Landscape Logic: Be a garden matchmaker
As you plan your garden, do a little meal planning, too. Growing a recipe’s ingredients together can make dinner more delicious.
Companion plants support each other’s growth and help repel pests. A common foundation for garden salad — lettuce, tomatoes and basil — is a great way to get started with companion planting.
Basil is said to improve the flavor of plants with which it shares soil, and it helps repel pests that can threaten tomato plants. Plant lettuce underneath the tomatoes and then plant the basil close by, so it’s near the tomatoes. As tomatoes mature, they will create shade for the lettuce, keeping the leaves cool and shaded so they can thrive into the cooler season.
Pollinator-friendly plants like zinnias are beneficial by helping attract bees and other insects that plants need to bear fruit.
A few other recommended planting combos include:
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Dill is a great for planting with cucumbers. Together they can make delicious pickles, salad or Greek tzatziki dressing. Dill also benefits the brassica family which includes broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
Marigolds are the super-star of the companion plant world. They repel many pests — and are beneficial to most garden plants including cauliflower, tomatoes, beans and corn. Did you know that they are also edible? Wow guests with a little marigold in your summer salad.
Potatoes can repel bean pests, while beans can increase nitrogen it the soil. Bonus: bean-and-potato hash makes a great brunch dish. Side note: even though they might go together on the dinner table, keep chives away from the potatoes.
Asparagus can protect tomatoes against some pests, while the tomatoes will repel asparagus beetles. Roasted together with some balsamic vinegar, these two pair perfectly outside the garden as well.
Consult a garden center or landscape professional about the best companion plants to grow in your conditions. Sun and wind exposure and soil quality also affect plant growth, so even the most compatible plants can fail if you establish your garden in the wrong place.
Cherie Courtade is communication director of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which, Neils Lunceford is a member. Neils Lunceford Inc. can be reached at 970-468-0340 and at http://www.neilslunceford.com.