To become a successful organic gardener you need to promote vigorous health in your gardens using various methods; companion planting, composting, mulching, proper watering and using only organic substances; to name a few.
This page will introduce you to companion planting using herbs, vegetables, flowers and even a tree; the willow.
You can help your plants by putting them with neighbors they grow well with. There are also plants that don’t do well together. These pages will help you to grow stronger healthier plants. Strong healthy plants also repel harmful conditions because disease and insects are often drawn to weak plants.
Some plants have substances in their leaves, flowers and roots that attract or repel insects. When you are determined to grow organic it is very important to attract beneficial insects to your garden. For instance, Tachinid flies can destroy squash bug larva. To attract the flies you could plant dill, parsley, fennel or buckwheat, sweet clover, goldenrod, wild carrot or amaranth. Other times repelling a certain insect will be the chosen means of attack. Tansy (fever few), nasturtiums or borage will repel squash bugs.
The following is a guide to help you experiment with what companion plants will work for your area and garden. Also, organic means of control aren’t always 100% effective. The results you are striving for will be a bountiful but healthy harvest, not complete eradication of certain pest.
Alyssum, Sweet - Attracts hover flies which eat aphids.
Anise – Attracts predatory wasps, which prey on aphids and it is also said to repel aphids. Improves growth of any plants growing near it.
Bachelor's Buttons - This plant has a nectar high in sugar content so it is very attractive to hover flies, ladybug, lacewings, and beneficial wasps.
Basil - A good companion with tomatoes; basil improves their flavor and growth and also repels flies and mosquitoes. Keep basil away from Rue.
Bay Leaf - Put a fresh bay leaf in your storage container of beans and grain it will repel weevils and moths. A good mixture to add in your garden would be bay leaves, cayenne pepper, tansy and peppermint for a insecticidal effect.
Beans – Beans will enrich the soil by ‘fixing nitrogen.’ Legumes (beans and peas included) add nitrogen to the soil.
Bee Balm - Plant with tomatoes to improve their growth and flavor.
Beets - Beets add minerals to the soil. Good companions would be lettuce, onions and brassicas.
Borage - Plant with tomatoes, squash and strawberries; repels tomato hornworm. Great for attracting bees and more than 100 beneficial insects. Borage may benefit plants growing with it by increasing resistance to pests and disease. Borage will self-seed.
Brassicas – Brassicas are good neighbors to chamomile, peppermint, dill, sage, and rosemary. Some brassicas are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Buckwheat – Referred to once as, “organic Round Up,” because of it’s quick growth it smothers weeds, even thistle and burdock. Buckwheat accumulates calcium, and attracts bees and hoverflies.
Caraway - if you have hard, compacted soil plant caraway to help loosen it up. Also attracts beneficial insects.
Catnip - Repels flea beetle, aphids, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, ants and weevils. Even mice don’t like to be around it. Mints are invasive, be careful.
Chamomile - Improves the flavor of cabbage and onions. Attracts hoverflies and wasps.
Chervil - Radishes will grow better and increase in flavor when planted with chervil.
Chives - Carrots will grow better and improve in flavor when planted with chives. Repels aphids.
Chrysanthemums – To kill destructive root nematodes (not to be confused with beneficial nematodes) plant C. coccineum type.
Clover – A good cover crop to improve soil. Also attracts beneficial insects. There are many different types of clover, each one with qualities that benefit certain conditions.
Coriander - Repels aphids, spider mites and potato beetles and enhances flavor and growth of many vegetables.
Corn - Produces large amounts of pollen to attract beneficial insects. Sweet corn does well with pumpkins and beans, sometimes referred to as “the three sisters.” Indians grew beans around the corn to climb up the corn stalks and squash on the ground around the corn; with each one benefiting from the presence of the others.
Daisy - Attracts beneficial insects.
Dill - Cabbage will grow better and stronger when planted with dill but don't plant it near your carrots. Reported to help control squash bugs. Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars will eat dill.
Fennel - Attracts beneficial insects that are looking for nectar but can inhibit growth of many plants so plant away from the garden.
Flax - Plant with your potatoes to repel potato bugs.
Four-O’-Clocks – Four-O’-Clocks are will attract Japanese beetles but are deadly to them. People shouldn’t eat them either, watch your little ones around Four-O’-Clocks.
Garlic - Roses benefit from garlic since it repels aphids. Repels Japanese beetles and other insects, good for planting near raspberries.
Golden Marguerite - Attracts ladybugs, lacewings, hover flies, tachinid flies and miniwasps.
Gopher Purge - Gophers and moles don't like the odor. Roots spread about 20 feet.
Horseradish - Plant along with your potatoes to keep away potato bugs. To keep horseradish contained, plant in bottomless pots near the potatoes. Blister Beetles don’t like it either.
Hyssop - Good companion plant to cabbage and grapes because it repels cabbage moths. Don't plant near your radishes though.
Larkspur – Like Four-O’-Clocks, larkspur attracts Japanese Beetles which is also poisonous to them. Larkspur is poisonous to humans.
Lavender – Deters moths, aphids and fleas. Used for ages as sachets to keep moths from clothing.
Leeks - Companion for celery and carrots since it enhances flavor and attracts beneficial insects.
Lemon Balm – From the mint family, which are invasive. Sprinkle around squash plants to deter squash bugs. Rub the leaves on your skin to repel mosquitoes.
Lettuce - Likes to grow with carrots, radishes, beets, broccoli, cabbage, onions and cucumbers. Planting amongst corn will give shade to the lettuce during the hotter months.
Lovage - Good to grow with most plants since it improves their health and flavor; also attracts beneficial insects.
Marigolds - Plant among your tomatoes to ward off nematodes. Plant those with a strong scent. Cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, gourds) will benefit from marigolds planted around them to fight off squash vine borer and cucumber beetle. Seed heads scattered around them help also. Beans and cabbage do not grow well around marigolds.
Marjoram - Improves the flavor and increases vigor of all vegetables.
Mint - Repels white cabbage moth and ants. Also improves the health of cabbage and tomatoes. Helps in controlling ants, rodents, flea beetle, and aphids. All mints are very invasive.
Nasturtium – Helps control squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and whiteflies. Use as a trap crop for aphids. Tasty in salads.
Nettles, Stinging – Spray a “tea” of stinging nettles as an insect control. Soak 4” of nettles in water, strain and spray. “Tea” improves health of the plants that are sprayed.
Onions - Repels carrot flies
Ornamental Grasses - Clump forming grasses provide shelter in all seasons for beneficial insects. Studies have shown dramatic increases in numbers where these grasses are growing.
Parsley – Use as a “tea” for repelling asparagus beetles. Parsley gone to seed will attract parasitic wasps, which are very beneficial.
Pennyroyal – Deters fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies and chiggers; rub the leaves on your skin.
Peppermint - Deters white cabbage moth, aphids, flea beetles and squash bugs. Mints are invasive, be careful when introducing into your garden. A better method for use would be to grow in another location, cut stems and leaves then sprinkle around area you want it's repellent effect.
Peppers, Hot – The roots of hot peppers help prevent root rot and fusarium diseases. “Tea” from hot peppers helps repel insects.
Petunia – This pretty flower is also beneficial in controlling asparagus beetle, leafhoppers, certain aphids, tomato worms, and Mexican bean beetles.
Radish - Repels cucumber beetles so plant with cucumbers and squash.
Rosemary - Companion plant to beans, cabbage, carrots and sage. Repels cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot flies.
Rue - Repels Japanese beetles in roses and raspberries.
Sage - Companion plant for broccoli, cauliflower, rosemary, cabbage and carrots. Deters cabbage moth, beetles and carrot flies. Keep away from the cucumbers though.
Summer Savory - Plant with beans and onions to improve their flavor and growth. It deters cabbage moth and bean beetles.
Tansy - Plant with fruit trees, roses and raspberries and cucurbits. It deters Japanese beetles, stripped cucumber beetle, squash bugs and ants. Tie a bunch up and hang as a fly repellent. Tansy can become invasive; be careful about letting it go to seed. Do Not plant anywhere that livestock feed, can be toxic to them.
Tarragon – Repels many pests, use generously around your garden.
Thyme - Repels cabbage worms, carrot flies and attracts beneficial insects.
Tomatoes grow well with basil or parsley or carrots.
Willow - Willow (including pussy willow) are valuable because they produce pollen early in the spring for provision for beneficial insects.
Wormwood (Artemisia) - When planted as a border it helps keep animals and many bugs out of the garden. Can improve flavor and enhance growth of plants.
Yarrow - Attracts beneficial insects.
Zucchini gets along with beans or radishes.
UNHAPPY NEIGHBORS: Often space is limited in your garden; try your best to keep these away from each other.
Beans don't mix well with Garlic and Onions (Will inhibit plant growth)
Beets and Pole Beans (Will inhibit plant growth)
Carrots and Dill (Will inhibit plant growth)
Corn and Tomatoes don't mix well. The tomatoes may attract worms that feed on corn.
Cucumber and Sage (Will inhibit plant growth)
Peas don’t get along with Garlic and Onions (Will inhibit plant growth)
Potatoes and Pumpkins (Will inhibit plant growth)
Potatoes and Tomatoes can be attacked by the same blights so don't plant together.
Squash and Potatoes (Will inhibit plant growth)
Tomatoes and Potatoes can be attacked by the same blights so don't plant together.
Turnips and Potatoes (Will inhibit plant growth)
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