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One of the best kept secrets in the gardening community is what we call ‘companion planting’.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a growing strategy whereby gardeners group together plant varieties that “like” or complement each other.
This method has many benefits. According to growers at Heeman’s Garden Centers, companion planting provides:
Crop protection - hardier varieties planted with delicate ones provide a natural defense against intense weather conditions.
Natural risk reduction - if you lose a delicate crop to unforeseen circumstances, you are not left empty-handed. Companion planting naturally increased yields, thereby mitigating overall losses.
Natural pest control - this strategy encourages beneficial insects to visit your crops where they provide pollination and reduce invasive pest problems.
Trap cropping - companion planting in many cases means planting one variety that beneficial insects love against another variety that invaders dislike.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac adds that companion planting provides shade protection (taller varieties shelter shorter ones), weed suppression (sprawling crops protect upright plants), healthier soil, and support for tall plants (when growing with lower-and-sprawling varieties).
Popular Companion Combinations
Companion planting is a simple concept that results in naturally healthier crops. As a general rule, pungent herbs like sage and basil act as incredible pest repellants, but there are also some specific combos of plant varieties every budding gardener should know.
Here are the most popular companion combinations you can use in your spring garden to get better results:
Asparagus + tomatoes to prevent both tomato-attacking nematodes and asparagus beetles
Basil + tomatoes to increase flavour
Chives + carrots to increase flavour
Tomatoes + dill and basil to prevent tomato hornworms
Cabbage + sage to prevent cabbage moths
Corn + spinach and other leafy greens for shade purposes
Apple trees + lavender to prevent codling moths
Broccoli + lettuce to increase both crop yields
Garlic + roses to prevent aphids
Leeks + carrots to prevent carrot rust flies
Additionally, it’s recommended to plant marigold and borage (both of which are edible and beautiful flowers). These two are the social butterflies of the gardening world—they complement almost every crop by reducing pests and attracting necessary pollinators.