BDN - marigoldsPlanting or still planning your garden?  Then consider companion planting. Over the years, farmers and gardeners have learned that certain flowers and veggies grow well with one another.

Some flowers – such as marigolds – are a kind of ‘wonder’ flower, keeping a host of hungry beetles, aphids, and nematodes away from your flowers and vegetables, while perhaps even helping them grow bigger and stronger. If you don’t care for marigolds, try ‘wonder’ herbs such as marjoram, and oregano, herbs that keep those hungry beetles, aphids, and nematodes away and useful in all sorts of cooking adventures.

Some herbs, flowers and veggies seem to improve the flavor of other crops.  For example, dill seems to improve the flavor of anything in the cabbage family, from Brussels sprouts, to cabbage, to kohlrabi; basil and tarragon boost the flavor of almost any veggie you might plant near it; chives help carrots, tomatoes and peas and also discourage a host of hungry bugs.

Some veggies help others as well. Bush beans grow well near almost every other kind of garden vegetable except anything in the onion family. Pole beans are a bit fussier, enjoying the company of corn, marigolds, potatoes, and radishes. Swiss chard, though, doesn’t care for pole beans or onions. You can plant your tomatoes near your asparagus, basil, cabbage family, carrots, gooseberries, mustard, parsley, onions, rosemary, and sage,

Now as you might have guessed, this is a summary of many gardeners’ experiences and your experience may be different. There is one way to find out – try companion gardening this year and see if it doesn’t give you healthier and better tasting veggies come picking time.