If you are a veggie gardener, you may have heard about the “3 sisters” to always plant together: corn, squash and beans. These have been planted together for over 5,000 years to improve the health of each.
- The corn acts as a trellis for the beans to climb.
- The beans provide nitrogen for the corn and squash.
- The squash acts as a living mulch, preventing weeds and discouraging pests with its spiny foliage.
These are the roots of companion planting.
Additionally, “bad” companions have been identified that either compete for the same nutrients or attract similar pests.
Here are some easy flowers and herbs to pair with veggies to begin your journey into the world of companion planting:
- Marigolds are happy companions with all vegetables as they repel most pests – you can even use the leaves in home-made insecticide. Plant them around the edges of all your beds, or use them as a living mulch underneath plants such as corn.
- Nasturtiums are edible flowers that improve the taste of tomatoes, so they make great companions. Who doesn’t want better tasting tomatoes? They also deter white flies and spider mites. Add some calendula flowers to your tomato bed and tomato hornworms will think twice before stopping to munch on your tomato plants.
- Thyme is a pungent herb to plant with your cabbage, since cabbage worms do NOT like thyme. Since I do NOT like cabbage worms, this is a great idea.
- Rosemary is a perennial herb that is friends with many veggies, and works well to edge a bed. Rosemary shoos away cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies.