All is not equal in the garden. Plants compete for space, moisture, sun and soil nutrients – and some share better than others. Companion planting is an age-old method of grouping plants that suggests that some plants just grow best when they grow together. Beans, for example, add nitrogen to soil, which supports the needs of corn. Mint deters the cabbage moth, so plant it you’re your cabbage, kale or Brussels sprouts. While you’re planning your spring veggie garden, take a few of these proven beneficial pairings into consideration:
- Tomatoes and garlic. Garlic makes a good Japanese beetle and aphid deterrent (and this pairing makes a great combo in the kitchen too!).
- Leaf lettuce, spinach and radishes. Radishes draw leaf-eating insects like leafminers away from spinach and lettuce – leaving your radishes growing undamaged underground.
- Carrots and tomatoes. Tall tomato plants shade the soil for carrots, while the above-ground foliage from carrots provides a terrific, moisture-retaining natural much for tomatoes.
- Asparagus and basil. Basil can help deter the asparagus beetle.
- Strawberries and mint. Mint can help deter aphids, ants and other insect pests that plague strawberries.
Whether take stock in advice about companion gardening or not, planting a healthy variety of fruits and veggies, herbs, plants and flowers in your garden (and rotating them) creates a diverse mix that attracts a range of beneficial insects and improves soil health. Pull weeds, remove dead leaves regularly and consider treating veggies weekly with a good insecticide formulated for use on edibles, like Garden Safe® Brand Houseplant & Garden Insect Killer. You can use it on plants right up to the day you harvest to control common veggie-munching bugs.