The Basic Theory of Companion Planting ~ Different plant types exude various natural chemicals. By planting them together, certain combinations of plants thrive. These companion vegetables and herbs, planted together, produce higher yields of crops, that are better able to defend themselves against disease and pests. Planting incompatible plants together will hinder growth and crops tend to be less vigorous as they have been noted to show more signs of plant disease and pests.
Companion Planting for Pest Control ~ Examples include plantings of garlic, which act as a strong natural insect repellent that helps protect your garden from bug predators. Some gardeners like to include marigolds planted along tomatoes to help repel nematodes from the roots of the plants.
Companion Planting to Attract Pollinators ~ By mixing herbs and flowers together amongst your garden vegetables you are companion planting. By attracting pollinator such as bees and butterflies to your gardens, they will fly form flower to flower allowing for better fruit set and a higher harvest.
The 3 Sisters ~ We have often heard reference to the 3 sisters plantings which includes plantings of corn, beans and squash together. This is a great example of the symbiotic relationship between companions. The tall stock of the corn provides a trellis for pole beans to grow high above the sprawling deep leaves of squash which provide shade to the ground and prevent moisture loss and inhibit weed growth. These beans will also fix nitrogen to the soil.
Experiment ~ By starting to experiment with the companion list, you will soon start to make notes in your journal about the success and hurdles of your own gardening space. Everyone has different soil and environmental conditions. Use guides like this Companion Planting list to start your garden map and journal and be sure to include your notes throughout the session.