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Being a gardener  in Lubbock is a greater challenge than I imagined, but each year is getting better.
Come follow my progress as I get my hands in Texas soil.

Joy Blooms . . .
with veggies, flowers, birds, butterflies, & creatures
                                                                                                                            This page last updated:   05/08/2016 08:07 AM

Good & Bad Neighbors in the Garden
(Notes to myself)

  • Parsley & Asparagus increases the vitality of the each other
  • Tomatoes protect Asparagus against that awful asparagus beetle.


Beans  More about Beans
  • Beans planted with Carrots & Cauliflower are mutually beneficial.
  • Marigolds planted with beans helps to repel the Mexican bean beetle.  They are pretty & perky too.
  • Pole Beans are great neighbors to corn.  The vines anchor the corn.  Really good here in windy Lubbock.
  • Grow Pole Beans on an "inverted-V" Trellis and plant radishes underneath.  The radishes will appreciate the shade.
  • INHIBITED BY all members of the Onion Family
  • Compost the spent plants or turn under to enrich the soil.
  • Summer Savory improves their growth & also deters bean beetles.
  • Tansy is a good neighbor to beans, cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, etc), corn, roses.  It wards of flying pests. Plant in pots - it is invasive & ugly.
  • Sage deters cabbage flies, repels many bean parasites
  • Less likely to suffer from beetles if petunias also planted alongside. 
  • Good for adding minerals to the soil. The leaves are composed of 25% magnesium making them a valuable addition to the compost pile if you don't care to eat them.
  • Keep away from Runner or pole beans.  They tend to stunt each other's growth.
Brassicas (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Turnips)  
  • Herbs such as hyssop, rosemary or sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas.
  • Sage deters cabbage flies, repels many bean parasites
  • Brassicas are heavy feeders.  Be sure to supply plenty of compost or decomposed manure.  They need lime, phosphorus & potash to excel.
  • Place peppermint in pots at the corners of Brassicas bed.  Mints are invasive and can be contained in pots.
  • Plant Chamomile & Celery with cabbage as it Improves growth and flavor. Plant Chamomile & Celery sparingly.
  • Dill improves the growth and health of cabbage and dill blossoms attract honeybees.
  • Plant spinach at 6 to 12 inch intervals amongst broccoli to reduce bug damage.
  • Thyme deters to white flies & cabbage worms. 
  • Don't plant tansy because it actually attracts cabbage worms.
  • Sweeter tasting carrots result from a sufficient level of lime.  Be sure to supply plenty of compost or decomposed manure.
  • Rosemary will repel carrot flies
  • Intercropping onions and leeks with your carrots confuses the carrot and onion flies!
  • Chives improve the flavor of carrots.
  • Nasturtium improve radish growth and flavor.
  • Celery improves the growth of nearby plants.
  • Celery repels cabbage butterflies.
  • Planting chives with carrots will improve both the growth and flavor of your carrots.
  • Grapes benefit from chive's ability to repel aphids.
  • Beets and carrots are good companion plants for chives. When chives are planted near carrots that have been allowed to bloom, it confuses both onion and carrot flies.
  • Asparagus, beans, peas and spinach are all bad companion plants for chives.


  • Peas & Pole Beans add nitrogen to the soil, which the corn needs.  As they vine up the corn plant, they anchor the corn.
  • Crops left to vine on the ground (cucumbers, melons, squash) like the shade provided by the corn stalks. Also cucumber allowed to grow up the corn stalks help to anchor the stalks.
  • Marigolds repel the Japanese beetle.  They munch on the marigolds instead of the corn silk.
  • Nasturtiums planted around corn will help fight corn borers
  • Planting Sunflowers with corn is said by some to increase the yield of corn.
  • Tansy is a good neighbor to beans, cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, etc), corn, roses.  It wards of flying pests.  Plant in pots - it is invasive & ugly.
  • Pumpkin or melon vines at the base of corn smothers the weeds & helps the corn retain moisture in its roots.


  • Icicle Radishes planted among Cucumber vines will drive away harmful insects such as cucumber beetles.
  • Nasturtium improves growth and flavor of cucumbers
  • Dill planted with cucumbers helps by attracting beneficial predators.
  • Tansy deters flying bugs, cucumber beetles, ants, flies, squash bugs & Japanese beetles.
  • Mulch during the heat of the summer to prevent wilt disease.
  • Plant with Bush Beans to repel the Colorado potato beetle which like to munch on eggplant.
  • Needs plenty of water & best grown in soil with lots of compost.  It prefers filtered light.


  • Leeks chase away carrot flies & carrots help leeks grow and enhance flavor.
  • Leeks are very heavy feeders; planting in well-rotted manure is best.
  • Lettuce is a cool weather crop.  It needs plenty of water.  Plant in the spring and fall - will not do well in the heat of the summer.
  • Plant under the trellis tents of cucumbers to avoid the hot sun.
  • Plant radishes with lettuce to enhance the flavor of the radishes.
  • Lettuce grows well in the shade under young Sunflowers. 
  • Dill and lettuce are a perfect pair.
  • Keep lettuce away from cabbage. Cabbage is a deterrent to the growth and flavor of lettuce.
  • Don't plant melons, cucumbers or squash (cucurbits) where the other cucurbits grew the previous year.
  • Melons & cucurbits will not have many pests if planted in the spring or fall.
  • Morning Glory is thought to encourage the germination of melon seeds.
  • Elevate the growing melons to discourage invasions of worms.   Placing of several layers of waxed paper works too.
  • Melon leaves add calcium to the compost pile.
  • Okra is a warm weather plant that needs lots of water. Plant in rows with a trench in the middle to collect water.
  • Plant lettuce around your okra plants and they will shade the lettuce in the summer giving you some more growing time
  • Onion maggots move from plant to plant.  To out smart them, scatter onions willy-nilly throughout the garden.
  • Planting chamomile and summer savory with onions improves their flavor.
  • Parsley will drive away carrot flies, so plant parsley among carrots.
  • Roses appreciate parsley's ability to ward off the rose beetle.
  • Parsley adds vitality to both tomatoes & asparagus
  • Add the spent pea plant to the compost pile or turn under.  The pea plant is an excellent source of nitrogen.
  • Peanuts are great soil builders.
  • Consider planting in succession after an earlier crop has been harvested
  • Encourages growth of corn and squash.
Peppers, Bell
  • Okra plants will act as a wind break for the brittle pepper plants
  • Don't plant Tomatoes near potatoes.  It makes the potatoes vulnerable to potato blight.
  • Interplant watermelons with potatoes.   The Potatoes will appreciate the "living mulch" of the vines.
  • Horseradish, planted at the corners of the potato patch, provides general protection.
  • Alyssum makes a perfect living mulch for potatoes.
  • Marigold deters beetles.
  • Dill may help repel squash bugs.
  • Do not rotate radishes with Brassicas.
  • Plant with cucumbers, melons, & squash to ward off the striped cucumber beetle.
  • Plant with tomatoes to discourage the two-spotted spider mite.
  • Summer planting of leaf lettuce with radishes makes the radishes more tender.
  • Plant Tansy with fruit trees, roses and raspberries keeping in mind that it can be invasive and is not the most attractive of plants.
  • Parsley increases the fragrance of roses when planted around their base
  • Alyssum flowers attract hoverflies whose larva devour aphids.
  • Tansy is a good neighbor to beans, cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, etc), corn, roses.  It wards of flying pests.  Plant in pots - it is invasive & ugly.
  • seems to do well with strawberries
  • Icicle Radishes planted among Squash vines will drive away cucumber beetles & rust flies.  Don't harvest the radishes.
  • Nasturtiums repel squash bugs.
  • Plant early spring and in the fall to avoid having bug problems.


  • Borage and strawberries help each other.  Scatter Borage in strawberry bed to enhance the fruits flavor and yield of the berries.
  • Onions planted with strawberries help the berries fight disease.
  • Bush Beans and Strawberries do well together.
Sweet Potatoes
  • Summer savory helps to confuse and perhaps repel the sweet potato weevil.
  • Once you have found a home for Tomatoes, plant them there each year.  Tomatoes like to grow in the same place.
  • Always water Tomatoes plants from BELOW and water deeply.
  • Don't plant Tomatoes near potatoes.  It makes the potatoes vulnerable to potato blight.
  • Don't plant dill near tomatoes.  Dill attracts the tomato horn worm.
  • Basil & Bee Balm (Monarda) reportedly increases the growth & improves the flavor of Tomatoes.  Basil is also said to repel tomato hornworms.
  • Tomatoes grow better with carrots, but may stunt the carrots' growth.  Plan not to harvest the carrots.
  • Chives improves the flavor of tomatoes.
  • Do not plant turnips where any member of the Brassicas family was planted the previous year.
  • Peas are good companions for turnips. Peas fix nitrogen in the soil.
  • Do not plant potatoes, radishes or other root vegetables near your turnips. These vegetables compete for nutrients; resulting in a diminished turnip crop size.
  • Watermelons need lots of sun.  Be careful not to shade them with taller plants.
  • Interplant watermelons with potatoes.   The Potatoes will appreciate the "living mulch" of the vines.
  • Nasturtium helps to deter bugs and beetles.
Bean Family–beans, peas, peanuts
Carrot Family–carrots, dill, fennel, celery, parsley, cilantro
Cabbage Family–cabbage, brussels, bok choy, cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli, collards, turnips, radishes, kale
Corn Family–corn, wheat, oats, rice, other cereal grains
Daisy Family–lettuce, artichoke, Sunflowers, daisy, asters , marigold
Goosefoot Family–spinach, beets, chard
Gourd Family–squashes, melons, cucumbers
Lily Family–asparagus, onion, shallots, garlic, chives
Mint Family–oregano, mint, basil, rosemary, sage, lavender, thyme
Nightshades Family–tomato, petunia, potato, peppers
Rose Family–roses, strawberries, blackberries, apples, pear, raspberries
  1. Companion Plants that repel pest insects and/or disease are:  Marigolds, Lavender, Wormwood, Basil, Chamomile, Chives, Mint, Rosemary, Parsley, Hyssop, Thyme, Catnip and Garlic
  2. Companion Plants that attract beneficial insects and/or birds are: most members of the Daisy Family (Compositae) such as Cosmos, Coreopsis, Sunflowers, Tansy, Goldenrods, Black-Eyed Susan’s, Purple Coneflowers, Asters and Gay feathers while non daisy members include Dill and Fennel. Many native Ohio trees, shrubs, perennials and grass that bear fruit or seed will help to attract birds to ones gardens.
  3. Companion Plants that enrich garden soils with nitrogen and biomass are: most legume crops and members of the Papilionaceae Family such as Sweet peas, Pole Beans and Peanuts.  Other nitrogen rich plants include Lupines, Lespedeza, False Indigo, Clover and Black Locust.
  4. Companion Plants that trap pest insects include: Radishes, Nasturtiums, Collards, Borage, Mustard, Lantana and Tomatoes (plant Trap Plants near desirable plantings, and be sure to remove them once they become infested with pest insects)

Herbs :

Parsley is a multi-purpose herb. Planted among tomatoes and asparagus, it wards off beetles and attracts hoverflies that eat pest insects. Let some go to seed to attract tiny parasitic wasps that can take care of all your hornworm problems. Parsley also increases the fragrance of roses when it is planted around their base.

Mint (any flavor) deters aphids, white cabbage moths, flea beetles, fleas and ants. Bees and other beneficial insects and pollinators, however, love mint. Earthworms are also attracted to mint plantings. Since once established, mint is a prolific plant, you can cut off the tops to use as mulch around plants that you want to protect from critters. Basil planted with tomatoes will improve growth and flavor. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. It is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. Do not plant near rue.

Marjoram improves the flavor of vegetables and herbs when planted near them. Comfrey accumulates calcium, phosphorous and potassium and redeposits these in the soil and in compost if added to the pile. Also deposits minerals if used as a mulch. It likes wet spots to grow in, is a traditional medicinal plantand a good trap crop for slugs.

Chili Peppers have a root exudate that prevents root rot and other Fusarium diseases. Plant where you have had these problems. Teas made from hot peppers are useful as insect sprays.

Chives improves growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes. A tea of chives may be used on cucumbers to prevent downy mildew.

Dill improves the growth and health of cabbage, onions and cucumbers, but doesn't like carrots at all. Keep them apart, but plant near lettuce. Dill attracts hoverflies and predatory wasps. It can be planted away from your tomatoes to attract hornworms. It also is a favorite food for the swallowtail butterfly larvae.

Garlic will repel aphids, and garlic sprays are used to get rid of all sorts of pests, including deer. Used as a soil drench, the plants take up the garlic and become hardier and more pest repellent, but do not begin to taste like garlic! Many fruit and rose growers surround their plants with garlic to protect them from pests and encourage healthy growth.

Horseradish can be an invasive plant, but it is good for keeping away the Colorado potato bug. Plant in containers in the potato patch. You can also make a tea from the root that has antifungal properties and works as an insect spray as well.

Lavender repels fleas and moths. Flowering lavender nourishes many nectar-feeding and beneficial insects.

Lemon Balm has citronella compounds that deter bugs. Dried and made into a powder and sprinkled around the garden, it will keep many pests away. Rub the leaves on your skin to keep mosquitoes away.

Rosemary is a good companion plant to cabbage, beans, carrots and sage.

Tansy deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, ants and mice. Tie up and hang a bunch of tansy leaves indoors as a fly repellent. Plant with fruit trees, roses and raspberries.


Beans and peas enrich the soil with nitrogen captured from the air. In general they are good company for carrots, brassicas, beets, and cucumbers. Great for heavy nitrogen users like corn and grain plants. Pole beans, sweet corn and melons are a good combo. Keep beans away from the alliums. Beets are good for adding minerals to the soil. The leaves are composed of 25% magnesium. Companions are lettuce, onions and brassicas. They also are good for loosening compacted soil.

Brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages) benefit from chamomile, peppermint, dill, sage, and rosemary. They need rich soil with plenty of lime to flourish.


Flowering plants encourage beneficial insects and pollinators to the garden. Mix in flowers to keep your garden beautiful and lively. Four O'Clocks draw Japanese beetles like a magnet. They dine on the foliage and it poisons them on the spot. Be careful that your kids know they are also poisonous to humans.

There are lots of other plant partners that will make your garden more vigorous and pest resistant. This fascinating study has been going on for years as gardeners observe the combinations that work well in their own gardens. Watch yours and see what works!

Sacred Sisters

The term "Three Sisters" or "Sacred Sisters" emerged from the Iroquois creation myth. It was said that the earth began when Sky Woman who lived in the upper world peered through a hole in the sky and fell through to an endless sea. The animals saw her coming, so they took the soil from the bottom of the sea and spread it onto the back of a giant turtle to provide a safe place for her to land. This "Turtle Island" is now what we call North America. Later Sky Woman buried her daughter in this new land and from her grave grew three sacred plants - corn, beans and squash. These plants provided food for succeeding generations.

For centuries many Native American tribes have cultivated corn, beans and squash together. This ancient style of companion planting has played a key role in the survival of all people in North America. Grown together these crops are able to thrive and provide high-yield, high-quality crops with a minimal environmental impact. Corn, beans and squash have a unique symbiotic relationship in an American garden. Corn offers a structure for the beans to climb. The beans, in turn, help to replenish the soil with nutrients. The large leaves of squash and pumpkin vines provide living mulch that conserves water and provides weed control.

Corn, beans and squash combine to create a nearly perfect meal loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. In addition to its nutritional values, all Native American tribes that grew corn considered it a sacred and spiritually valuable plant.




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