Companion plants have been used throughout the ages as a way to control garden pests. Ecologically, companion planting is a holistic concept because of the intricate levels in which it works. Nature integrates a diversity of plants, insects, animals, and other organisms into every ecosystem to prevent waste. By dying, one organism creates food for another (symbiotic relationships).
Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose for an enjoyable, healthy environment. These plants aid in balancing ecosystems by allowing nature do her job; many plants contain natural substances that can alternately repel or attract insects depending on what is needed. Some plants even help to enhance the growth rate and flavor of other plants. Therefore, companion planting throughout the landscape is an important part organic pest management.
Gardeners find that by using companion plants, they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies. There are many varieties of plants (herbs, flowers, etc.) that can be used in companion planting. Experimenting helps in finding what works best. Certain plants can are used as borders, backdrops or interplanting in the flower or vegetable beds to meet specific needs. Plants that are native to an area are a wise choice for they attract desirable insects. Plants with open cup-shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects
Plant carrots with with tomatoes while the plants are still small (so that they don’t compete). The carrots will be ready for harvest before the tomato plants grow tall.
- Members of the Allium genus: onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallotts, and scallions, make good companion plants because they emit a pungent, pest-deterring odor.
- Nasturtiums keep whiteflies and aphids away.
- Borage deters tomato hornworm.
- Tomato plants:
o work well with asparagus because they repel asparagus beetles; asparagus grows early in the season, and tomato plants fill in after the asparagus has been harvested.
o when grown with basil the vigor and flavor of both crops increase.
o are good neighbors to spinach, lettuce, and arugula because these are small and grow are shaded from the summer heat by the tomato plants.
- Marigolds: The pungent odor of marigolds confuses insects that attack tomato plants and deters harmful nematodes. To deter nematodes, chop and till the marigolds into the soil at the end of the season.
The following crops should never be planted with tomatoes
- Potatoes: Planting thesetogether, makes the potatoes more susceptible to potato blight.
- Corn:Tomato fruit worm and corn-ear worm are almost identical. Therefore, planting corm with tomatoes increases the possibility of attracting one or both of the pests.
- Brassicas:Tomatoes and all members of the Brassicaceae family repel one another, so growth is slow and poor when they are planted together.
- Fennel and Kohlrabi inhibit the growth of tomato plants.
Plants that help beans
· Summer Savory: Helps repel bean beetles and improves the flavor and overall growth of bean plants.
Plants Helped by Beans
Beans are great “helper” plants in the garden because they fix nitrogen in the soil. They the following vegetables derive high benefit from being planted with beans:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
Plants to Avoid Planting with Beans
Do not plant beans near any members of the allium family (onions, leeks, garlic, scallions), because members of that family inhibit growth in beans.
Companions for roses
The following are tips for beautifying with companion plants from Landscape with Roses by Jeff Cox.
- Blue woodruff: Self-sowing annual that blooms in May and June with fluffy, lavender-blue flowers. It tolerates quite a bit of shade, and the flowers attract butterflies.
- Campanula: Easy to grow bell flowers that bloom the first year from seed. Also a good companion for Digitalis lutea and Dianthus carthusianorum.
- Nepeta ‘Blue Infinity’: Attracts beneficial insects. It also self sows, so give it room to spread. Hardy in zones 3-9.
- Penstemon strictus: Relatively easy to grow, and it attracts hummingbirds and beneficial insects.
- Salvia x superba ‘Violet Queen’: This excellent perennial blooms in early summer with spikes of dark violet flowers that attract butterflies.
- Lychnis chalcedonica Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica): Maltese cross blooms in June with glowing, scarlet-red flowers that attract hummingbirds.
- Penstemon ‘Iron Maiden’ Penstemon barbatus ‘Iron Maiden’: This is one of the best penstemons for attracting hummingbirds. The tall spikes of scarlet-red flowers start blooming in early summer and continue for many weeks.
Landscape with Roses by Jeff Cox
Table of companion plants can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants
List of beneficial weeds at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_beneficial_weeds
Growing Organic Tomatoes in a Container – How to Grow Organic Tomatoes in a C…
Ten Tasty Heirloom Tomatoes
Identifying and Controlling Blossom End Rot