Based on the simple idea that growing certain plants near other plants can be beneficial, companion planting has become the cornerstone of organic gardening. Some of the benefits of companion planting include attracting both pollinators and predatory insects, soil enrichment, and discouraging pests from munching on your favourite plants.
The key to companion planting is diversity. By including a large assortment of plants in the garden, especially plants that are attractive to beneficial insects, a healthy ecosystem will be achieved.
Top 5 Companion Plants:
- Marigolds - A workhouse in the world of companion plants, marigolds should be planted throughout the garden to discourage nematodes, whiteflies and aphids, as well as attract various beneficial insects.
- Nasturtiums – Another tried and true companion plant, nasturtiums add color and beauty with their edible flowers and leaves. Although they are a well-accepted trap crop, they are also excellent at attracting predatory insects that will feed on a range of garden pests.
- Sweet Basil – Tomatoes and basil are truly meant to be together in both the kitchen and the garden! Planting basil close to your tomatoes will help repel common pests such as aphids, mites and even mosquitoes, and is said to improve the growth and flavor of the tomatoes themselves. Plus, just inhaling the aroma of fresh basil is a balm to the soul!
- Garlic – A popular companion to roses, garlic is quite effective in deterring aphids. Also plant garlic near cucumbers, lettuce, peas and celery to help discourage root maggots, beetles and other assorted pests.
- Yarrow – This hardy perennial may be planted among pest-prone plants in the mixed border or grown in permanent clumps around the vegetable garden. It attracts a wide array of beneficial insects, including predatory wasps, ladybugs, hoverflies and damselbugs.