Companion Planting 101 – Tips

by heather

Well, there they are, in all their delicate beauty: my first sprouts.014

What are they?

I’m sad to say I’m not sure. I know they’re herbs of some kind, but I used egg crates and didn’t have a good way to label them (and then I forgot what I planted!).

It’s definitely going to be an adventure as everything starts getting bigger. But I’ve got a lot starting to grow right now, everything from oregano to basil to pole beans and cucumbers. And, I’ll be planting more tonight!

I wanted to write a quick post today about companion planting. I know it’s a bit early, since most of you are probably still starting seeds indoors too. But, soon it will be time to start planting our little beauties outdoors. And when we do, we can pair our herbs, flowers and vegetables together so that they both thrive.

Companion planting goes back centuries. Basically, it’s simple organic gardening. Companion planting means that you strategically plant certain herbs and vegetables together to benefit them both. You can do everything from improve the flavor of a vegetable to repel pests, simply by planting some plants near each other.

Companion Planting 101

Here’s a quick list to get you started:

Basil- Plant with tomatoes to improve growth/ flavor and to repel flies and mosquitoes. Don’t plant near Rue.

Bay Leaf- A fresh bay leaf in each storage container of beans or grains will deter weevils and moths.

Bee Balm- Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor.

Borage- Companion plant for tomatoes, squash and strawberries. Deters tomato worms.
I plant tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets, and plant Borage  in the TOP of the buckets. It works. I add basil too…

Caraway- Good for loosening compacted soil.

Catnip- Deters flea beetles.

Chamomile– Improves flavor of cabbages and onions.

Chervil– Companion to radishes for improved growth and flavor.

Chives– Improves growth and flavor of carrots. Do this for SURE! 🙂

Dill– Improves growth and health of cabbage. Do not plant near carrots.

Garlic– Plant near roses to repel aphids.

Gopher Purge– Deters gophers and moles.

Horseradish– Plant in potato patch to keep away potato bugs.

Hyssop– Companion plant to cabbage and grapes, deters cabbage moths. Do not plant near radishes.

Marjoram– Improves flavor of all vegetables. It DOES.

Mint– Deters white cabbage moths, and improves the health of cabbages and tomatoes.

Rosemary– Companion plant to cabbage, beans, carrots, and sage. Deters cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies.

Rue– Deters Japanese beetles in roses and raspberries.

Sage– Companion plant with rosemary, cabbage, and carrots to deter cabbage moths, beetles, and carrot flies.



Tansy– Plant with fruit trees, roses, and raspberries. Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and ants.

Thyme– Deters cabbage worms.

Wormwood– Keeps animals out of the garden when planted as a border.

More Companion Planting Resources

You can find a wonderful chart of companion planting combinations by visiting the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. All you do is choose your state, and you’ll get a wonderfully comprehensive list of combinations you can use in your garden.

The only thing I don’t like about this list is that they don’t tell you why these combinations are beneficial (or not). You just get the list. But, it’s still helpful!

There’s another incredibly comprehensive chart at Gardens Ablaze that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Last Word…

I’m super excited to tell all of you about my spring garden! Thanks to the help of my friend Alex over at Renaissance Ronin, we’ve come up with an amazing way for me to grow a vertical garden in my super teeny tiny backyard.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell: I’m going to be planting several climbing plants (like tomatoes, cukes, and pole beans) in milk crates. I’m going to assemble an “invisible” grid  that hangs from my roof overhang, and goes down to the ground. The grid will be made of heavy wood poles (on the sides for support) and 100 lb. fishing line (in the middle, forming the “grid”).

As the plants grow and wind their way up and around the fishing line, they’re going to be creating a green, growing wall against my house.

This “garden wall” will be designed to go around my back door, and my kitchen windows.

I know it may be hard to picture from that description. But just imagine a wall of vegetables on the side of a house. That’s basically going to be my garden.

As soon as I get it built this spring I’ll be writing a post about it!

Once I get it constructed, however, I’m definitely going to be companion planting my garden. It just makes sense!

If any of you have any companion planting tips, or know of some good resources, I’d love to hear about them!

{ 1 trackback }

Fresh Cucumber » Companion Planting 101 | The Greenest Dollar
March 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm


Simple Living March 11, 2010 at 9:43 pm

This article is great timing as I’m in the midst of finishing off my garden plans. There were a few companions I wasn’t aware of ;o)

I can totally picture your vertical garden and look forward to seeing some pics. I’m doing something similar with a garden arbor I’m putting in with some new raised beds this year for Cucumbers and Poll Beans.. itchin to get fingers in the dirt!

heather March 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

@Simple Living- I hear you! Seems like spring can’t come fast enough. I’m so ready! 🙂

RenaissanceRonin March 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Hey there,

Although you are the “Oracle of All things COOL,” My Dear…

Hellooooo? When planting seeds it’s important to LABEL them, otherwise you’ll forget what you planted where! I’m betting those are just weeds that sprung up from the bag of dirt you bought at Walmart! 🙂

A Sharpie and some masking tape are my preferred labeling tools. I put the masking tape over my wife’s mouth, and then I write “QUIET” on it, with the Sharpie…

Wait, that’s not it… but it does explain the “Masking Tape Mouthpiece” I woke up sporting this morning. I’d tell you what she wrote on it, but it’s um… “unprintable…”

This is a “Family Show,” after all… 😉

I also always “force” my new seeds, by topping off whatever I planted them in with some “secured” clear plastic wrap. Why? Because it’s “manly”… that’s why! 😉

“Grow, dang it!” Ronin bellowed… 😉

A rubber band works to hold the plastic wrap in place, or you can use some carefully placed tape, if your container is too large.

Now, I’ve gotta get back to the shed.

(No, I ain’t been “bad”… Well, at least nobody’s actually caught me at it yet…)

I’m gluing some recycled PVC pipe and old connectors together to make a greenhouse/chicken coop/nuclear reactor!

It’s amazing what you can learn watching reruns of “MacGiver!” 😉


Comments on this entry are closed.