The Q&A Archives: Companion Planting

Question: I have heard that certain vegetables like to be planted with
certain flowers. We will be planting tomatoes, snap peas, cukes, peppers and carrots. Can you tell us which flowers would be beneficial to put in our veggie garden? We are trying raised beds this year.

Answer: Companion planting means growing a planned diversity of veggies, herbs and ornamentals together. Pest control is the aim, but it can also include better space and nutrient efficiency. Put companions to work in your garden by arranging them as borders or mix them with the veggies in your rows and beds.

Beneficial insects, like parasitic wasps or predaceous flies depend on pests for nourishment. Attractant plants offer an alternative food source for beneficials when pests are in short supply. Many of these attractant food plants are members of the carrot and daisy families. They have tiny flowers to provide the pollen and nectar that maintain beneficials. Encourage these little insects by mixing flowering plants among your veggies. Some good choices are: angelica, anise, dill, fennel, yarrow and zinnias.

Other plants like tansy, mint, basil, thyme and santolina will repel pests from vegetables planted nearby. Mix and match to see which combo works best for you.

Marigolds are said to control root-feeding nematodes. Plant them thickly as a cover crop and turn them into the soil at the end of the season.

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