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Companion Planting

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26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side. Organic gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary (even mysterious) powers to help each other grow. Scientific study of the process, called companion planting, has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those combinations—and practical experience has demonstrated to many gardeners how to mate certain plants for their mutual benefit.

(Check out our handy Gardening For Beginners Guide if you're just starting out.) Companions help each other grow—tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants. Here, 26 plants that are way better together. (Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!) The 13 Best Companion Plants. PHOTO: Bernhard Friess/Flickr If you are perusing seed catalogs and planning your garden for the coming season, you may be thinking about ways to increase yields, prevent pests from damaging your crops, or growing more vigorous and tasty plants without resorting to chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

The age-old method of companion planting, used by gardeners from Ancient Rome to the Americas, addresses all of these common gardening issues. Companion plants are vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and flowers grown together in a “buddy system” that encourages natural pest control and fertilization and attracts pollinators and other helpful wildlife to your crops. This garden technique is based on the simple idea that if certain plants are grown near one another, they will benefit each other. The following list of some well-known plant companions that have been found to be useful in many gardens. Three Sisters Tomatoes and Basil Comfrey Yarrow Borage Stinging Nettle Rosemary Cosmos.