18 Cabbage Family Companion Plants & 4 To Never Grow Together


Cabbages growing in a vegetable patch with many companion plants and flowers

If you are just getting started with companion planting, you’ll likely have more than a few questions.

Can I plant tomatoes next to potatoes?

What can you not plant with kale?

Why can’t I plant anise or dill by carrots?

Does the cabbage family really dislike strawberries?

And you’ll quickly find out that planning a garden based on companion planting guidelines, is a lot like deciding on that critical wedding dinner seating chart. Yes, there are templates for that too!

Just as people have difficulties getting along, so do certain plants. Only it is harder to hear their arguments.

It is also true that many garden vegetables do get along great. So, grab a notebook, write down what seeds you have to plant in your garden, and try to work out a plan. Trust in the work and gardening experience of others, and find answers to your companion planting questions along the way.

Companion planting with brassicas

Before getting started, it is good to refresh your memory, from time to time, as you get to know which plants belong to which family.

In this article we are taking a closer look at companion planting with members of the cabbage family, which are classified as brassicas.

Brassicas, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, bok choy, collard greens and Brussels sprouts are all vegetables in the cruciferous family. However, we are drawing the line at brassicas (omitting cresses and radishes), not to further confuse companion planting guidelines.

Cabbage family vegetables include cabbages, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and bok choy.

In the list of companion plants below, one can safely assume that where you can plant cabbages with beets, peas or borage, you can also plant your broccoli or kale. Of course, there may be hidden exceptions within the cabbage family. Trial and error will always be the best test.

Benefits of companion planting

As you choose to move away from monoculture, and into sustainable polycultures, you will naturally find that certain plants work better together, and others are more beneficial when they are further apart.

Companion planting can help to increase yields and quality of your crop by:

  • saving space in the garden – as you utilize crop rotation and trellising options to grow more efficiently in less space
  • attracting beneficial insects – many edible flowers are wonderful at this, be sure to include some every season!
  • distracting pests – many aromatic herbs will aid in distracting unwanted insects, others may prevent or slow the spread of disease
  • improving the soil – some plants will help to fix nitrogen in the soil, others can act as a ground cover to help prevent erosion
  • providing support – let your beans/cucumbers climb on corn or sunflowers

Embrace these symbiotic relationships, and get planting, or planning. Whichever is next on your to-do list.

Companion plants – it’s all about distance

How close together companion plants should be is a question that is not easily answered. Since companion plants are really just guides, the distance depends on the size of your garden.

Let’s say you have a small garden. If you wish to plant both garlic and beans, you want to make sure they are at opposite ends of the garden. With a larger garden (and a bigger patch of garlic) you may just want to be sure that the garlic and beans are planted several feet away, with something they both like in between. Several rows of kale and carrots should do the trick.

To make matters more complex, once you start companion planting, it is advisable to dive straight into crop rotation as well. There are certain plants that prefer not to be grown after each other, and some that prefer not to grow in the same place each year.

Vegetables to plant with cabbage

So what does your cabbage prefer to be next to?

Outside of actually talking to your cabbages to find out, you can try growing members of the cabbage family next to these experienced veggies instead.

1. Beans

Pole beans growing

If you have been wondering where to plant your beans, the answer is with beets, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and other cool-season crops.

Pole beans, for instance, when they are planted nearby members of the cabbage family, can provide shade from the heat of the sun. That is, when planted on the side that receives the hottest late afternoon sunny glare. This results in less stress and higher disease resistance for your cabbages.

Cabbages are one of those vegetables that prefer partial shade.

If you aren’t planning to grow beans this season, take the liberty to choose some vegetable, grain or herb you like even better.

2. Beets

All members of the cabbage family, including kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts do well when combined with beets.

Beets contribute essential minerals to the soil that can be taken up by cabbages slowly throughout the growing season. The beet leaves, although perhaps best eaten, also make a wonderful addition to the compost pile.

3. Buckwheat

Buckwheat flower

Technically a grain, not a vegetable, and not even remotely gluten-ous like wheat, buckwheat is related to rhubarb and sorrel. I guess that is why we love it so much!

Besides being harvested for grains, buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is often used as a green manure or cover crop. It grows well in Zones 3-7. More than that, however, buckwheat deserves a special place in your garden as an insect and bee attraction.

Buckwheat attracts several beneficial insects, including parasitic wasps that have the potential to kill cabbage worms.

4. Celery

Celery growing near cabbages

The aromatic nature of celery is one that not all insects admire, especially when it comes to the white cabbage butterfly.

When celery is planted nearby members of the cabbage family, it can help to repel damaging insects, making it far easier for you to practice organic farming. Forming a symbiotic relationship, the cabbage plays its part by creating a natural windbreak for the young, and often fragile celery.

5. Onions

Onions growing amongst cabbages

Onions naturally repel many pests that attack cabbages.

They can keep away:

  • cabbage loopers
  • cabbage worms
  • and cabbage maggots
  • aphids
  • Japanese beetles
  • and rabbits too!

A word of caution – onions should never be planted too close to other “onions”, such as leeks, shallots or garlic due to onion maggots that travel quickly from plant to plant.

Keep the onions away from peas and beans too.

Take your time in planning your garden, but don’t get too stressed with the details. Learn as you grow, and be flexible. Just because one article says it is so, it may not be another person’s experience. Some companion planting advice you just have to experiment with and see the results for yourself.

6. Peas

Peas growing amongst cabbages

Now, that we have just mentioned keeping peas out of the onion patch, here they arrive on the list of cabbage companion plants. Go ahead and plant them between your cabbages instead.

The nice thing about peas, is that once you get you linear thinking into curved lines, then you can move onto more abstract forms of gardening. Meaning that you can plop and plant your pea seeds anywhere you like in the garden.

This companion relationship may be a more neutral one, but the garden needs several of those filler options too.

7. Potatoes

Potatoes growing alongside cabbages

Going back just a moment to crop rotation. Potatoes should not be planted where nightshade family members (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers) were the season, or two, before.

Outside of that, potatoes have more likes and dislikes.

Cabbage, corn and beans can all be planted together, in combination with potatoes to benefit their growth and improve their flavor.

Best herbs and flowers for companion planting next to cabbages

Herbs make super companion plants, almost always.

Cabbages love to be surrounded by aromatic plants, with the single exception of rue. An unlikely addition, though a beautiful one, that you may still wish to add to your garden border.

8. Borage

A beautiful borage flower

With so much going on, companion planting starts to feel like a lot of work sometimes.

On the bright side, it introduces you to some new, interesting and useful plants.

Borage is a stupendous plant to have in the garden.

In particular, it works side-by-side your cabbages to repel both cabbage worms, and tomato worms, as it attracts beneficial insects. You can crystalize the borage flowers as a bonus!

9. Chamomile

Cabbages growing amongst chamomile flowers

One beneficial plant that may be missing from your garden is chamomile.

If your desire is to produce vegetables organically in your backyard, it is worth a look to see if it will grow in your plant hardiness zone (3-9). Chamomile is one of those plants that thrives in partial shade.

In relation to planting chamomile near cabbages, it is said to repel cabbage moths. Prevention, rather than spraying, is the best remedy any day.

10. Coriander/cilantro

Cilantro is the stems and the leaves, and coriander is the seeds of the same plant – just to clear any confusion from the start.

Besides repelling certain cabbage-loving insects, coriander also grows well with mint, basil, tansy and yarrow.

You may want to create an herb spiral or a mandala garden to incorporate as many companion planting herbs as possible in (or close to) your garden for the best possible harvests.

11. Dill

Large cabbages growing alongside dill

No garden should be without dill. Especially if you plan on canning dill pickles later in the summer.

Plant it once, let it drop its seeds, and you will continue to find new dill plants as the seasons move on. Think of it as a self-seeding annual.

What about planting dill and cabbages next to each other?

Dill also happens to be another attraction for beneficial insects. As such, dill helps to repel cabbage moths, worms and loopers, anything with an appetite to devour many a brassica.

12. Hyssop

Another underused herb in the garden, that does remarkably well even in times of drought, is hyssop.

Bees and butterflies are both attracted to hyssop flowers. Yet, as an “insect repellent”, hyssop is repelling cabbage butterflies and cabbage moth larvae.

Some gardeners may even proclaim that hyssop repels slugs that feed on lettuce and cabbage. We’ll take their word for it.

13. Marigolds

A cabbage bed with lots of marigolds

Just as dill needs to be in your garden, so too, should be a handful of marigolds.

Besides adding a touch of vibrant color to the garden, marigolds (Tagetes erecta and Tagetes patula), African and French marigolds respectively, are great at suppressing nematodes that attack the roots of plants.

This makes marigolds particularly useful when planted with tomatoes.

Consider adding a border of marigolds around the crops you wish to protect most. They will repel cabbage worms for all members of the cabbage family.

14. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums growing amongst kale

To deter insects of the cabbage family, all you need to do, is plant your favorites from the aromatic herbs/flowers included in this list.

If I had to choose one, it would be nasturtiums planted next to cabbages, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, for they flower for a good portion of the summer.

However, I would never choose just one companion herb for our cabbages, especially when there are so many delicious and nutritious herbs to choose from.

15. Rosemary

Strongly scented rosemary certainly has its benefits, and not just in your cooking.

This sun-loving plant repels cabbage loopers from all cruciferous vegetables, by smell alone. So, if you wish to harvest loads of kale from your garden, be sure to have a rosemary bush nearby.

Rosemary also repels carrot flies, increasing the vigor and vitality of your carrots, making them more than suitable for fermenting, with rosemary of course!

16. Tansy

Rather than tansy being beneficial for your cabbages, it is thought that cabbage is beneficial for your tansy.

It will also help beans, corn, cucumbers and squash. If you are in search of a gap filler, try planting a little tansy to attract as many beneficial insects as possible.

17. Thyme

Again, when thinking about wholesome cabbages versus those with holey leaves, pesky cabbage worms come to mind, but hopefully not to your garden.

Another plant that works successfully to deter cabbage worms is thyme.

It has also been noted that planting red varieties of cabbage, instead of the more common green cabbage, makes it easier to spot the worms. Giving you more power over hand picking and destroying the larvae, however you see fit as a means of insect control.

18. Yarrow

Strange, but true, one of my favorite herbal teas is yarrow (Achillea millefolium). If you’ve ever drunk a mug of it before, you may be questioning my {bitter} choice in teas, nevertheless, yarrow is a terrific perennial to keep in your garden.

Yarrow attracts loads of beneficial insects and can be found buzzing under the fullest sun of the day. The flowers even entice parasitic wasps who, in turn, lay their eggs in cabbage butterfly caterpillars.

Understanding and implementing companion planting is a wonderful way to garden using permaculture practices, gardening in harmony with nature.

4 plants to NOT grow next to your cabbages

Naturally, there is always a handful of competitors or unfriendly neighbors in the garden.

Here are a few plants that prefer to be further away from your cabbages, to keep peace in the garden.

Lettuce

Lettuce growing with cabbages

It is common knowledge that lettuce appreciates being planted with chives and garlic. Cabbage, however, does not like garlic, nor does it enjoy the company of lettuce. In some cases, root secretions from members of the cabbage family can prevent lettuce seeds from germinating.

Leave the lettuce to be planted with turnips, parsnips and radishes instead.

I highly encourage you to perform your own experiments. You may find that what doesn’t work for others, may just work for you.

Strawberries

All members of the cabbage family can be detrimental to the health of your lush strawberries.

Brassicas are said to impair the growth of strawberry plants, so if you want a mouthwatering harvest, plant them elsewhere!

If you are going to companion plant anything with strawberries, make it borage.

Tomatoes

A tomato plant growing in a bed of cabbages

If you get carried away each year with planting tomatoes in your garden, know that you are not alone. We all desire that bountiful harvest with bucketful after bucketful of tomatoey goodness.

Keep in mind that broccoli, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi and other Brassicas are to steer clear of tomatoes, as the relationship is not beneficial, particularly for the tomatoes. Experience indicates that members of the cabbage family inhibit tomato growth. This is true of planting fennel next to tomatoes as well.

Rue

Finally we are left with rue – and whether or not it should be planted next to cabbages. Articles and experts alike tend to agree that they shouldn’t be planted together, though “why” remains unclear.

What is clear about companion planting, however, is that it is okay to not understand every plant relationship, or try to guess what may be going on between them.

Let the plants keep some secrets to themselves.

The post 18 Cabbage Family Companion Plants & 4 To Never Grow Together appeared first on Rural Sprout.

Source: ruralsprout.com

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