Garden plants to “avoid” growing next to each other – follow these “basic rules” instead

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Gardeners do everything they can to keep their plants happy and healthy, but sometimes, no matter what they do, some plants just don’t go together. Plants that dislike each other may serve different environmental needs, may be in direct competition with each other for important resources, or one may attract insects that seriously harm the other. Determining plant incompatibility can be a guess-and-check situation, as soil types also influence which plants should not be planted together.

Kristi Waterworth, gardening expert at Gardening Know How, explained: “There are a few basic plant rules to avoid next to each other.

“First, check that your garden plants are all about the same size and have the same light requirements.

“Planting very tall plants like tomatoes next to bush beans, for example, is a really bad idea because the tomatoes will most likely shade the beans.”

When planting taller and shorter plants together, gardeners should ensure that the shorter plants are spaced and oriented enough for the sun to shine on them during the day.

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“Plant scientists are using these observations to develop better weed control methods for farms and gardens.”

So which garden plants should you not plant together?

Many plants are believed to have allelopathic behaviors, but many remain within the realm of garden lore and lack substantial scientific documentation.

Research in this area is sparse, but the list of plants believed to have allelopathic properties includes:

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Soy
  • Sunflowers
  • Tomatoes

When planting broccoli in gardens, be sure to practice good crop rotation, as broccoli can leave residue that other crops cannot tolerate, according to the expert.

She added: “Some plants, like alfalfa, seem to have a remarkable type of allelopathy that interferes with the germination of their own seeds.

“Garlic and onions are thought to interfere with the growth of beans and peas, but appear to be compatible with most other vegetable crops.”

Other commonly accepted plant incompatibilities include the following plants to avoid side by side:

  • Mint and onions where asparagus grows
  • Green beans and mustard near the beetroot
  • Neighbor carrots anise and dill
  • Cucumber, pumpkin, radish, sunflower, squash or tomatoes near the potato hills
  • Any member of the cabbage family near strawberries
  • Cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dill and potatoes near tomatoes
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