Open-Pollinated, Heirloom & Homestead Seeds
Especially adapted for Northern Gardens
Companion planting is part of the folklore of gardening and orcharding in many cultures. Most of the information is still anecdotal but more research is being done as growers look to alternatives to dangerous pesticides and fertilizers. Companion planting is a complicated field of study and every plant seems to have its likes and dislikes as to neighbors. Here are some of the ways that they can work for you:
Below is a sampling of companion plants for you to try. We also list some of the ways that these plants are reputed to help their companions. Much of this information is scientifically unproven but it does point a direction for you to go in your initial experiments. There is no guarantee that these will work for you in your particular growing conditions. Companion planting is an experiment, and you will gain knowledge that could be a valuable help in increasing organic growing skills. GOOD LUCK!
All seeds are $2.50 per packet. Packet sizes vary.
Chives are one of those multipurpose plants that require
little care yet produce edible flowers and leaves and it is
a beautiful long-blooming plant. When planted among apple
trees it helps prevent apple scab. A tea of chives can also
be sprayed on apple trees as a prevention of apple scab and
against downy and powdery mildew on gooseberries. Chives
are used as a companion plant with carrots and tomatoes
improving the flavor and vigor. They are used to repel
aphids and Japanese beetles. Chives are a dynamic
accumulator for sodium and magnesium.
Dill is reputed to help cabbages, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers and onions. Among brassica it repels cabbage worms and improves growth and flavor. Among cabbage dill is used for spider mites and caterpillars. In the orchard it repels codling moth and tent caterpillars. It is often pulled before it flowers. It has a deep tap root. It is also a good bee plant.
Mammoth dill: 80 days, annual, large plants to 5' or more producing an abundance of feathery greens and seed. Use the fresh or dried leaves in soups, salads and breads and the seeds with pickling and cooking. Annual
Nasturtium fights white flies in greenhouse conditions. I have two greenhouses and in one I have had nasturtiums growing and in the other did not . The greenhouse with the nasturtiums has had much less of a white fly problem. Nasturtiums act as a trap plant for aphids. They have reduced Colorado potato beetle when inter-planted with potatoes. Inter-planted with peppers, they have reduced green peach aphid problems. They are also reputed to keep away wholly aphids when planted with apple trees. They are also reputed to be effective against squash bugs and striped cucumber beetles.
Jewel mix is 16" tall. Both its leaves and flowers are edible with a peppery flavor; two inch blooms are a mixture of red, pink, orange and yellow, easy to grow. Annual
Marigolds are the most well known companion plant yet most of the results are unproven. They do excrete a material from the roots which kills soil nematodes. When inter-planted with roses they will control nematodes and increase the vigor of the roses. Tomatoes are reportedly more vigorous and bear more fruit when near marigolds. They may also repel the Mexican bean beetle. In orchards it is suggested that the marigolds be plowed under. They are especially useful when planted around nursery stock used for grafting and budding. They are also a dynamic accumulator for phosphorus.
Caraway is reputed to attract beneficial insects when grown in the orchard. In gardens, it is useful in loosening the soil. When grown with onions it helps against thrips and improves growth. It is a dynamic accumulator of potassium.
Caraway is a 24" plant producing carrot leaf like foliage the first Summer. It over-winters and blooms the following spring. Seeds are used in rye breads, cheese and German sauerkraut; leaves can be used in soups and salads, and a tea from the leaves is suggested to help digestion. Biennial.
Parsley is reputed to improve growth and vigor when used as a companion to asparagus and tomatoes. It aids roses as a deterrent against the rose beetle and when planted near carrots, repels carrot flies. It is listed as a dynamic accumulator of magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. It is certainly one of the more nutritious plants in the garden.
Moss curled parsley is a curled variety, bright green, deeply cut with finely divided leaves. 75 to 85 days. Biennial.
Summer savory is often associated with beans. It is not only a spice in the bean pot but helps the growth and flavor of beans as a companion plant. It also repels the Mexican bean beetle. Savory improves the flavor and growth when grown with onions. It is listed as a dynamic accumulator for phosphorous.
Summer savory is an 18" tall aromatic herb with an upright growth, great as a spice in meat, vegetable and bean dishes. Annual.
Thyme has the reputation of helping many plants in the garden. It is very popular with honey bees. It has been used against cabbage worms and white flies with mixed results. German Winter Thyme grows 12" tall and very hardy, this is the best thyme for culinary use, both fresh and dried. This Thyme is an upright, bushy plant producing many small leaves and lilac colored blossoms that are plentiful in June and July. Perennial.
Coriander is another of those multiple use plants. Both the seed and leaf of cilantro are culinary spices. Coriander can reduce Colorado potato beetles when planted with eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes. It is reputed to reduce aphids, spider mites and carrot rust fly. In the orchard, it attracts beneficial insects.
Coriander-cilantro grows 14" or more tall and is also known as Chinese parsley. Much appreciated in many cultures; the fresh leaves are an essential ingredient in tomato salsas and other hot and spicy dishes. Annual.