Just like humans, vegetables also have friends and foes. Some families stimulate or protect each other. Other families tire each other out and make each other vulnerable. Companion planting is the art of pairing them well!
Positioning vegetables in the garden should not be random. There is a set of rules to follow so that vegetables that might disturb each other are not planted close together.
As an added benefit, some vegetables do better when they are planted together.
Major vegetable families
In a vegetable patch, there are several different families of vegetables. The main ones are:
- Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (carrot, parsley or celery family) – carrot, celery, chervil, fennel, parsley, etc.
Certain families are good neighbors to each other, while in other cases they can’t bear each other’s presence.
Plant families that get along well – Apiaceae, Brassicacaea and the legume family.
Plant families that don’t get along well – Liliaceae, nightshade family (the Solanaceae group) and the legume family.
These three families really are angry at each other, even though we don’t quite know why. It may be due to volatile compounds (called phytoncides) that they spread to protect themselves from parasites and communicate with each other. Since inter-plant language study is barely beginning, these are only still hypothesis…
For instance, when some cabbages are attacked by Pieris brassicae, nearby plants start boosting their immune system just in case!
Here are the right pairings for companion planting for vegetables
To place your green guests well around the vegetable bed, here are a few plans to tuck them in:
Eggplant – bean
Pierrick Le Jardinier
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Raised garden beds with companion planting by JR P under © CC BY-NC 2.0
Companion plants all grown together by Brian Boucheron under © CC BY 2.0