Nutrition Articles

An Introduction to Companion Planting

A Secret of Organic Gardeners

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Companion planting, briefly, is the act of planting different crops in your garden in close physical proximity, based on the theory that they will help each other. The main use of this method is for deterring pests and disease without resorting to synthetic or chemical treatments. The right companion plants may even attract helpful insects, discourage weeds, improve the flavor of a fruit or vegetable, or simply beautify your fruit and vegetable garden ornamentally.

It is a widely held belief amongst many gardeners and farmers that companion planting works, although no scientific data on the subject has been collected. While many scientists cannot adequately explain how or why companion planting works, many growers agree that symbiotic relationships in nature influence all kinds of factors, particularly pest control. Natural aromas of certain plants and their root systems, which utilize food and produce waste, can influence your garden environment. Companion planting is a gardener's way of creating a community or permaculture where all plants benefit one another. It is a sustainable, organic method of pest and weed control that can also add flavor to many things you’re already growing!

If your goal is to grow your garden organically, companion planting is one technique that could help to enhance and protect your fruits and vegetables.

To start, identify potential (or existing) pests in your garden and see if a companion plants exists to help remedy the situation. If so, you can plant the repellent plants of your choice near the borders of your garden, sprinkled throughout your plot, or nearby the plants most affected by the pest you hope to deter. Here are some common garden pests and with repellent plants that are often used to deter them. (Read this article for pest descriptions and more organic pest control methods.)
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About The Author

Jenny Sigler Jenny Sigler
Jenny is a stay-at-home mom to her young children, Augustine and Olive. An avid gardener and baker, she enjoys writing about health and childcare topics to empower people to make healthy choices. See all of Jenny's articles.

Member Comments

  • I've never done companion gardening because I've always done container gardening. However, since I've moved south into a totally different climate than in Nebraska, I have to adjust for the upcoming hot summers (triple digits is not uncommon here). We are also trying the Topsy Turvy for the cherry tomatoes and putting the Big Boys into a container. Would it still be favorable to perhaps put the herbs in containers around the Big Boys or is it best to plant them literally in the same pot? - 3/15/2011 3:17:06 AM
  • I've never done companion gardening because I've always done container gardening. However, since I've moved south into a totally different climate than in Nebraska, I have to adjust for the upcoming hot summers (triple digits is not uncommon here). We are also trying the Topsy Turvy for the cherry tomatoes and putting the Big Boys into a container. Would it still be favorable to perhaps put the herbs in containers around the Big Boys or is it best to plant them literally in the same pot? - 3/15/2011 3:17:01 AM
  • I've never done companion gardening because I've always done container gardening. However, since I've moved south into a totally different climate than in Nebraska, I have to adjust for the upcoming hot summers (triple digits is not uncommon here). We are also trying the Topsy Turvy for the cherry tomatoes and putting the Big Boys into a container. Would it still be favorable to perhaps put the herbs in containers around the Big Boys or is it best to plant them literally in the same pot? - 3/15/2011 3:16:50 AM