Planting Suggestions – Are they friend or foe?

Here is some basic planting advice from The Old Farmers Almanac. Remember the left side is all friends- to the right is the Foe of these plants.!

Plant Companions: Friend or Foe?

Plant companions ensure a happy garden–and gardener.

by George and Becky Lohmiller

Source: The 2005 Old Farmer’s Almanac

It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Plants have to grow well with one another. Some are friends and some are foes! Learn more about companion planting or what is also called companion gardening.

Examples of Companion Plants

  • Blueberries, mountain laurel, azaleas, and other ericaceous (heath family) plants thrive in the acidic soils created by pines and oaks.
  • Shade-loving plants seek the shelter provided by a wooded grove.
  • The shade-lovers in return protect the forest floor from erosion with their thick tangle of shallow roots.
  • Legumes and some trees, such as alders, have symbiotic relationships with bacteria in the soil that help them to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it to fertilizer, enriching the soil so plants can prosper in their presence.

Tips for Your Vegetable Garden

  • Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.
  • Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
  • Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.
  • Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.
  • Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes — praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders — that dine on insect pests.
  • Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
  • Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn
  • Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.

Incompatible Plants (Combatants)

  • While white garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence.
  • Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don’t like each other at all.

Strange Pairings

Sometimes plants may be helpful to one another only at a certain stage of their growth. The number and ratio of different plants growing together is often a factor in their compatibility, and sometimes plants make good companions for no apparent reason.

  • You would assume that keeping a garden weed-free would be a good thing, but this is not always the case. Certain weeds pull nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them close to the surface. When the weeds die and decompose, nutrients become available in the surface soil and are more easily accessed by shallow-rooted plants.
  • Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of strange garden bedfellows is the relationship between the weed stinging nettle and several vegetable varieties. For reasons that are unclear, plants grown in the presence of stinging nettle display exceptional vigor and resist spoiling.

One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combinations and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends. Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.

Plant Companions: List for Ten Common Vegetables

Here is a list of friends and foes for ten common vegetables. We’d suggest separating foes and friends on opposite sides of the garden or at least 4 feet away.

FRIEND FOE FRIEND FOE FRIEND FOE
BEANS CORN ONIONS
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Squash
Strawberries
Summer
savory
Tomatoes
Garlic
Onions
Peppers
Sunflowers
Beans
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Melons
Peas
Potatoes
Squash
Sunflowers
Tomatoes Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Lettuce
Peppers
Potatoes
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Peas
Sage
CUCUMBERS PEPPERS
Beans
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Lettuce
Peas
Radishes
Sunflowers
Aromatic
herbs
Melons
Potatoes
Basil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Kohlrabi
CABBAGE LETTUCE RADISHES
Beans
Celery
Cucumbers
Dill
Kale
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Sage
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Asparagus
Beets
Brussels
sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Onions
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
Broccoli Basil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Kohlrabi
CARROTS TOMATOES
Beans
Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Radishes
Rosemary
Sage
Tomatoes
Anise
Dill
Parsley
Asparagus
Basil
Beans
Borage
Carrots
Celery
Dill
Lettuce
Melons
Onions
Parsley
Peppers
Radishes
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Brussels
sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Kale
Potatoes
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