Companion planting is choosing plants that grow well together. They may have a beneficial impact on each other, such as providing support for vining plants, or by protecting plants from insects or predators.
A great example of this is planting the Three Sisters. Native Americans would plant corn, surrounded by pumpkins and squash. At the base of the corn plants pole beans would be planted. These are the Three Sisters, integral to their diet. The corn would provide support for the pole beans to climb on, while the prickly leaves and vines of the squash and pumpkins would repel mice and raccoons from eating the corn. Another great aspect of this trio is the fact that beans fix nitrogen in the soil, making it much more fertile.
With this in mind, here are vegetable families and some great companions to plant near by.
- Beet family includes beets, spinach, Swiss chard. Plant nearby : borage, chives, Florence fennel, garlic, and shallots.
- Cabbage family, consists of arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, kale, mustard, radishes, turnips. Plant nearby : rosemary, sage, and thyme.
- Carrot family consists of carrots, celery, parsnips. Plant nearby : chives, rosemary, and sage.
- Legumes family includes beans and peas. Plant nearby : basil, dill, savory, and tarragon.
- Lettuce family includes artichokes, endive, lettuce, radicchio. Plant nearby : chives, garlic, leeks, and violets.
- Onion family consists of asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions, shallots. Plant nearby : cilantro, dill and parsley.
- Squash family consists of cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, summer and winter squash. Plant nearby : borage, dill, and nasturtiums.
- Tomato family includes eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes. Plant nearby : basil, calendula and parsley.
A great place to find open pollinated and heirloom seeds, along with a ton of gardening information is Territorial Seed Company. You can request a catalog at their website at http://www.territorialseed.com/.