Sunday, April 11, 2010

Planning: Companion Planting

I found a great website on companion planting. There I found advice about getting started with planning our vegetable garden. The website instructed to divide into five or more sections to make sure to be able to accommodate all the necessary plant families (see below). According to these categorizations, I have to plan out which crops to grow and where they will be planted. The site indicated that the plants should be divided into a plant family group, determined by sharing the same pest and diseases, then into soil requirements. In thinking about gardening in the same spot for more than one year, I found that you have to anticipate the rotation of the plants. The recommendation from Companion Planting is below:

Year one: as below
Year two: legumes, onions, potato family, umbellifers, brassicas
Year three: onions, potato family, umbellifers, brassicas, legumes
Year four: potato family, umbellifers, brassicas, legumes, onions
Year five: umbellifers, brassicas, legumes, onions, potato family



Soil Requirements

Soil Benefit


Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radish, Swede

Leafy crops need nitrogen-rich soil may need liming


Pea, all beans, Broad, French, Runner

Well-drained but moisture-retentive; non nitrogen-rich

Will fix atmospheric nitrogen in for future crops


Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Leeks

High Organic matter may need liming


Potato, Tomato

High organic matter and nitrogen no lime structure

Suppresses weeds, breaks up soil


Carrot, Parsnip, Parsley, Celery, Florence fennel

Root crops need stone free soil, not freshly manured fine tilth

root crops brake up soil structure

Some plants have very few soil dwelling pest or diseases that they can be planted anywhere within the rotation like cucumbers, endives, fennel, french beans, lettuces, peppers, pumpkins, runner beans, squashes, and sweet corn.

I also found a great list of companion plants from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.





Tomato, Parsley, Basil


Most Vegetables & Herbs

Beans, Bush

Irish Potato, Cucumber, Corn, Strawberry, Celery, Summer Savory


Beans, Pole

Corn, Summer Savory, Radish

Onion, Beets, Kohlrabi, Sunflower

Cabbage Family

Aromatic Herbs, Celery, Beets, Onion Family, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard

Dill, Strawberries, Pole Beans, Tomato


English Pea, Lettuce, Rosemary, Onion Family, Sage, Tomato



Onion & Cabbage Families, Tomato, Bush Beans, Nasturtium


Irish Potato, Beans, English Pea, Pumpkin, Cucumber, Squash



Beans, Corn, English Pea, Sunflowers, Radish

Irish Potato, Aromatic Herbs


Carrot, Radish, Strawberry, Cucumber

Onion Family

Beets, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage Family, Summer Savory

Beans, English Peas

Pea, English

Carrots, Radish, Turnip, Cucumber, Corn, Beans

Onion Family, Gladiolus, Irish Potato

Potato, Irish

Beans, Corn, Cabbage Family, Marigolds, Horseradish

Pumpkin, Squash, Tomato, Cucumber, Sunflower


Corn, Marigold

Irish Potato


English Pea, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Cucumber



Strawberry, Faba Bean


Nasturtium, Corn, Marigold

Irish Potato


Onion Family, Nasturtium, Marigold, Asparagus, Carrot, Parsley, Cucumber

Irish Potato, Fennel, Cabbage Family

Equipped with all this information, I think I can begin planning out what plants we should grow and how we should start to organize them. Next considerations include what type of garden layout we want. More on the "garden map" or layout next time!

NOTE: I'm not sure if you noticed, but these tables are looking a lot better than my previous tables. I finally found a way to get tables nicely into Blogger!

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