GeneralSustainable Farming

Companion Planting – Plant Friends with Benefits

Companion Planting Improves
Garden Success!

Early in my gardening adventure, I planted tomatoes and cabbage in rows next to each other and watched my tomatoes turn yellow with blight and disease. I had no idea that tomatoes and the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts) pass diseases to each other. What a learning experience. I felt like such a failure…especially after all that work.

As luck would have it, I came across a gardening article in the local paper about companion planting and found out why my plants didn’t thrive. Here are some common vegetables that are not friends:
Corn Tomatoes
Bush beans Onion
Pole Beans Beets/Cabbage/Tomatoes
Cabbage Tomatoes
Celery Carrots
Potatoes Cucumbers
Eggplant Corn/Lettuce/Onions

There is a plethora of information on the web concerning companion planting and often the information is contradictory. The list that I like the best is found here: and it was verified by a friend in Ag Extension. You can download the file and keep it electronically or print out in hard copy.

The list is color coded with red, green and yellow. Red is stop (not friends), Yellow (ok, but not best friends), and green is great (best friends). I use this list with our garden renters to help them plan out ‘friendly gardens’ that will thrive.

Many herbs will deter pests and help their friend veggies to thrive. A great example of an herb/veggie marriage is tomatoes and basil. Most knowledgeable gardeners will plant basil in the same area as their tomatoes, because the herb will confuse the pest with smell and the tomatoes will be more flavorful. Garlic is also a friend of the tomato plant and will help to deter deer and other varmints because the wildlife does not like the smell of garlic. I’m not sure if the garlic will help the flavor of your tomatoes, but you could definitely plant a border with it.

I hope these tips help you to have a more successful garden this year! If you have more questions about companion planting or any gardening topic, send me an email: