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Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

Sean Cawley
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The Vegetable Garden at the Southern Oregon Research Extension Center is managed by Master Gardeners who are growing a variety of vegetables. They are using companion planting techniques as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, and to add nutrients to the soil and improve plant productivity.


CHIVES (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives are cultivated in the garden for their culinary value as well as their ability to repel a variety of insects such as aphids, carrot flies, potato beetles, cucumber beetles and to attract pollinators. They are also known to add flavor to tomatoes and deter blackspot when planted near roses.



YARROW (Achillea millefolium)

Shallots (Allium ascalonicum), garlic (Allium sativum) and yellow yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

 Plant rotation is used and this year shallots and garlic are planted in these rows. Notice the yellow yarrow at the end of the rows. Yarrow is another wonderful companion plant, as it attracts pollinators such as honey bees and other beneficial insects such as wasps, lady bugs, and hoverflies. This garden has over eight separate plants of yellow and white yarrow.


NASTURTIUMS (Tropaeolum majus)

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

Nasturtiums are not only a lovely flowering plant to have in your garden, but the flowers also make a wonderful addition to salads and the plant has medicinal properties as well. Nasturtiums also attract aphids and are useful as a trap crop to keep them away from other vegetables. Plant them near your apple trees to help repel codling moth.




Onions, tomatoes, lavender and basil

Onions (Allium cepa), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and basil (Ocimum basilicum) make for great companions. Basil actually helps tomatoes grow more vigorously. Onions repel many types of insects as well as ground squirrels and other small four-legged critters. Lavender is a great companion for squash, yarrow, onions and tomatoes. In this photo you can spot lavender, onions, tomatoes and basil all interspersed together. The onions were planted very early in the late winter. They were planted as a perimeter surrounding the tomatoes, basil and peppers which were planted later. The lavender is a perennial and acts as a sentry for the garden.



 These onions were planted later in the season. The bed looks a bit sparse in comparison to the other beds with onions.








California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)


Flowers attract pollinators and insects of all sorts. This year the flower garden was planted with a variety of PNW wildflowers.





Yarrow, Onions, Tomatoes and Basil

 Here you can spot yarrow, onions, tomatoes, peppers and basil together.







Note that the information regarding specific companion plants may or may not be supported by extensive scientific studies, but there are centuries of anecdotal support for companion planting techniques.