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Best Companion Plants for your Veggie Garden

Here in Edmonton we're told not to get too anxious and start your outside garden before May long weekend because it could snow and there is a decent chance it just might! Elsewhere in warmer climates you can start before then, or just start your inside garden early then it'll be ready to plant outside come May long.

When you start to plan your garden and think about what you'd like to grow this year, it is important to keep in mind you want to build strong plant communities. Certain plants grown close to each other can actually help one another out. This is a great way to maximize the efficiency of your garden as they can help increase the nutrients in the soil, fend off pests or provide some other benefit.

Below I have provided my top 10 vegetables/herb that I like to grow and their companion plants as well as plants best not to plant near by.

1. Lettuce

Chives and garlic are good companion plants as they tend to repel aphids or you could plant mint among the lettuce to keep away slugs that eat the leaves. Beets, beans, carrots and broccoli are also suitable companion plants. Don't plant parsley near lettuce as it could crowd the lettuce.

2. Tomatoes

Generally basil as a rule of thumb goes well with tomatoes. Basil will also add flavor to your tomatoes when planted side by side. Basil helps tomatoes produce greater yields and it repels both flies and mosquitoes. I like to have a little planter kind of near the patio of these two. Other friendly plants to tomatoes include carrots, asparagus, celery, the onion family, lettuce, parsley, and spinach. Don't plant cabbage, beets, peas, fennel, dill, or rosemary near tomatoes.

3. Cucumber

Cucumbers have quite a few suitable companion plants such as asparagus, beans or peas, Brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, turnip), celery, corn, dill, lettuce, onion, radish, and tomatoes. To repel aphids and beetles, plant marigolds among your cucumbers. Don't plant aromatic herbs such as sage which can stunt their growth.

4. Carrots

Generally it's a good idea to keep some space between root crops as they can compete for nutrients in the ground like phosphorus. Carrot's can also be somewhat heat sensitive so planting them next to tomatoes can provide them some shade, both benefit from each other. Chives can improve growth and flavor of carrots. Other good companion plants include leeks, beans, Brassicas, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, rosemary and sage. Don't plant coriander or dill near carrots.

5. Radishes

Radishes are good to be planted near cucumber as they can attract cucumber beetles away from the cucumbers. Other good companion plants include onions, beans, beets, cellery, cabbage, kale, lettuce, mint, spinach, and squash. Don't plant hyssop near radishes.

6. Peppers

Planting basil next to peppers helps repel aphids, spider mites, mosquitoes, and flies. Basil can also improve the peppers flavor, basil is the best! Other good plant companions include asparagus, carrots, cucumbers, rosemary, squash, and tomatoes. Don't plant beans, Brassicas, or fennel.

7. Beets

Beets can be planted near bush beans, Brassicas, cabbage, corn, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onion and mint. Don't plant beets near pole beans. Also beet greens and scraps are very good for the compost! returning important nutrients like manganese and iron back to the soil via the composting process.

8. Green beans

Generally corn is good to grow near beans because beans will grow up the cornstalks, which means you won’t have to build them a trellis. Beans also fix nitrogen in the soil, which is good for the corn. Marigolds and rosemary repel bean beetles, and summer savory improves growth rate and flavor. Other good companion plants include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage along with cucumbers, peas, potatoes, and radishes. Don't plant beets or anything from the onion family near green beans. Onions, in particular, impede the growth of bean plants.

9. Zucchini/squash

Corn is a good companion plant for zucchini and squash since the cornstalks give squash vines a place to grow. Zucchini and Squash also do well planted alongside beans, peas, radishes, dill, and marigolds. Don't plant potatoes, as both plants are prone to blight.

10. Cilantro

As usual basil is a good companion plant near cilantro or mint or yarrow. Cilantro is generally a bit of a cool season herb; however, it does well if it is shaded a bit by tomato plants. Cilantro also helps repel aphids, potato beetles, and spider mites!

I hope this post helps you plan your garden for this summer. I would love for you to send me photos of your garden if you found this helpful in any way!

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