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:
- Solenaceae or nightshade family – eggplant, chili, bell pepper, tomato, potato, etc.
- Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (carrot, parsley or celery family) – carrot, celery, chervil, fennel, parsley, etc.
- Legume family – broad bean, bean, lentil, pea, 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:
Garlic – red beet, carrot, strawberry plant, lettuce, tomato
Asparagus – cucumber/pickle, bean, parsley, leek, tomato
Eggplant – bean
Red beet – garlic, spinach, bean, lettuce
Carrot – garlic, dill, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, onion, leek, pea, tomato
Celery – garlic, cabbage, bean, onion, leek, tomato
Cabbage – carrot, celery, cucumber/pickle, bean, pea, savory, tomato
Cucumber – basil, cabbage, bean, lettuce, French marigold, onion, pea
Pickle – basil, cabbage, bean, lettuce, French marigold, onion, pea
Spinach – red beet, carrot, cabbage, strawberry, bean, turnip, leek, radish, tomato
Beans – eggplant, red beet, carrot, celery, cabbage, cucumber/pickle, spinach, strawberry plant, lettuce, carrot, potato
Lettuce – red beet, carrot, chervil, cabbage, cucumber/pickle, strawberry plant, bean, radish
Cantaloupe – nasturtium, bean, lettuce, pea
Turnips – spinach, fennel, pea
Onion – red beet, carrot, cucumbers/pickle, strawberry plant, lettuce, tomato
Leek – asparagus, carrot, celery, spinach, strawberry plant, lettuce, tomato
Peas – carrot, celery, cabbage, cucumber/pickle, turnip, potato, radish
Radish – carrot, spinach, lettuce, bean, peas, tomato
Tomato – garlic, asparagus, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, leek
Pierrick Le Jardinier
CC BY 2.0: Brian Boucheron
CC BY-NC 2.0: JR P
This is the most beautiful raised bed I’ve seen – and I’ve looked at thousand’s of different, creative raised beds. The best part is that I have tons of reclaimed beams I didn’t know what to do with. Now that I’ve seen them used in the garden, I’m going to try and replicate these beds. Stunning!