These plant pairs grow better together.
When it comes to gardening, a little planning can go a long way, saving a lot of time, hassle, and your precious plants in the process. This is especially true of companion gardening, which refers to the pairing of plants that have properties that benefit each other.
“It may be that one plant attracts pollinators or deters insects, while another enhances nutrient intake. Whether you have a large plot or a small raised bed, combining certain fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs will improve your garden’s biodiversity,” explains George Pisegna, the deputy director and chief of horticulture at the Horticultural Society of New York.
From tomatoes and basil to eggplant and spinach (getting hungry yet?), see below for experts’ favorite companion gardening combinations, and learn about more gardening tricks here.
Brassicas and Calendula
Why it works: “Pests, such as aphids, are strongly attracted to the pollen and nectar of the calendula, leaving the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens) food crops alone to thrive,” says Pisegna. Need a little inspiration? Discover crowd-pleasing broccoli recipes the whole family will enjoy.
Tomatoes and Basil
Why it works: “The fragrant scent of the basil has been shown to repel tomato hornworm and certain flies,” notes Pisegna. “You have also planted the perfect combination for a delicious summer salad!” Anyone for caprese skewers?
Melons and Herbs
Why it works: “By allowing your herbs to flower, you will attract more pollinators to the melons, which will help them prosper and taste sweeter,” says Pisegna. Once they’ve bloomed, learn how to increase the shelf-life of your fresh herbs with our foolproof tips.
Potatoes and Marigold
Why it works: “The strong scent of the marigold contains substances that repel the potato beetle, which can cause a good amount of damage to the potato plant otherwise,” says Pisegna. If you’re in the mood for comfort food, you can’t go wrong with these melting potatoes.
Carrots and Radishes
Why it works: This pairing is more about making the most of your garden space than anything else. “Radishes grow in the upper level of the soil, while carrot roots grow deeper. Each plant pulls nutrients from a different level in the soil,” explains Pisegna.
Eggplant and Spinach
Why it works: “The eggplant will grow tall, providing some shade for the spinach. Furthermore, the dense growth of the spinach will help suppress weeds,” notes Pisegna. Find out why eggplant is one of the garden’s best multi-taskers.
Cucumbers and Nasturtiums
Why it works: The trick here is to plant nasturtiums at the base of a trellis for cucumbers. “The peppery scent of the nasturtium flower will help repel the cucumber beetle,” suggests Pisegna. “Otherwise, the beetle can eat new leaf growth that can stunt the plant, along with flowers that will decrease production.”
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