Companion plants can be good for helping to increase the yield of another plant or also to help deter pests. I’m going to write about over my top five companion plants and explain why.
Top 1: Peas
So the first in my top five would be beans and peas. My tomatoes plant and down inside and I have some pea plants that are growing, and they are the climbing variety. So beans and peas actually have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. And then in addition to that, once they are dead and gone, their remains, so for example, their roots and their plant tops, their leaves and all that if you just work them back into the soil, they’ll actually provide good fertilizer, good nitrogen source to the plants next to them.
So certain types of plants do require extra nitrogen in order to grow successfully. These plants include your green varieties such as Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, spinach, those types of plants you’re actually going to be consuming like the green parts. As you know, nitrogen actually contributes to the green growth of the plant. And so top plants that I recommend companion planting for beans and peas would be like those varieties.
Top 2: Alliums family
So my second most favorite companion plant would be those of the alliums family. Now, the alliums family is a special family of plants which include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, and others. These types of plants are great because they repel or distract many pests including rabbits, cabbage, worms and maggots, aphids, Japanese beetles. So because they are really good at deterring those types of pests, they’re particularly compatible with brassicas. Brassicas include all members of the cabbage family, for example, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, obviously.
So in addition to that, they’re very limited in the amount of space they take up. So you can definitely double down your space by adding these onions to some of the pots in your container garden, in your patio garden. They’re also compatible with tomatoes, carrots, and celery. And here I have them planted with some peppers.
Top 3: Marigold
So the third companion plant that gets me very excited is marigold. Now, marigolds are known as the wonder drug of companion planting world. French marigolds, in particular, produce a pesticide chemical from their roots which lasts for years after the plant is gone. They’re effective against nematodes, beetles, leafhoppers, cucumbers and squash bugs.
So you’d want to companion plant these again with brassicas and also with cucurbits. Cucurbits would be your cucumbers and your squash and your melons, basically that family of vegetables. I have some marigolds started that I showed you with my vertical planter. I just have them started in the top. And what I like to do is just kind of start these in areas where I have a small amount of space to seed start and then move them to sections of the garden. Even just in like dollar store planters. Sometimes I just put them in like a small dollar store planner and just move them around the garden to help keep the pests at bay. So this is one of my secret weapons in the patio garden.
Top 4: Herbs
Number four on my top five companion plants would be herbs such as basil and rosemary and thyme and sage. These, although I don’t write them here as a companion plant, I have it in one of the special vertical garden planters that I built this. These are actually said to enhance the flavor of tomatoes and to help repel hornworms, mosquitoes and flies. So for that reason, these varieties of herbs like basil, rosemary and thyme, as I said, I do recommend planting them at the base of your tomato plants. And then that also helps maximize the space, again, because you get a few extra spots where you’ve got those herbs growing. But in addition, it’ll help the mother plans or the normal container plant that it’s growing with.
Top 5: Radishes
So number five on my top five companion plants list would be radishes. So for radishes, there are two reasons why I like to companion plant them. Number one, I like to plant them with plants that are going to grow tall or are slow growing varieties. The point that I’m trying to make here is that, for example, I have these radishes planted with an eggplant. Eggplants tend to grow very slowly in the beginning of the season, especially like in the spring months when the season is cool because eggplants require a lot of heat to grow and they begin to grow very quickly when the weather gets hot.
But in the first few weeks or month or so, they’re very slow growing. And so I like to plant radishes with them. So the radishes since they’re very fast growing, you can get a harvest before the eggplant actually gets to grow big. So in addition to that, the eggplant does grow tall and it doesn’t have a lot of leaves down by its base to shade the soil that it’s growing in. So that’s another reason that radishes work really well with this type of plant. As you can get added harvests per space if you want to think of it that way. Right.
So I like it to plant radishes with varieties like slow growing eggplant or actually they really work well with peppers, which are the same circumstance, slow growing in the beginning of the season and then fast growing in the summer heat and not a lot of leaves to shade the soil that surrounds it. They’re also said to be good for squash plants, so they prevent infestation of squash borers. Radishes are said to help prevent squash borers which are basically like these bugs that will attack the vines of your squash plant and they’ll bore into the vine and basically nest there and kill the squash plant.
I don’t have an example today, but last year I did a lot of plant companion planting of radishes with squash plants and I in fact had no squash bores. So I’d like to think that I can attribute that success to the radish companion plants. I have got quite a bit of experience and a lot of information to share so you can stay tuned for more.