When it comes to companion plants, what you plant where in your vegetable garden can have a big impact on its overall success!

As you plan out your garden layout, it’s important to take into consideration the relationships that plants have when grown beside each other.

The key is in knowing which are beneficial, and which can actually be detrimental.

companion plants
Marigolds are one of the best companion plants in the garden.

Companion plants are not a new concept at all. In fact, they have been around for centuries.  One of the most widely known companion plantings of all time is called the Three Sisters.

It’s origin dates to the Iroquois, and is the practice of planting of corn, beans and squash together. The Iroquois knew the trio grew in perfect harmony – and used the planting method as a way to increase yields.

The beans fix the nitrogen in the soil, which corn needs and uses to thrive. The corn then provides a natural trellis system for the beans to grow on.

Vice-versa, the bean vines provide extra strength to the corn stalks to prevent them from blowing over in the wind. All the while, the squash act as a living mulch on the soil.

They help to hold in moisture and repel weeds. They also make it hard for animals like raccoon to find their way to get at the corn. It’s a beautiful perfect example of companion plants working in perfect harmony!

The Good

Like the Three Sisters example, many plants benefit from the nutrients provided to the soil from their companion plants.  

Other plants provide support or shade for a different variety grown in close proximity, like leaf lettuce grown around tomatoes. 

Other plants benefit because companion plants help keep pests away.  Nasturtiums and Marigolds are great for helping to repel and eliminate a whole host of pests.

Many gardeners use them as a border plant around the vegetable garden. It provides beauty and protection!

The Bad

Some plants can work the other way, and hurt the growth of nearby vegetable plants.  A great example of this are cucumbers.

Cucumbers are never a good choice to plant beside tomatoes or potatoes. They simply do not like being next to the Nightshade family of plants.

For one, both tomatoes and potatoes can bring in the pests that love to attack cucumber vines. Beans on the other hand do not do well around onions or garlic.

Companion Plants In The Vegetable Garden – The Basics

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Keep potatoes away from tomatoes and cucumbers. Another advantage of growing potatoes in crates.

So with that said, what you plant where really can matter! There are all kinds of guides available when it comes to companion plants, but here are few of the basic ones to consider when planting your garden.

If you want more on the subject, here are two great reads : Companion Planting: The Beginner’s Guide to Companion Gardening  – and –  The Complete Guide to Companion Planting

Tomatoes :   Tomatoes do well when planted around cabbage, carrots, basil and onion and garlic.  But keep them away from potatoes and cucumbers. In addition, do not plant near the root zone of walnut trees

Peppers :  Peppers do well with tomatoes, cabbage, carrots and onions – Avoid planting near potatoes.

Cucumbers : Plant near beans, corn and radishes.  The corn works really well as it provides some shade protection for the cucumbers and allows for the vines to grow up and have support.  Avoid planting cucumbers around potatoes – they can encourage blight in potato crop

Potatoes : Plant near beans, cabbage, corn, peas, squash and eggplant.  Avoid cucumbers, pumpkins, peppers and tomatoes

Peas : Plant peas with corn , carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes and turnips.   Avoid planting with Onions, Garlic and Shallots

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Onions and cabbage do well together!

Beans : Plant near corn, cucumbers, potatoes  and cabbage.  Corn is the best  – the two really help each other.  Avoid planting beans near garlic, onions or shallots.

Broccoli :  Plant near beans, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.  Avoid planting near peppers and tomatoes.

Garlic :  Plant Garlic near tomatoes and cabbage.  Avoid planting near peas and beans

Onions : Plant near: beets, cabbage, carrots, and lettuce.  Avoid planting near beans and peas

Happy Planting! – Jim & Mary.

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Companion Plants In The Garden – What You Plant Where Matters!