How Close Do Companions Need to Be?

mprevost(7)March 10, 2006

I've been reading about companion planting. It makes sense and I plan to try it.

I'm more concerned about the bad companions. They say beans and onions don't like each other, but beans and carrots do (as well as carrots and onions). I plan on planting a row pole beans (along a fence line for support), with a row of carrots beneath them. If I planted onions on the other side of the carrots (so the carrots are between the beans and onions) would that put the beans and onions far enough apart? The beans and onions would be a foot or two apart with carrots in between.

--------------------------- Fence

B B B B B B B B B B B B B B Beans

C C C C C C C C C C C C C C Carrots

O O O O O O O O O O O O O O Onions

Also, how close do good companion plants (like tomato and basil) need to be to gain benefits from each other? Does the magic happen underground (root level, stuff exuded into soil) or it is only related to the fragrance of the plants?


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I use tomatoes, basil, and parsely as companions with huge success. I usually plant a tomato plant then plant the basil and parsely on each side a little in front of them about 6-8 inches so they are not shaded to much by the tomatoes when they get big. Then I put marigold, nasturtium, and zinnia behind them 8-10 inches. I had the biggest crop of tomatoes using this method in the 5 years I have been gardening this space. And I had no horn worms or any other bug for that matter.

Marigold Nasturtium zinnia Marigold nasturtium zinnia
Tomato Tomato Tomato Tomato Tomato
Basil Parsely Basil Parsely Basil Parsely

Hope this helps. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 3:47PM
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Very cool. I put basil, chamomile, bush beans and habenero peppers next to my tomatoes.

bb bb bb bb bb
bb bb bb bb bb

bb = bush bean
H = habenero
C = chamomile
T = tomato

I was thinking that the beans may help feed the tomatoes since they fix nitrogen. I have onions and carrots everywhere (except real close to beans). Some may get shaded out (by okra plants or maybe by nearby carrots), but I'll learn.

A couple of weeks ago a hail storm turned by garden into tossed salad, but it's recovering. Just not as pretty as it used to be. I was depressed about it for a week. It's the only hail storm I've ever witnessed and it had to happen to my first garden. I must have done something really bad. Oh well.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 4:51PM
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I'm so sorry about the hail storm. I would be devistated myself. Chamomile is the best companion plant I have found. I use chamomile tea to water my seedlings and they are the best I have ever grown. Chamomile tea is suppossed to help ailing plants. maybe it will help your hail bombed plants.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 3:20PM
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frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)

I have a big feverfew plant that is in the chamomile family. Has anyone ever used that for a tomato companion?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 5:00PM
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