Cucumbers love radishes but don't like potatoes

With the proper planning you can have a bug free garden without pesticides. Companion planting is based on the simple premise that certain plants benefit each other when planted together. Find out which plants like each other and let your garden grow! Life without chemicals Many municipalities are passing anti-pesticide bylaws and that means we need to learn how to garden without them. There are a lot of misconceptions about organic gardening, specifically centered on the idea that gardening without chemicals requires too much time or expertise that the average home owner simply doesn't have. Not true. Companion planting is easy, requires no special skills, and according to many gardeners over many centuries, it actually works. All that it requires is a bit of forethought and planning. Introducing friends There are two types of companion plants: combining plants or using trap crops. Plant combining is as easy learning what plants don't like to be close to others. Tomatoes are one of the most widely grown vegetables in our garden so we are always looking for ways to improve yield. Basil and bee balm grown alongside tomato plants are said to improve growth and flavor. In addition, basil will repel harmful bugs while sweet-smelling bee balm will attract bees and other beneficial insects. Radishes near cucumbers will help deter cucumber beetles; chives and garlic next to peas and lettuce will protect the latter crops from aphids; and to protect cabbage from cabbage moths, cutworms, and cabbageworms try planting rosemary, sage, or thyme nearby. Herbal repellant Another kind of companion planting is to use herbal crops that work to repel particular pests. Marigolds, for example, seem to deter many types of bugs and therefore are sometimes interspersed with vegetable plants. Likewise, planting garlic near roses is said to ward off several insect pests. Trap cropping A neighbouring plant can also be selected because it's more attractive to pests and will distract them from the main crop. This is known are trap cropping. An excellent example of this is the use of collards to draw the diamond back moth away from cabbage The pests gather on the popular trap plant and you can either ignore them, spray with a natural big repellant like water and dish detergent or destroy them by pulling out the infested plant and disposing of it. Among the best 'trap plants' is larkspur, a beautiful but poisonous member of the delphinium family. Japanese beetles and other devouring pests will flock to it, where they dine and die. No need for pesticides! Find your best reference There are many excellent books on the subject which provide a far more comprehensive list of companion plants. You might also want to turn to local gardening clubs; oftentimes they can provide ingenious 'home remedies' ideally suited to the conditions of your specific area. Online resources include:

  • Sustainable Gardening Tips
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
  • Down Garden services
  • Wikipedia list of companion planting
  • Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University
  • Companion Planting: the natural way to garden
  • Recommended Books

  • Carrots Love Tomatoes, by Louise Riotte
  • Good Neighbors: Companion Planting for Gardeners by Anna Carr
  • Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening Companion Planting by Susan McClure, Sally Roth
  • Great Gardening Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden, by Sally Jean Cunningham
  • Secrets of Companion Planting: Plants That Help, Plants That Hurt by Brenda Little
  • Andrew Hind is an organic gardening expert. Photo is courtesy of Robyn Parry, Sustainable Gardening Tips