When it comes to getting the best out of your vegetable garden, the art of companion planting can help. That is knowing which plants will grow even better if planted next to each other, and which will not.
What does companion planting achieve? — When you plant two different types of vegetables next to each other, they will help in one or more of five ways.
They will make each other taste better, mask the smell of a stronger smelling plant or repel bugs. They can also protect insects that are useful to another plant, and shelter tinier plants making them less vulnerable to the elements.
Some veggies do not always play well with others, however, and these four have their own particular friends.
Tomatoes — While tomatoes will do wonderfully well if you plant them next to garlic, thyme, basil or even nasturtiums, they will cause potatoes, fennel, walnuts and kohlrabi to do less well and even die.
This is due to the prevalence of certain pests that thrive on tomato plants. Tomatoes do not mind them. The other four definitely do.
Cucumbers — These juicy green veggies are perfect to plant next to cabbage, beans, radishes and early season potatoes and they will grow well. If you are planting late season potatoes, however, keep them well away from your cucumbers as they really will not thrive.
Sunflowers — Sunflower seeds are all the rage nowadays, and many home gardeners grow them. If you want them to grow strong, however, potatoes are the enemy as they will be a competitor for the nutrients in the soil.
Garlic — Garlic does well next to fruit trees as, not only does it tend to stop certain pests from taking over your fruit, but the fruit trees themselves will mask the smell of the garlic. Cabbages, tomatoes and roses will also grow nicely next to it. Just be sure to never plant your garlic next to peas and beans.
Getting the hang of this kind of gardening can take a while, but this lovely companion planting infographic can help you remember who loves who a little bit easier.