Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Plants that grow better together

Words by Eric Taunton
Illustration by Hollis Callas


We may have had to stay six feet apart this past year—but vegetables don’t. Some vegetables benefit each other when planted side by side. This is called companion planting. Here are a few of the plants that grow better together:

Tomatoes and basil: Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, which helps your tomatoes produce a healthy crop. 

Corn and green beans: Green beans usually need a trellis to help them grow, but if they are planted by corn, they will grow up the cornstalk.

Basil and asparagus: Basil deters asparagus beetles—insects that eat the tips of asparagus shoots. Growing these vegetables together attracts ladybugs, which helps deter harmful insects such as aphids. 

Onions and strawberries: The onions’ odor deters insects from feeding on strawberry plants.

Cucumber and corn: Cucumbers help corn retain soil moisture, and they prevent weeds and provide shade. Corn returns the favor by repelling pests. 

Peppers and basil: Basil protects the pepper plant by repelling harmful insects such as  mosquitoes, spider mites, and aphids. 

Strawberries and spinach: Spinach provides shade for strawberries, while strawberries provide spinach with protection against fungi. 

Asparagus and tomatoes: Tomatoes carry the chemical solanine, which protects asparagus from pests such as asparagus beetles. Asparagus repels nematodes, which attack the roots of tomatoes.