Companion planting: Foods that help each other grow

Organic gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary powers to help each other grow. Scientific study of the process, called companion planting, has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those combinations.

Garlic and roses

Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons. Garlic helps to repel rose pests. Garlic chives are also repellent, and their small purple or white flowers look great in late spring.

Tomatoes and cabbage

Tomatoes are repellent to diamondback moth caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Radishes and spinach

Planting radishes among your spinach will draw leafminers away from the spinach. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves doesn’t prevent the radishes from growing well underground.

Beans and corn

The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, armyworms and leaf beetles. The bean vines can climb up the corn stalks.

Cabbage and dill

Dill is a great companion for cabbage family plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts. The cabbages support the floppy dill, while the dill attracts the tiny beneficial wasps that control imported cabbage worms and other cabbage pests.

Latest from South Coast Sun