That’s right! Just like us, veggies have their own BFFs in the garden. As you gear up for planting season and head to your local hardware store or nursery, keep this in mind: companion planting! Pairing up your favorite veggies with their ideal companions not only helps them thrive but also reduces the need for chemicals. Here are some of the best vegetable pairings that will make your garden flourish.

Tomato + Basil: Not only do these two taste delicious when eaten together but they thrive when planted next to each other. Basil’s strong scent wards off harmful insects, keeping your tomatoes safe. Plus, as tomatoes grow tall, basil covers the ground, helping to retain moisture. There’s even an old wives’ tale that basil enhances the flavor of tomatoes. Delicious and functional!

Corn + Peas: Corn is a fast-growing tall plant that makes the perfect trellis for peas to climb and grow up. Peas also enjoy a large amount of shade. The corn shades the peas so they can thrive. Peas are also a nitrogen fixer, which the corn will thrive off of. This combo reduces the need for extra fertilizer. Talk about teamwork!

Strawberries + Spinach: The sweet little white strawberry flowers attract many different pollinators. These pollinators are great for the spinach growth. Meanwhile, spinach helps conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds. Together, they create a symbiotic relationship that helps your garden thrive.

Peppers + Cilantro: Peppers and cilantro make a spicy, aromatic team. Cilantro attracts beneficial insects to the garden, while peppers provide the shade cilantro loves. This duo not only looks good but also works together to boost your garden’s health.

Zucchini + Marigolds: Zucchini needs pollinators for its flowers to produce squash, and marigolds are here to help! Marigolds attract pollinators and repel pests like squash bugs, which can damage your zucchini crop. 

Carrots + Green Onion: Carrots and green onions are a power pair in pest control. The strong smell of green onions repels carrot flies, preventing them from laying eggs on carrot leaves. This keeps your carrots safe and growing strong.

Squash + Zinnia Flowers: Squash and Zinnias make a colorful and productive partnership. Zinnias’ vibrant, nectar-filled flowers attract bees and butterflies, essential pollinators for your squash. More pollinators mean more squash!

Lettuce + Chives: Chives’ pungent aroma deters aphids and other harmful insects that can damage lettuce. This makes them perfect companions for a healthy, thriving garden. 

Broccoli + Celery:

Broccoli & Celery | photo by Brittany Schimke

Broccoli and celery are perfect partners in cooler weather. Broccoli’s shade enhances the flavor of celery, while both thrive in similar conditions. Together, they create a harmonious and flavorful garden bed.

Already Planted? No Problem!

If you’ve already planted your garden and missed out on companion planting, don’t worry! Sprinkle in some herbs and pollinator-attracting flowers like marigolds and zinnias. Herbs’ strong scents will deter unwanted insects, reducing the need for pesticides. Marigolds are particularly good at repelling aphids, those annoying bugs that trouble many gardeners. And zinnias? They’re hardy, easy to grow, and stunning to look at. Plus, they attract essential pollinators, crucial for a bountiful harvest.

Happy planting, and may your garden be as fruitful as your friendships!

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