The balance of our ecosystems is kept in a harmonious equilibrium by the interaction of plants, wildlife and insects. Just as our landscape needs the rain (or watering), attracting beneficial members to your garden is critical to the health and well-being of all your plants. To improve the health of your plants, the yield of crops, and deter pests companion plants are valuable. Companion planting is a holistic approach to gardening. Some of the most well-known companions are “the three sisters” (corn, beans and squash) but there are numerous companion vegetables as well as herbs you can use.

Something to keep in mind when choosing companions is when you plant herbs they often spread. I like to keep most of them in containers, especially mint, and move them around the garden (repotting every 3-4 years to help the root system and nutrients). Retain spacing requirements at roughly 2-3 rows apart and fill the gaps with neutral plants, this also aids a great deal with easy crop rotation.

Many annuals or ornamentals also encourage beneficial insects. Marigolds are probably the most common and there is an abundance of colors with types like French, African, Triploid and Signet (they all work as companions). By using a complete integrated pest management philosophy, it will ensure your plants are happy and healthy. Visit our Corner Store Nursery and check out our selection of herbs today!

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist

Companion Plants chart courtesy Karen Smith.