To increase your crop productivity
Planting tips for pest control, pollination, and providing habitat for beneficial insects.
Since most companions must be planted very near each other in order to have any effect on each other, companion planting is especially well-adapted to small gardens where plants are grown in close proximity and space is at a premium. Gardens that use raised beds, wide rows, or intensive square foot gardening methods make natural candidates for companion planting. It is also a natural ally for organic gardeners, since much companion planting is designed to control pests.
All heirloom garden seeds — not the sort you’ll find in box stores — offered by Chai Family Foundation are non-treated, non-GMO Planting instructions are included with each packet.
Where a conventional vegetable garden creates a series of small monocultures (all the lettuce is grown together over here, all the tomatoes there, and never the twain shall meet), companion planting encourages a carefully planned and densely planted mix to take advantage of the many possible relationships mentioned above. The mix alone tends to repel many flying insect pests, which actually get confused and give up if they don’t find what they’re looking for soon enough.
If the long lists of compatible vegetables at various sites online leave you dizzy, you can instead focus on a couple of basic principles and keep in mind a much shorter list of Don’ts. The principles follow quite directly from the discussion above:
- Plant short, shade-tolerant plants beneath taller, bushy plants.
- When you mix sun-loving plants, put tall ones at the north end of the plot and small ones at the south end, so all will get needed sun.
- Plant herbs throughout the garden, especially basil, mint, sage, and dill. EXCEPTION: Keep dill away from carrots.
- Plant cosmos and French or Mexican marigold here and there in and near the garden to repel pests and encourage beneficial that prey on them.
- Do the same with chives, garlic, or onions EXCEPT near or amongst beans.
- Exploit the different maturation rates of different crops: plant lettuce, cilantro, spinach, or chard early where you plan to set out squash and melons later, so that weeds don’t have a chance to move in, and you get two crops instead of just one.
Here are the Don’ts:
- Don’t mix dill with tomatoes or with carrots.
- Don’t plant garlic, onions, or chives with beans.
- Fennel does not mix well with most other plants; keep it in its own corner.