An adage states that “the right plants in the right place do half the work for you,” and this certainly holds when it comes to a successful plant combination. As more and more people are looking to start their gardens, understanding proper plant combinations is becoming increasingly important.
Properly combining different species of plants can mean the difference between an organized garden full of life and a chaotic one filled with incompatible species. Knowing what combinations can be planted together in order to thrive will give you an edge as you embark on your unique journey into gardening. Here are some tips on what plants can be planted together for optimal results.
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What Plants can be Planted Together?
When it comes to planting a garden, deciding which plants should be planted together can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are lots of plants that can be successfully planted together. Here are some examples of plants that go well together:
Peppers do best when planted around other vegetables and herbs that help to keep their predators and pests away. One of the best plants to grow near peppers is basil, which will repel aphids, spider mites, mosquitoes, and flies. In addition, it is thought that the basil leaves oils will penetrate the pepper skins and improve their flavor.
Other companions for peppers include onions, spinach, and tomatoes, all of which can be grown very close together as they are unlikely to compete with each other for resources like sunlight, water, and nutrients.
When planting peppers, however, there is one vegetable that should not be seeded nearby; beans. Beans originate from the family Fabaceae, and due to their expansive root system, they can easily spread amongst pepper plants and suffocate them if they become established in large numbers.
It’s, therefore, important to maintain a distance between peppers and beans or consider staking or caging around your pepper plants if you cannot adhere strictly to this guideline.
2. Green Beans
One of the green beans’ best friends in the garden is corn. Cornstalks provide natural trellises for green bean vines to cling to, eliminating the need for an additional support structure. Furthermore, green beans are Nitrogen fixers, meaning that their presence in the soil will help to enrich it for other plants, particularly corn.
Other green bean companions include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and members of the cabbage family, along with cucumbers, peas, potatoes, and radishes. To ward off bean beetles from invading your crop, consider planting marigolds or nasturtiums nearby and adding rosemary or summer savory for improved growth rate and flavor enhancement.
Tomatoes do best when planted around other vegetables and herbs that can provide additional support and nutrients. A classic companion for tomatoes is basil, which will help improve your tomatoes’ flavor while aiding in pest control.
Marigolds are also beneficial to plant around tomatoes as they deter nematodes, a worm that can wreak havoc on tomato crops. In addition, garlic and onions can be grown close to tomatoes as they are unlikely to compete for resources.
Other plants that will do well when planted near tomatoes include arugula, carrots, chives, eggplants, lettuce, oregano, peppers, and spinach. When planting tomatoes with other vegetables in the garden, it is important to note that some plants may act as a trap crop, attracting pests away from your tomatoes. Be sure to do your research to make sure you are planting the right combinations for success.
Carrots are versatile vegetables that can be planted with several companion plants. They do especially well when grown with onions, leeks, and radishes. These vegetables help keep weeds away while deterring pests like carrot flies, which can significantly reduce the number of roots produced. Additionally, planting carrots near lettuce or spinach will help to shade the soil and keep the roots cool during the hot summer months.
It is important to avoid planting carrots with other root vegetables such as beets, turnips, and potatoes, as these vegetables can easily compete for resources like sunlight and water. Furthermore, carrots should not be planted near any onion family members, as these vegetables can stunt their growth.
Lettuce is a very versatile and popular vegetable that can be planted with many other plants. It’s a cool-season crop that should be planted in early spring or late summer. Lettuce can be grown alongside leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, kale, and chard.
Additionally, root vegetables like radishes and carrots can be planted alongside lettuce. Oregano, dill, and basil can also be grown near the lettuce.
It’s important to avoid planting lettuce with other cabbage family members, such as broccoli and cauliflower, as this can lead to cross-pollination between the two plants. Additionally, it is best to avoid planting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants near lettuce as they can spread diseases to the crop.
Peas are a cool-weather crop that should be planted early in the season, as soon as the ground can be worked. Planting peas alongside other vegetables and herbs can help them to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest. Some of their best companions include radishes, spinach, carrots, and turnips. These vegetables attract beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other pests that can harm the pea crop.
Herbs such as dill, chamomile, and mint can also be planted near peas to help attract pollinators and beneficial insects. These herbs will also help improve the peas’ flavor while providing additional layers of protection against pests. It is important to avoid planting beans, onions, garlic, and cabbage family members near peas as these plants can compete for resources like sunlight and water.
Plants that Shouldn’t be Planted Together
Planting the wrong plants together can have detrimental effects on the growth of your garden. Plants are believed to have allelopathic tendencies, meaning they can interfere with other nearby plants.
For example, some plants like black walnuts have long been known to disrupt the growth of tomatoes, eggplants, and corn. The list of plants exhibiting these behaviors is limited but extensive and should always be considered when planting in a garden.
In addition, broccoli should be rotated every season due to its aggressive allelopathic properties, which inhibit other cruciferous crops from growing nearby. Meanwhile, garlic and onions are believed to prevent beans and peas from thriving while not interfering with the majority of other surrounding plants.
Even alfalfa has been observed to display a unique type of allelopathy that inhibits its seeds from germination. It is important to be aware of what plants you should keep away from each other when tending your garden in order to ensure maximum yield and top-notch harvests.
Benefits of Combine Planting
- Increased crop yields due to increased nutrient uptake.
- Minimizing the number of weeds and pests through greater competition and fewer ideal growing conditions.
- Reduced cost of soil disking and fertilizer applications.
- Improved environmental quality due to decreased water runoff and fewer chemical applications.
- Lessens the competition among different plants, resulting in higher yields.
- Increases the effectiveness of pest and disease control.
- Many different types of food can be produced using fewer resources meaning farmers have more efficient land use.
- It creates a balanced ecosystem to provide habitats for beneficial insects, optimum nutrition for plants, and decreased runoff of agricultural chemicals.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. How Close Do They Need To Be?
Within two or three rows of one another, plants that have beneficial relationships with one another (friends) should be planted in the same bed. A good rule of thumb is to plant plants with detrimental relationships (foes) at least 2-3 rows apart.
2. Is It OK For Plants To Touch Each Other?
They can sense touch, so if touched by another plant, they can produce a genetic defense response that decreases their growth. Furthermore, pests may be more likely to infest houseplants that touch them. In short, houseplants shouldn’t touch each other.
3. Can Plants Recognize Their Owners?
No, plants cannot recognize their owners. However, they can respond to environmental cues like light, temperature, and humidity. Plants can also recognize their neighbors in the garden; when two species are planted together, they will interact in various ways. Some plants might compete for resources like sunlight or water, while others might offer beneficial support to one another. Planting compatible species together can lead to a healthier, more productive garden.
4. Do Plants Go To Sleep At Night?
No, plants do not go to sleep at night. Although they may appear dormant during the night hours, they still perform many important functions. At night, photosynthesis stops, but plants continue to respire, meaning they take in oxygen and emit carbon dioxide. This process helps them obtain energy for growth and development. They also continue taking water from the soil through their roots and storing it in their tissues.
5. Do Plants Get Sad When You Leave?
No, plants don’t get sad when you leave. In fact, they don’t experience any emotions at all. Plants are living organisms that can respond to their environment but do not possess any humanlike feelings or emotions. However, if you have been taking care of a particular plant and neglecting it for a while, its health may suffer as it does not receive the necessary care.
Planting a garden is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. With proper research and planning, you can ensure that your plants are planted together in the right combination for optimal growth. Knowing what plants can be planted together will give you an edge as you embark on your gardening journey and may even save time, energy, and resources in the long run.