Companion planting is the art of knowing which plants go well with others, and which do not. For vegetables such as broccoli, it can mean the difference between a healthy crop and a stunted one. Knowing what goes well with broccoli in companion planting will help you grow the best broccoli crop, while at the same time benefiting the companions.
Broccoli and Herbs
Like all members of the Brassica family, including cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, broccoli does well with certain aromatic herbs. Planting rosemary, dill, chamomile, sage and peppermint with your broccoli plants will help to improve their growth and health. Rosemary repels the cabbage fly, while planting geraniums with or around broccoli traps the cabbage worms that can eat right through a broccoli crop. Peppermint repels the cabbage butterfly that lays the eggs that become worms. Chamomile, in addition to helping the growth of broccoli, will improve its flavor as well.
Broccoli and Vegetables
Some vegetables don't go well with broccoli. You shouldn't plant peppers or tomatoes with broccoli, nor should you plant it with pole beans. Beans host bacteria that fix nitrogen levels. This can be too potent a fertilizer for broccoli and other members of the cabbage family. Strawberries do not make good broccoli companions.
Good vegetable companions for broccoli plants include potatoes, beets, onions and other members of the cabbage family. Celery plants can be positioned in a circle around broccoli, giving both enough room to prosper. After an early harvest of beets, try planting dill in the empty spaces near broccoli. The dill will take to the soil and improve the growth of the broccoli as it does.
Maintaining compost rich, well drained soil with the right pH level, along with the proper circulation of air, will prevent rot. Another way to keep the cabbage worm from taking root on the plants is to cover them with floating row nets, or use the organic insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis. Surrounding broccoli with the right companions is a start, but sometimes other methods need to be employed.
One of the most important tricks you can learn is companion planting. Due to many factors – soil acidity, insect attraction, space and odor, to name a few – some plants simply do not take well to being around others. Part of laying out your garden is knowing which plants to keep separated. Once you get the hang of this, it will benefit your garden in its entirety. Broccoli, like all vegetables, benefits and is benefited by certain other vegetables and herbs. Repelling pests and improving flavor and growth are among the rewards of proper companion planting.