Fresh Clips: The Lowdown on Companion Planting

| February/March 2011

Some plants are friends; others hate each other. Such is the premise behind companion planting—the practice of growing specific crops in close proximity so that they may complement one another. Although its scientific legitimacy is up in the air, some studies have shown that many plants have specific compounds that repel pests and attract beneficial insects. Alliums (like the onion in bloom pictured here) are traditionally planted to repel whiteflies and aphids from the garden.

For centuries, gardeners and farmers have adhered to the idea of grouping kitchen gardens according to traditional “companion plant” pairings. If you want to experiment with companion planting, try the following combinations for a lovely, healthy, historic garden.

SUMMER SAVORY & BEANS. Garden to table is easy when this pair is planted together, since you may want to serve flatulence-fighting summer savory with beans.

OREGANO, THYME & SWEET ALYSSUM. This trio will attract beneficial insects.

RED CLOVER, ALFALFA & RYE. Suppresses weeds and pests while aiding nitrogen fixation in soil.

ONIONS & SALAD GREENS. The quick-growing salad greens will be harvested by the time the onions need the growing space.

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