Companion Planting: Discover Which Vegetables Grow Well Together

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: September 1, 2023
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You know which vegetables pair together in your favorite dishes, but did you know that some vegetable plants pair well together in the garden? Just like humans, plants have their preferences and if not paired correctly, it could spell trouble for your garden. Learn more about companion planting and discover which vegetables grow well together! Plus, learn which veggies to plant far away from one another!

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting allows you to use the available space in your garden in the most efficient manner. Not all plants grow well together, and they may even get competitive, inhibiting one another’s ability to grow. Without planning ahead and understanding which plants thrive together, you may mistakenly place plants in a difficult position, which could be detrimental to your garden and ultimately, your harvest.

When companion planting, you are placing plants together that mutually benefit each other. One veggie may enrich the soil for another veggie, or one may grow taller and bushier, offering shade to its garden friend. Some plants, when placed together, protect one another from pests, and sometimes, their pairing makes for a much more delicious flavor experience. If you’re starting a garden, make learning about companion planting a top priority so you can plan for a high yield!

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Vegetable garden

Outdoor organic vegetable gardens make for a great harvest but you must plant mindfully.

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Just as there are mutually beneficial pairings, there are also some vegetable plant pairings you should avoid. Whereas companion plants work as a team to help each other thrive, some plants immediately start competing for nutrients and water, inhibiting the growth of one another. Other plants are susceptible to the same diseases and if one gets sick, they both end up in a pickle.

Companion PlantingBenefitsDon’t Plant TogetherProblems
Cabbage and spinachRoots are at different levels, they don’t compete for nutrientsCorn and tomatoesAttract same pests and prone to fungus
Carrots and tomatoesTomatoes provide shade and carrots make tomatoes more flavorfulCabbage and peppersCabbage inhibits the growth of peppers
Corn and CucumberCorn provides shade and enriches the soilZucchini and potatoesPotatoes inhibit the growth of zucchini
Eggplants and PeppersSame nutrient requirements and they share wellSummer squash and pumpkinThey compete for space
Potatoes and PeasPeas provide shade for potatoesParsnip and carrotProne to developing the same issues
Radishes and leaf lettuceQuick one-month to harvestBroccoli and asparagusConstantly competing for nutrients

Discover Which Vegetables Grow Well Together

Cabbage and Spinach

With cabbage and spinach, you don’t need to worry about them competing with each other for nutrients. Their roots are at different layers in the soil. Cabbage belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes turnips, kale, broccoli, and others. Any of these do well with spinach, especially if they’re planted in an open space.

Members of the Brassica genus help keep weeds down to a minimum. It is recommended not to plant them too close to each other, however. Cabbage leaves shadow the spinach and may prevent the sun rays from reaching it, which would not allow it to flourish. So long as these plants are spaced apart when planting (18 to 24 inches), you can have yummy veggies that thrive well together!

Green vegetables harvested in Japan.Cabbage, spinach, japanese mastered spinach and red leaf lettuce.

Cabbage pairs well with spinach in a garden.

©aomas/Shutterstock.com

Carrots and Tomatoes

A veggie and (technically) a fruit that pairs well together in many dishes! These two make a great combination as the tomato plant can produce a shade for the carrot’s sensitivity to heat. In return, the carrots improve the tomato’s flavor. You must space them well enough, however, so that they can both fully benefit from one another.

Corn and Cucumber

By planting corn, you provide much-needed shade and nutrients for the cucumbers. When the sun gets too hot, cucumbers struggle but with shade from a neighbor, they can thrive. Corn enriches the soil with nitrogen as well, which cucumbers soak right up. As corn stalks grow, they provide climbing cucumbers with a great support system. The vines hug the stalks as they rise, which makes for a great display as they continue growing suspended in mid-air.

Eggplant and Peppers

Peppers belong to the nightshade family, which includes other veggies like potatoes and eggplants. They make a great companion to the eggplant as they share the same nutrient requirements to grow and stay healthy. The eggplant is somewhat demanding and may falter if the soil does not provide enough for its needs. It needs a lot of sunlight and plenty of water, and peppers help control soil infection. You don’t have to settle on a specific type of pepper, either. Whether you’re looking for a sweeter variety or ready to add some spice to your life, any type of pepper works with eggplant!

Potatoes and Peas

Peas and potatoes are a classic pairing! But be mindful when planting. It is an excellent idea to plant peas before the potatoes as the nitrogen they produce is highly beneficial for the potatoes. Studies have shown that the yield you can get by intercropping is much higher. The peas provide shade to the soil, and the potatoes benefit from it as they retain life-giving moisture.

Sole fish cooked

Peas and potatoes complement one another on the plate and in your garden.

©hlphoto/Shutterstock.com

Radishes and Leaf Lettuce

Radishes are a great low-maintenance addition to any garden and add a crunch and spicy flavor to a variety of cold and hot dishes. When you plant radishes and leaf lettuce together, you maximize the space these plants have to thrive in. They are both ready to harvest in about a month, which means you can have your own home-grown salads in no time at all. Use the soil for another harvest or consider planting a different kind of vegetable plant.

Discover Vegetables That Don’t Grow Well Together

Corn and Tomatoes

You’ve discovered vegetables that grow well together but here is a pair that doesn’t jibe in soil. They may work well together in salsa but not in your garden. Both of them are magnets for worms and fungus and if one gets infected, the other goes down with it.

Cabbage and Peppers

Brassica and nightshade family members are not a good match in your garden. Those of the Brassica genus, like cabbage, don’t allow the full growth of nightshade plants like peppers.

Zucchini and Potatoes

These hearty vegetables grow quickly, which makes for a great harvest. But when you plant these together, the potatoes inhibit the growth of zucchini. Potatoes ravish the soil, eating up all the nutrients, which renders zucchini unable to reach its full potential.

zucchini

Zucchini needs space to grow and potatoes hog up the available nutrients.

©iStock.com/Pack-Shot

Summer Squash and Pumpkin

Summer squash and pumpkin need lots of space to flourish. If planted together, they struggle and compete for the available space. Both of these are members of the Curcurbita genus. It’s also important to know that they can cross-pollinate, which means both can produce male and female flowers. When you plant these together, you may just end up with a rather awkward hybrid.

Parsnip and Carrot

Kind of like corn and tomatoes, parsnips and carrots are prone to developing some of the same issues. They attract the same types of pests and diseases, which makes it a complete disaster if both plants succumb to an infestation.

Broccoli and Asparagus

Both broccoli and asparagus have voracious appetites. They’re like two teenage boys having to share space and the same plate of food. It’s just not ideal. When planted together, they eat up the nutrients the other needs, which ends up inhibiting their growth. Plus, this keeps them in a constant state of competition instead of focusing on flourishing.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Valentina_G/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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