- 10 Veggies That Should Grow Together
- Bean Plant Companions: What Grows Well With Beans In The Garden
- Companion Planting with Beans
- What Grows Well with Beans?
- Companion Plants for Sweet Corn
- Nitrogen Fixing
- The “Three Sisters” Method
- Other Companion Plants
- What NOT to Plant with Corn
- Plants to Repel Animals
- Plants to Attract Good Bugs
- How to Use Green Beans in Companion Planting
- 166 Wilson Road, Middle Swan
- Green Living
- Are there disadvantages to companion planting?
- 3 factors to consider for successful companion planting
10 Veggies That Should Grow Together
Companion planting is a great way to maximize the efficiency of your garden. For almost every vegetable you grow, there is likely to be a beneficial companion plant that will help increase soil nutrients, chase away pests, or provide some other benefit. To get the most out of your hard work, we’ve provided the 10 most popular vegetables grown in the United States and their friends (and enemies) in the garden.
Companion Planting For These Top 10 Veggies:
Basil and tomatoes were made to go together, not only in sauces but in the garden, too. This herb helps tomatoes produce greater yields and it repels both flies and mosquitoes. Marigolds are another good companion, repelling nematodes and other garden pests. Other friends to tomatoes include asparagus, carrots, celery, the onion family, lettuce, parsley, and spinach.
Keep tomatoes away from: Cabbage, beets, peas, fennel, dill, and rosemary. Corn and tomatoes both suffer from the corn earworm, and tomatoes and potatoes are affected by the same blight, so keep these plants separate to prevent the spread of pests or disease.
Basil is a good friend to peppers, helping repel aphids, spider mites, mosquitoes, and flies. It’s also thought that basil improves the pepper’s flavor. Other good companions include onions, spinach, and tomatoes.
Keep peppers away from: Beans so the vines don’t spread among the pepper plants.
3. Green Beans
Corn and beans grow well together 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, nasturtiums, rosemary, and summer savory repel bean beetles, and summer savory improves growth rate and flavor. Other companions include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other members of the cabbage family along with cucumbers, peas, potatoes, and radishes.
Keep green beans away from: Beets or anything from the onion family. Onions, in particular, impede the growth of bean plants.
To repel aphids and beetles, plant marigolds and nasturtiums among your cucumbers. Beans, celery, corn, lettuce, dill, peas, and radishes are also good companion plants.
Keep cucumbers away from: Aromatic herbs such as sage which will stunt the growth of cucumbers.
Carrots should be planted near onions because onions will repel the carrot fly. Onions will also chase away the aphids, so plant them near aphid-prone (but onion-friendly) veggies. Other good friends of onions include beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, parsnips (which also suffer from carrot fly), tomatoes, and spices like marjoram, savory, and rosemary.
Keep onions away from: Asparagus, beans, and peas.
Plant mint among your lettuce to keep away the slugs that feed on lettuce leaves, or plant chives and garlic to repel aphids. Beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, radishes, and marigolds also work as good companion plants.
Keep lettuce away from: Parsley, because it tends to grow into a small yet bushy plant and can crowd your lettuce.
7. Zucchini/Summer Squash
Corn and squash make good garden friends since the cornstalks give squash vines a place to grow. Squash also does well planted alongside beans, peas, radishes, dill, and marigolds.
Keep summer squash away from: Potatoes, as both plants are prone to blight.
Carrots are heat sensitive, which is why they go well with tomato plants that can provide them a bit of shade. Tomatoes are also known to produce solanine, which is a natural insecticide that targets pests affecting carrot plants. Tomatoes benefit from carrots, too. Carrots aerate the soil around the roots of the tomato plants, allowing more air and water to reach the roots. Leeks and carrots are also good companions since leeks repel carrot flies and carrots repel leek moths and onion flies. Rosemary, sage, and chive also help repel carrot flies.
Keep carrots away from: Coriander and dill, as they both produce compounds that can harm carrot plants, and parsnips suffer from the same diseases and pests as carrots, so keep them apart to minimize a potential infestation.
Radishes can be planted among cucumbers to attract cucumber beetles away from the cukes. They also do well among carrots because they are harvested before the carrots and they loosen the soil as the carrots start to take off. Onions, beets, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, and squash are also good friends for radishes.
Keep radish away from: Hyssop.
10. Sweet Corn
Corn loves veggies that fix nitrogen in the soil—like green beans. Cornstalks also make a great trellis for vining or trailing plants including beans, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, and melons. Zucchini also does well planted among corn.
Keep corn away from: Tomatoes, as they and corn are attacked by corn earworms. Plant these two far apart to minimize the spread of these pests.
Follow these companion planting guidelines to boost yields, minimize pest or disease problems and make garden management easier.
Bean Plant Companions: What Grows Well With Beans In The Garden
Many different plants not only coexist together, but actually derive mutual gratification from being grown near each other. Beans are a prime example of a food crop that benefits greatly when planted with other crops. Companion planting with beans is an age old Native American practice called “the three sisters,” but what else grows well with beans? Keep reading to learn about companion plants for beans.
Companion Planting with Beans
Beans fix nitrogen into the soil, a necessary nutrient for healthy growth of other crops, which is truly a boon to the gardener. The Iroquois people were aware of this reward, although they chalked it up to a gift from the Great Spirit. Their god also bequeathed to the people corn and squash, which then became logical companion plants for bean.
Corn was planted first and when the stalks were tall enough, the beans were sowed. As the beans grew, squash was planted. The corn became a natural support for the beans to clamber up, while the beans made the soil rich in nitrogen, and the large squash leaves shaded the soil to cool roots and retain moisture. But don’t stop with the corn and squash. There are many other beneficial plants that can be combined when growing beans.
Companion plants for beans or other crops should be plants that have a natural symbiotic relationship. They may protect other crops from wind or sun, they may deter or confuse pests, or they may attract beneficial insects.
When selecting your bean plant companions, consider their nutritional requirements. Don’t grow plants with the same nutritional needs together since they will compete for those available nutrients. The same goes with growing bean plant companions that have the same root depth. Again, they will compete with each other if they grow at the same soil depth.
What Grows Well with Beans?
Besides corn and squash, there are many other suitable companion plants for beans. Because pole and bush beans have different habits, different crops make more suitable companions.
For bush beans, the following work well grown together:
Pole beans do quite well when planted near:
And, don’t forget to interplant with the corn and squash! Just as there are beneficial crops to plant with beans, there are other plants to avoid.
The Allium family does neither pole or bush beans any favors. Members such as chives, leeks, garlic and onions exude an antibacterial that kills the bacteria on the roots of the beans and halts their nitrogen fixing.
In the case of pole beans, avoid planting near beets or any of the Brassica family: kale, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Also, don’t plant pole beans with sunflowers for obvious reasons.
Companion Plants for Sweet Corn
Page 3 of 5 of the Sweet Corn Guide
Author: Julie Baka
Besides being a favorite food among people, corn is super tasty to several pests. Corn also needs certain nutrients for optimal growth. This article explains how including beneficial plants in and around your corn patch can deter pests and provide better corn yields.
Simply put, companion planting is the practice of growing beneficial plants (friends) alongside each other to glean the complementary characteristics of the other. This includes nutritional needs, growth behaviors or propensity to repel pests.
Sweet corn needs a plentiful and steady supply of nitrogen for the best yield. If you’re thinking nitrogen is a gas, you are right. And if you’re wondering how a gas can get into your corn plants, then read on.
Some plants have bacteria that live on them. Those bacteria convert nitrogen gas into nitrogen that is trapped in bacteria in the soil and on certain plants, known as “nitrogen fixing” plants. When you plant these nitrogen-fixing plants on your sweet corn plot, you will help provide your corn with the nitrogen it needs for healthy growth.
Legumes, which are a member of the pea family, are excellent nitrogen fixers. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupin bean, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind. Cool-weather varieties can be planted as a cover crop in fall, storing up nitrogen all winter, and then tilled into the soil in early spring ahead of corn-planting time. Warm-weather beans can be planted with the corn, as explained below.
A list of nitrogen-fixing plants is available here.
Legumes (Beans) and Nitrogen
Legumes use bacteria called Rhizobium bacteria of which there are multiple varieties. To be sure your legumes are adding as much nitrogen as possible, contact your local extension agent to determine the Rhizobium bacteria variety that goes with the legumes you’re planting. The agent can tell you where to get it so you can put the bacteria starter directly on the seeds to ensure the bacteria is there when you plant.
Corn and Beans
Most home gardeners, however, simply plant beans with their corn to fix nitrogen by absorbing it from the air or pulling it out of the ground. Any bean will work – bush, pole, wax, green, yellow, purple, string, flat, soy, Lima, runner, mottled, etc. The possibilities are endless.
The “Three Sisters” Method
A traditional example of companion planting is the Three Sisters group—corn, pole beans and winter squash—grown together for their complementary natures: the tall corn supports the climbing beans; the squash shades the ground with big, scratchy leaves to inhibit weeds and pests; and the fast-growing beans provide nitrogen.
Bush beans can be planted along with the corn, alternating rows or mixing beans and corn throughout the rows. With pole beans, however, the corn needs time to grow before the bean vines start to climb the stalk. Plant pole beans when the corn is 4 to 6 inches high, putting four bean seeds 1 inch deep in each corn hill, spacing them 3 inches from the corn plants. Water thoroughly and keep soil evenly moist until bean seedlings emerge in seven to 10 days. As the bean runners form, train them to grow up the corn stalks.
Other Three Sisters Planting Methods
Prepare the soil by adding fish scraps, well-rotted manure, compost or wood ash to increase fertility, if desired. Soak the corn seeds for four or five hours to speed germination. Below are two different layouts for planting the threesome. Either way, the corn is always planted first, followed by the beans and lastly the squash. Remember, too, that corn is pollinated by wind, so plant your corn in one area of the garden.
- Small mounds – in mounds of about 18” inches in diameter, sow five to seven corn seeds evenly spaced in each mound, 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. Water the mounds regularly so the soil remains constantly moist. Sow the pole bean seeds when the corn plants are about 6 inches tall. Push four or five bean seeds 1 inch deep, evenly spaced around the corn plants. At every seventh mound, sow two bean seeds only. Sow four or five squash seeds in the seventh mounds at the same time as the pole beans or after the pole beans have sprouted, evenly spaced around the corn plants and 1 inch deep. This seed distribution provides squash plants that ramble over all the mounds and suppress weeds.
- Large mounds – for a larger circle, make a mound of soil about a foot high and four feet wide. When the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the center of the mound. Sow six kernels of corn an inch deep and about ten inches apart in a circle of about 2 feet in diameter. When the corn is about 5 inches tall, plant four bean seeds, evenly spaced, around each stalk. About a week later, plant six squash seeds, evenly spaced, around the perimeter of the mound.
Other Possible Benefits
Planting pole beans has the added benefit of helping to anchor the corn plants, keeping them from falling over, a problem called “lodging”. If lodging is a problem in your garden, here is a good article that explains the conditions that make this phenomenon most likely.
Note that there are mixed reviews as to the success of pole beans preventing lodging, with some accounts of the beans overtaking the corn. As with all gardening techniques, our advice is to experiment with different varieties of beans to learn which ones work best with your sweet corn, soil, climate and taste buds.
Fertilizing a Three Sisters Plot
The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends fertilizing the three sisters combo the first year as the nitrogen in pole bean root nodules becomes available to corn and squash only the second year after planting. Fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as a 12-4-8 ready-to-use, slow-release, granular product. Spread the granules at a rate of 4 tablespoons per 4 square feet when the pole beans and squash plants are 4 inches tall or apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, use an organic fertilizer, such as a 3-inch layer of well-rotted manure. Spread the manure around the plants, avoiding their stems. This manure layer also will help suppress weeds until the squash plants are growing strongly.
Other Companion Plants
Other plants also go well with corn, such as:
- Vines – Vine plants provide shade to keep the roots of the corn plants moist and also serve as a natural weed suppressant. Similar to squash, cucumber vines grow well near corn. The vines can also help deter raccoons.
- Melons – are in the same family as squash and cucumbers and can be used in place of winter squash in a 3 sister’s arrangement. The long vines will offer the same protection and living mulch as squash does.
- Peas – are another legume that fixes nitrogen in the soil, making it a perfect corn companion plant. Peas are planted as early as possible in spring, while corn is not planted until the soil is warm. Plant corn seeds directly in the pea patch to glean their nitrogen and save space.
- Dill – is a great herb to grow near corn. It can improve flavor of the corn and it will attract beneficial insects such as lady bugs and parasitic wasps.
- Marigolds and Nasturtiums – These two flowers are must in all gardens because of their ability to repel or trap pests. They repel aphids, including corn aphids and other pests, as well as attracting beneficial bugs.
- Annual flowers – are often overlooked in a vegetable garden, but they are more than just beautiful. Flowers will attract beneficial insects such a green lacewings and parasitic wasps, which will help your plants fight against pests. Cosmos and zinnias are two easy-to-grow examples.
- Borage – can help repel worms that attack corn plants. Borage also attracts beneficial insects such as lady bugs to you garden.
- Summer Savory – is another herb that helps repel pests and attract beneficial bugs.
- Thyme – helps repel the corn earworm.
- Aromatic Plants – such as lavender, mint, oregano, dill, garlic, marigolds, basil and sage help deter deer.
What NOT to Plant with Corn
Below are plants that should be planted in another area of the garden from corn:
- Tomatoes – share common enemies with corn. Grown near each other, they will attract both the corn earworm and the tomato hornworm. Also both corn and tomatoes are heavy feeders and will compete for nutrients in the soil.
- Brassicas – All members of the cabbage family including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower should be planted apart from corn. Corn shades the brassicas too much, stunting their growth. As well as both crops are also heavy feeders and will compete for nutrients in the soil.
Plants to Repel Animals
To Keep Raccoons Out of the Corn in Your Garden
Raccoons are said to have very sensitive feet and avoid walking on prickly plants. Some plants that have proven effective in keeping raccoons out of your sweet corn patch includes:
- oriental poppies
- globe thistle
- Kentucky Wonder pole beans
All of these plants can be planted between your corn or in the rows.
Raccoons are also said to avoid very spicy foods as well as all plants in the tomato family. Plants like habanero chilies and tomatoes can be planted around the outside of your corn patch, but not too near the corn. The theory is that raccoons will try the easy-to-reach plants first, decide they are not good and not come back to try the stuff in the middle.
Plants with a strong odor, such as mint and garlic, are also claimed to successfully keep raccoons away.
Another suggestion is to plant a small crop of sweet corn away from the garden specifically for the wildlife to eat. Since it is closer to cover they will feel safer eating the corn there than crossing the open yard to get to your sweet corn patch.
There are ideas as well as commercial products such as the Nite-Guard that you may want to give a try if you have lots of raccoon problems. And here is another article with more ideas to keep out raccoons.
To Keep Deer out of the Corn in Your Garden
If deer are hungry enough, they will eat almost any plant. High-calorie sweet corn is one of their favorites to help them bulk up to get them through winter. Deer have an amazing sense of smell and will avoid aromatic plants that interrupt their ability to smell predators. Surrounding your corn patch or your entire garden with very thick rows of lavender or marigolds may discourage deer from entering your garden.
One of the best determents for both deer and raccoon is simply to have a dog that is allowed to be in your garden area overnight.
Plants to Attract Good Bugs
Earworm Beetles are one of the most harmful insects to corn. No plant is known to repel them. However, there are plants that attract other insects like the green lacewings and the soldier beetles that keep can keep the earworm moth population under control.
The following plants will attract many beneficial insects to your garden and protect more than just your sweet corn. A variety of high-nectar plants will do the most good in your garden.
- Achillea millefolium – yarrow
- Ammi majus – laceflower
- Anethum graveolens – dill
- Angelica species – angelicathis
- Baccharis species – baccharis
- Boltonia asteroides – boltonia
- Coreopsis species – tickseed
- Cosmos bipinnatus – cosmos
- Eriogonum species – native buckwheat
- Eupatorium perfoliatum – common boneset
- Helianthus annuus – sunflower
- Leucanthemum x superbum – shasta daisy Image Credit
- Labularia maritima – sweet alyssum
- Phacelia tanacetifolia – lacy phacelia
- Pycnanthemum species – mountain mint
- Ratibida pinnata – praire coneflower
- Rudbeckia species – black-eyed Susans
- Solidago species – goldenrod
- Spirea alba – meadowsweet
- Symphyotrichum species – hardy aster
- Veronicastrum virginicum – Culver’s root
- Zizia aurea – golden Alexanders
- Zizia aptera – heartleaf Alexanders
List provided bySavvy Gardening.
Now that you know what to plant alongside your corn, in our next article we will tell you how to water, weed, and hill your crop.
Click a page below to read the rest of our Sweet Corn Guide
- Page 1 How to choose the best sweet corn variety
- Page 2 How and when to plant for the best results
- Page 3 Companion plants for nutrients & pest control
- Page 4 Watering, weeding, and hilling corn
- Page 5 Pollination & Fertilizer for success
How to Use Green Beans in Companion Planting
Green Beans are very helpful companion plants because their roots host bacteria, which enriches the soil with nitrogen. Combining specific groups of plants attracts beneficial insects and birds, protecting your garden from pests. Beans also provide the added benefit of enriching the earth. Companion planting can yield up to twice as much as individual planting. Green beans are considered to be one of the most effective combination plants.
Plant Your Green Beans
Plant green beans in your herb, flower, fruit or vegetable garden to improve overall plant growth. Some plants do particularly well with green beans, such as spinach, corn, peas, lettuce, eggplant, rosemary, celery carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, potatoes, and dill. Eggplants are a particularly good companion plant for green beans because they repel Bean Beetles, which can destroy green beans, while green beans deter California Beetles, which can attack eggplants. Green beans will also assist in rotation planting, as the additional nitrogen in the soil will support heavy crops the following year.
Exceptions to the Rule
Green beans should not be planted near plants that do not do well with extra nitrogen, such as tomatoes, green peppers, or chili peppers. They also do not do well near beets, chives, onions, or garlic, as these plants can stunt the bean stalk.
166 Wilson Road,
Companion planting is the careful placement of plants (especially vegetables and herbs) which have been shown to have beneficial effects on one another. Sometimes, this comes down to simple physical reasons – taller plants provide shelter from sun and wind for plants that need protection. Climbing plants can be trained up over taller plants to maximise production in small spaces. Some plants make good companions because their roots grow to different depths, so simply do not compete with each other for water and nutrients.
Plants in the legume family (eg. Peas and beans) promote growth in nearby plants with their nitrogen fixing ability – nodules on the roots enable plants to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form used by plants. Also they tend to be deep rooted, which promotes aeration of the soil, thus benefiting their neighbours.
The shape of some plants and their flowers can visually confuse insect pests. Other plants, especially herbs, contain strong smelling substances released by their leaves. These scents can swamp odours emitted by other plants and confuse insects seeking out a target.
Still other plants emit chemicals from their roots which can act as growth stimulants for other plants, or can act negatively to retard germination of seeds.
So you see it can get rather complicated! For whatever reason, studies have shown that companion planting really does work. It is unlikely to prove 100% successful in preventing insect attack, but it is just one of the practices used by organic gardeners.
Another trick promoted in permaculture is planting in scattered groupings rather than rows of vegetables in a neat, straight line. This again helps to confuse pests, and can act as an ‘isolation ward’ – one group of plants may be attacked but with a bit of luck the other groups may go undetected! With a straight line of the same plants, pests can simply munch their way across your vegie patch!
So what plants like growing near each other? Some books and charts do tend to give conflicting opinions, but we have compiled a list below of good and bad companions where a general consensus seems to exist!
(References: ‘Companion Planting in Australia ’ by Brenda Little, Reed Books & ‘The Backyard Organic Garden’ by Keith Smith, Lothian Press)
Remember we have a wide range of garden products and garden supplies available, designed to help YOU grow a better garden.
What this means is that companion planting may help with pest control, but there is confusion over exactly how it does so, or how to ensure that it does help.
In my opinion, any method that can enable you to reduce or eliminate your use of pesticides is a positive development! If you have any doubts about the harmful effects of pesticides on human and environmental health, look no further than the red tide that is currently wreaking havoc along the Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States. Those red algae blooms thrive off pesticides and chemicals that wash into the ocean. They have caused hundreds of marine animals to wash up dead on the beach and brought on gastrointestinal problems in people who have been exposed to it by swimming in the Gulf water or consuming seafood from it.
(My kids and I are headed to the Gulf Coast of Florida in a couple of days, and I’ll be taking the opportunity to interview local residents and marine biologists in hopes of bringing you more information about some of the connections between harmful synthetic chemicals and the spread of red tide. Sign up for my RSS feed using the link at the top of this post to be notified of updates to the blog.)
Are there disadvantages to companion planting?
There is good reason to suspect that companion planting may not always produce the desired effects. In fact, there are at least a few disadvantages to companion planting that you may not have heard of.
First, you need to plant the right companions with each other. Planting the wrong ones can have a negative effect on the health of your crops. For example, planting tall plants like bush beans or pole beans and tomatoes together is a bad idea because they will compete for light, with the tomatoes being more likely to win that competition. Finally, some plants are popularly believed to be allelopathic, which means that they chemically hinder the chemical vital systems of competing plants. For example, garlic and onions are said to hinder the growth of beans and peas. Sunflowers supposedly interfere with the growth of potatos and beans. Cabbage and cauliflower usually do not thrive when planted alongside each other. While the scientific evidence on this kind of “combatant” behavior among plants is thin, popular lore says keep these plants away from each other.
Second, competition for water and nutrients can reduce the strength of your plants. Plants that love water, like sweet corn and lettuce, should not be planted near drought-loving plants like rosemary and snap peas. Cabbage will stunt the growth of tomatoes, since these two compete for nutrients in the soil. Bell peppers and fennel will also fail to thrive for the same reasons when planted together.
Third, randomly sticking plants in the soil together, even those recommended as companions, is usually not a good idea, and may even reduce your harvest. For example, tomatoes may crowd out basil planted alongside it, with the result that the basil harvest is considerably less than if it had been planted on its own. So what can you do to ensure that this doesn’t happen?
3 factors to consider for successful companion planting
There are 3 things you need to be aware of for successful companion planting, because it’s not just a matter of sticking plants in the soil next to each other. Crop density, ratio, and interplanting times all affect whether you’ll get an abundant and healthy harvest compared to what you’ll get from monocropping (growing a single crop in a given container or plot).