When it comes to herbs, companion plants may prove to play a vital roll in the overall health of your garden — not only for your herb garden, but also for your patch of vegetables as well as your flowerbeds too!
That’s because some plants actually grow better when they’re sitting next to other plants. Yes, it might not sound very sensible at first, but the concept is really quite simple. If you start to add specific herbs to either your vegetable or flower garden — or both — you may notice a decidedly improved level of overall health for all the plants, depending upon the herbs you’ve place there.
Let me give you a classic example. When white settlers came to North America, they soon learned that the Native Americans had what they referred to as the “three sisters” a combination of corn, beans and squash. Now if you learned this in school or elsewhere as I did, you might have assumed these three plants were “sisters” because they were a vital part of their overall diet. And that’s true!
But here’s the rest of the story. When planted together, they actually help the others to grow. The beans, first of all, are the “nitrogen-fixers” for the other plants and they climb the stalks of the corn. The squash shades the ground for the sake of the health of the other two plants holding the moisture longer in the ground.
Now, here’s an example that might have come straight from your own garden: garlic and roses. The pungent scent of the garlic repels a portion of the rose plant’s worst pests, the aphids. Cool isn’t it? Actually to an organic gardener, it’s really quite exciting.
But you can also have the opposite affect. Some plants just don’t grow well at all when placed together. Let’s just face it; Irish potatoes don’t grow well at all when placed next to turnips or pumpkins. They all are root bound and compete for the soil.
While I may sound as if I’m not taking this very seriously, there’s actually very good reasons for companion plant growing — or in this case, non-companion plants. Tall plants may block the sun from lower lying sun-loving plants. Others may actually create some negative biochemical reaction with those around them.
Here are a few other herbs you may want to consider planting next to each other – as well as some you may want to keep apart:
Basil–This plant loves tomatoes. And you can bet it’s a mutual admiration club. In fact they are so good together some gardeners have developed a rule of (green) thumb: three basil plants for every tomato plant. Here’s one more thing you may not have known about basil – it actually repels flies and mosquitoes.
Borage–This particular herb encourages the growth of strawberries. It’s also a great companion plant for tomatoes and squash.
Chamomile–Be sure to plant Chamomile with your onions and cabbage — watch all three of them grow strong and healthy.
Chives— Did you know that if you steep chives in water, it’s a great organic method of killing powdery mildew disease? And when you plant it, make sure it’s near your carrots if you have a vegetable garden or any apple trees you may have on your property.
Dill— Dill appreciates being near cabbage, cucumbers, corn and lettuce. One hint: don’t plant dill near fennel so as to avoid cross-pollination.
Garlic— Of course, we’ve already mentioned how this plant loves tomatoes, but go ahead and plant it near fruit trees as well. Garlic repels the red spider mites. Steeped in water, this herb is another effective insecticide.
Parsley— You’ll make your parsley and your tomato plants both happy if you plant them together. You can also plant parsley with chives, carrots or even asparagus. But keep the parsley away from the mint.
Rosemary— Keep her away from the potatoes. However, you will want to plant this herb near cabbage, carrots, beans or sage.
Sage— In addition to rosemary, sage also encourages the growth and health of carrots, and cabbage. But always keep it away from your cucumbers.
Thyme— Cabbage appreciates being near thyme. This herb repels worms that love to munch on the cabbage.
For a larger list of companion plants, see my easy to use gardening system, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” There you will discover how you can improve the level of your gardening exponentially, simply with companion herb planting! You’ll have your gardening friends marveling over the health and beauty of your flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Successful Gardening …
Kali S Winters
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