Companion plants help each other to grow in some way. For instance, some plants can extract certain nutrients from the soil and make them more available for other plants. Some plants can be grown closely together because their needs do not overlap, so they will not compete for nutrients or space. Others provide an attractive habitat for desirable garden critters such as beneficial insects, frogs, toads, spiders, or birds.
Some plants specialize in attracting beneficial insects, and/or repelling specific pests with their smell, their flower shape, color, and size, or their allelopathic qualities – a process by which a plant releases chemicals that inhibit or benefit other plants in its vicinity. A great book on companion planting is Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte. Some of my favorite companion flowers to my vegetable patch are nasturtiums, comfrey, cosmos, dill, yarrow, marigolds, and pyrethrum daisies.
Here are just a few tips- don’t plant tomatoes near potatoes, corn or broccoli or kale. Do plant bail next to your tomatoes. It helps to repel the tomato hornworm, and makes it so easy to harvest those two things that taste so good together! Find out more info in Grow Your Own Food Made Easy available in the farmstand!