Ep. 11 - What is Companion Planting + FREE Printable Companion Planting Chart - Mom Jeans and Garden Things (2024)

What is companion planting? If you’re a beginner gardener and your confused about companion planting, this simple formula is going to make everything make sense! And grab a copy of our printable companion planting chart to keep handy as you plan your garden!

As a beginner gardener, I would often come across the various benefits of companion planting. Some gardeners swear by planting French marigolds everywhere to ward off pests, while others advocate for specific crop combinations like the three sisters. Online advice was a mixed bag, with endless vegetable garden companion lists and conflicting recommendations. This podcast series actually came about from this very confusion! Through this three-part series, my goal is for you to able to create a personalized list of companion plants that fit your garden and unique requirements.

So, my first encounter with companion planting involved a rabbit fiasco. Last year, shortly after planting my garden, I lost nearly all of my newly planted seedlings within days. The culprit – rabbits. Determined to save my crops, I dived into pest control strategies. Bought some very expensive solutions (that did not work), and found that companion planting was the game-changer I needed to learn more about. It not only tackled the rabbit issue but also enhanced my garden in ways I hadn’t imagined.

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What is Companion Planting

So, what is companion planting? Companion planting is a type of gardening that allows you to plan your garden to maximize plant benefits in the space you have. In simpler terms, its planting two crops near each other for benefit. This could be a single sided benefit or a mutual benefit!

Companion planting is rooted in both anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence, and provides organic gardeners with the easiest and best chance of pest prevention and management in their garden spaces.

Do plants need to be next to each other for companion planting?

One common question that comes up with the companion planting gardening method is whether or not the plants have to be planted right next to each other! The short answer is no.

Companion plants can be plants that share the same soil and are planted right next to each other. But companion planting also includes how you layout your raised bed, or planting trap crops in the same garden but on opposite ends of the space!

Ultimately, companion planting is about maximizing your space and the benefits of each plant to enjoy bountiful harvests in your vegetable garden.

Companions vs Combatants

Now, I want to note that companion planting doesn’t just involve good companions that can go near each other but also enemy plants that should be kept apart.

For example, one traditional pairing to avoid is onions and peas. Plants in the onion family release substances that can hinder pea growth, illustrating the importance of plant compatibility in maximizing garden productivity.

Another common enemy pairing is Tomatoes and Cabbages. These two plants are both heavy feeders so they can deplete the nutrients in the soil quickly. Additionally, they are both subject to similar diseases, so planting them near each other could be detrimental to both!

What are the benefits of Companion Planting

Exploring companion planting can feel overwhelming when faced with long lists of plant pairings. The trick is not feeling pressured to grow every recommended plant. Rather, understand the purpose of companion planting – planning gardens for specific benefits. By pinpointing the advantages that matter most and prioritizing them over others, we can garden more effectively.

Here are a few of the benefits of companion planting

  1. Attracting Beneficial Insects like honey bees for pollination
  2. Repelling or trapping pests – some crops are sacrificed as trap crops to attract beneficial insects such as parasitoid wasps
  3. Disease control – avoiding planting certain crops near one another can decrease the spread of disease
  4. Enhanced soil fertiliity – planting beans can help improve the soil quality by adding nitrogen, and planting cover crops like turnips can help break up hard compacted soils.
  5. Space conservation by interplanting short and tall crops or using stalky crops like corn and sunflowers as a trellis for pole beans
  6. Weed suppression – some crops that are creeping crops can help cover the soil and decrease weed seed contact with soil and germination
  7. Adapting the physical environment – Taller crops can shade more heat sensitive crops and extend your harvest

Together, these perks help create a chemical-free, nature-loving growing space. By using plants and nature’s goodness, we can fight off pests and diseases naturally without reaching for chemicals.

How to practically do companion planting

As a beginner gardener, understanding companion planting may seem confusing so let’s simplify by using a three-step method that really helped me as I learned companion planting. Basically, for every main crop you grow, choose a flower and an herb to grow alongside it!

The flower and the herb are going to have two main functions:

  • Attracting beneficial insects
  • Deterring pests

Now let’s look at an example from my garden for how this would look. I grow in both containers and raised beds in my garden! One of the container crops I like to grow are patio tomatoes. Tomatoes often face challenges from pests like flea beetles, tomato hornworms, and slugs/snails.

To combat these threats, I plant Marigolds, Onions/Chives, and Basil in the same containers. Marigolds act as a trap crop and draw in pollinators and predatory insects, while Basil functions as a pest repellent and attracts pollinators when in bloom. Chives and Onions also play a crucial role by discouraging many common tomato pests.

Common main crops and their companions

Now I want to quickly run through a few pairing of good companion crops for 5 of the most pest riddled and common garden vegetables! If you head to the accompanying blog post, I have added a FREE printable companion planting chart for your use in the garden as well as information on most main crops! But for this episode I want to run through a few of the common pairings of main crops as well as list some of the common herbs and flowers that can be used.

Ep. 11 - What is Companion Planting + FREE Printable Companion Planting Chart - Mom Jeans and Garden Things (1)

In the next episode, we’ll discuss in more detail the herbs and flowers of companion planting.

Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Collard Greens)

Common pests:Aphids, Cabbage worms, Cabbage moth, White cabbage butterfly, Cutworms, Flea beetles, Slugs and snails

Common Companions:Garlic, Onion, Leeks, Marigold, Nasturtium, Sage, Dill, Thyme, Rosemary, Celery, Beets

Combative Plants:Strawberries, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants

Additional Notes:

Planting brassicas together can be beneficial if you cover the crops. Brassicas do not need pollination to grow, so using insect netting is a great way to manage pest pressure with these crops.

Nightshades such as tomatoes and peppers can compete for nutrients with brassicas as well as sharing diseases. So, these crops should be kept separate.

Dill is thought to decrease effectiveness of cutworm egg laying as well as supports parasitic wasp attack on pest caterpillars.

Tomato Companion Plants

Common pests:Flea Beetles, aphids, Tomato hornworms, slugs and snails

Common Companions:Onions, nasturtium, marigold, lettuce, spinach, borage, thyme, basil, parsley, peas, beans, asparagus, carrots, Calendula

Combative Plants:Brassicas, Fennel, Corn, Sweet potatoes, potatoes

Additional Notes:

Basil is one of the most commonly known companion gardening friends to tomatoes. It acts as a natural pest control method repelling whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids as well as attracting bees to promote pollination, plant health and flavor. Borage repels hornworms, and asparagus repels nematodes.

Calendula and Marigold can deter general garden pests.


Common pests:aphids, flea beetles, slugs and snails

Common Companions:Onions, nasturtium, marigold, basil, beans, peas, carrots, oregano, marjoram

Combative Plants:Brassicas, fennel, Corn, potatoes

Additional Notes:

Fennel isn’t a good friend to many plants. It releases chemicals that can affect the growth of peppers, tomatoes and many other crops.

Herbs like marjoram and oregano have insecticidal qualities that are beneficial around the garden. It’s a good idea to plant oregano separately as it can become invasive.

Additionally, carrot plants benefit from the shade of the pepper plants in the heat of the summer.


Common pests:Aphids, squash bugs, Squash vine borers

Common Companions:Marigold, nasturtium, borage, beans, peas, radishes, buckwheat, corn, oregano,

Combative Plants:Other cucurbits, potatoes, sweet potatoes

Additional Notes:

Native Americans planted squash alongside corn and beans in a companion planting method called the three sisters method. With this method, corn stalks acted as a natural trellis for beans and shade for squash. Squash plants acted as a ground cover keeping soil warm, and beans ultimately provided soil nutrients (nitrogen).


Common pests:Colorado potato beetle, aphids, flea beetles, leaf hoppers, slugs/snails

Common Companions:Nasturtium, beans, peas, horseradish, oregano, calendula, basil, catmint, tansy, cilantro

Combative Plants:

Additional Notes:

​Plants like calendula, Tansy, and horseradish planted at the corner of potato patch can ward off Colorado potato beetles (but beware, tansy is considered invasive in some areas). Also note that catmint can bring cats. Cilantro is also a great deterrent of many unwanted insects by attracting their predators.

Printable Companion Planting Chart

Now, I know we only talked about a few of the combinations that are possible, and there are countless more main crops and herb/flower combinations that can be used!

Because this is such a vast topic, I have created a printable companion planting chart that offers examples of companion planting as well as the best companion plants for 13 of the most common vegetable plants, herbs, and flowers.

Alright ya’ll, this has been such a fun episode, although, it was so hard not to try to include everything! Make sure you check out the show notes to get your copy of our printable companion planting guide.

If you dug this episode I would be honored if you would rate this podcast and spread the word to your friends who are also passionate about gardening.

Your five-star support fuels the growth of “Garden Things with Friends,” and together, we’ll cultivate a network of thriving gardens and plant-loving friends.

Happy Gardening and Remember It’s never the wrong time to Grow where you are!

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Ep. 11 - What is Companion Planting + FREE Printable Companion Planting Chart - Mom Jeans and Garden Things (2024)
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