You garden layout works on many levels, from its aesthetic design to its ease of navigation to the productivity and vitality of its individual plantings. Where you position each plant in relation to the others has a strong effect on its growth. Particularly when considering plants with edible or usable crops, select your garden's layout by carefully considering interactions and relationships between species.
Herbs and Aromatics
Many herbs play an important role within the garden, serving as valuable companion plants. Planting basil alongside tomatoes repels mosquitoes, flies and hornworms from the garden. Planting catnip near eggplant protects it from flea beetles and from ants. Alongside the cabbage and onion, plant plenty of chamomile. Dill keeps aphids or mites from preying on a range of vegetables, from cabbage to lettuce to cucumber. Mint protects cabbage or tomatoes from cabbage moths, ants, aphids or flea beetles.
Where you plant flowers affects their health and the vitality of the plants around them. Some varieties are best planted within the vegetable patch. Marigolds ward off nematodes, Mexican bean beetles, tomato hornworms and whiteflies. Nasturtiums repel host of pests including cabbage moths, pumpkin beetles, squash beetles, aphids, whiteflies and potato beetles.
If you have a long growing season, start some of your crops early in the spring and wait to start others until the weather warms up. At the end of summer, you may fit in another crop of cool-season favorites. Among those vegetables that prefer a slight chill, plant carrots together with lettuce, cabbage and leek. The leek repels the carrot fly, while carrot repels the leek moth. Plant onions alongside cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower. This keeps rabbits away.
Beans and cucumbers grow well together, as do beans and corn. Corn stalks provide support to climbing bean plants, while the bean plant's structure discourages raccoons and other creatures from feeding on the corn's ears. Plant peppers with tomatoes, but avoid placing them alongside potatoes or eggplants or other species from the same family, as this can increase the plants' susceptibility to common pests.
Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.