by Frank Niccoli
When planting a vegetable garden it is important to plant your vegetables next to plants that are compatible. For example, you would NOT plant tomatoes next to flowering tobacco. You would plant tomatoes next to basil. In fact, basil and tomatoes grow quicker and with less disease and insect problems if they are touching each other. Why? Plants in their natural setting are always growing with a variety of other plants. Plants that have roots close to the surface grow next to deep-rooted plants. Some plants have insect-deterrent properties. Companion planting maximizes space, sun, soil conditions, and moisture availability to maximize the flavor and size of your crops.
How about a list of compatibles? Okay. Beans like to be near potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and cucumbers. Tomatoes like chives, onions, basil, parsley, nasturtium, and marigolds. Squash like nasturtium and corn. Garlic likes to be with roses, raspberries, and herbs. The herbs enhance the garlic flavor. Radishes like peas, nasturtiums, lettuce, and cucumbers. Strawberries like bush beans, spinach, and lettuce. Carrots planted around the base of fruit trees will hamper insects from climbing the trunk of the tree.