Companion Planting with Herbs - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady
107 Nott Terrace, Suite 301 Schenectady, NY 12308 Phone: (518) 372-1622; Fax: (518) 372-8703 www.cceschenectady.org Companion Planting with HerbsCreate a balance of life on the plot of earth you till. Sprays, dusts and traps become unnecessaryas beneficial predators and parasites reach the point where they can keep the numbers ofpotential pests at a low, tolerable level. The key word here is “tolerable”. It describes apeaceful state of garden activity in which the bugs keep themselves in line, with the only price tothe gardener being occasional nibbles taken out of a few crops. You should always strive to havea supply of beneficial insects at hand.Obviously, chemicals are inimical to this delicate balance of life. Many organic gardeners don’trealize either that nontoxic homemade sprays can also upset the balance and pave the way for apest infestation. The best advice for pulling any crop through the season is: Don’t interfere untilthe bug damage becomes Intolerable.Remember: a pest can be further discouraged by planting crops it likes next to plants it can’tstand -- companion planting.While it may seem to the average gardener that bugs are crawling over everything in the garden,chances are that a few plants are having no trouble at all. Garlic, marigolds, and mints areknown for their built-in repulsiveness to bugs, and a number of other plants have this fortunatetrait, too.Many organic gardeners have observed that repellent plants provide some protection on nearbycrops of up to a distance of about three feet. Some herbs turn off a whole variety of insects whileothers are effective against only a particular pest.If a bug has been troubling you season after season, check the list below to see if there is aprotective plant that could be used against it.Ants (and the aphids they carry) Pennyroyal, spearmint, southern-wood, tansyAphids The above, as well as; garlic, chives, and other alliums; coriander, anise, nasturtium around fruit treesBorer Garlic, tansyCabbage maggot Planted in adjacent rows; mint, rosemary, sageCabbage moth Mint, hyssop, rosemary, southern-wood, thyme, sage, wormwood, catnip, nasturtiumCarrot fly Rosemary, sage, wormwood, various alliums, corianderColorado potato beetle Horseradish, dead nettle, flax Building Strong and Vibrant New York Communities Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.
Cucumber beetle (spotted & striped) TansyCutworm TansyEelworm Marigold (French & African)Flea Beetle Wormwood, mint catnipFruit tree moth SouthernwoodGopher Mole plantJapanese beetle Garlic, tansy, rueMexican bean beetle Marigold, rosemary, summer savoryMice MintMites Garlic, chivesMole Spurge, mole plantNematode Marigold (African & French) Calendula (pot marigold)Plum curcurlio GarlicRabbit Allium familySlug (snail) Prostrate rosemary, wormwoodSquash bug Tansy, nasturtiumStriped pumpkin beetle NasturtiumTomato hornworm Borage, marigold, opal basilWhite fly Nasturtium, marigoldWireworm WoadThis listing of companion plants is based on scientific evidence as well as folklore. The mainthing is not to plant your garden in strict mono-cropped rows. Diversity of plants is the easiestand most effective pesticide the home garden has.Herb Companions and EffectsBasil Companion to tomatoes; dislikes rue intensely. Improves growth and flavor. Repels flies and mosquitoes.Beebalm Companion to tomatoes; improves growth and flavor.Borage Companion to tomatoes, squash and strawberries; deters tomato worm; improves growth and flavor.Caraway Plant here and there; loosens soil.Catnip Plant in borders; deters flea beetle.Chamomile Companion to cabbages and onions; improves growth and flavor.Chervil Companion to radishes; improves growth and flavor.Chives Companion to carrots; improves growth and flavor.Dead nettle Companion to potatoes; deters potato bug; improves growth and flavor.Dill Companion to cabbage; dislikes carrots; improves growth and health of cabbage.Fennel Plant away from gardens. Most plants dislike it.Flax Companion to carrots, potatoes; deters potato bug. Improves growth and flavor.Garlic Plant near roses and raspberries; deters Japanese beetle;
improves growth and health.Horseradish Plant at corners of potato patch to deter potato bug.Henbit General insect repellant.Hyssop Deters cabbage moth; companion to cabbage and grapes. Keep away from radishes.Lamb’s-Quarters This edible weed should be allowed to grow in moderate amounts in the garden, especially in corn.Lemon Balm Sprinkle throughout garden.Lovage Improves flavor and health of plants if planted here and there.Marigolds The workhorse of the pest deterrents. Plant throughout garden, it discourages Mexican bean beetles, nematodes and other insects.Mint Companion to cabbage and tomatoes; improves health and flavor, deters white cabbage moth.Marjoram Here and there in garden, improves flavors.Mole Plant Deters moles and mice if planted here and there.Nasturtium Companion to radishes, cabbage and curcurbits; plant under fruit trees. Deters aphids, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles. Improves growth and flavor.Peppermint Planted among cabbages, it repels the white cabbage butterfly.Petunia Protects beans.Pigweed One of the best weeds for pumping nutrients from the subsoil, it is especially beneficial to potatoes; onions and corn. Keep weeds thinned,PotMarigold Companion to tomatoes but plant elsewhere in garden, too. Deters asparagus beetle, tomato worm and general garden pests.Purslane This edible weed makes a good ground cover in the corn.Rosemary Companion to cabbage, bean, carrots and sage; deters cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot fly.Rue Keep it far away from Sweet Basil; plant near roses and raspberries; deters Japanese beetle.Sage Plant with rosemary, cabbage and carrots; keep away from cucumbers. Deters cabbage moth, carrot fly.Southernwood Plant here and there in garden; companion to cabbage; improves Growth and flavor, deters cabbage moth.Sowthistle This weed in moderate amounts can help tomatoes, onions and corn.Summer Savory Plant with beans and onions; improves growth and flavor. Deters bean beetles.Tansy Plant under fruit trees, companion to roses and raspberries. Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, ants.Tarragon Good throughout garden.Thyme Here and there in garden. It deters cabbage worm.Valerian Good anywhere in garden.Wild Morning Glory Allow it to grow in corn.
Wormwood As a border, it keeps animals from the garden.Yarrow Plant along borders, paths, near aromatic herbs; enhances essential oil production.Compiled by: Virginia McCarthy, Master Gardener, Cooperative Extension of RensselaerCounty and entrepreneur of the Red Salt Box Herb Farm, Poestenkill, NY.