Whether you are new to gardening or a lifelong devotee, it is always wise to consult an expert before planting anything in your vegetable garden. The type of plant and the proximity of each plant to its neighbor can make all the difference in how healthy and productive your garden will be. This is referred to as ‘plant incompatibility‘. In this article, we will go in-depth on which type of vegetable and plant pairings you should avoid for optimal garden maintenance and growth.
What Vegetables Should You Not Plant Next To Each Other?
- Do not Mint Where Asparagus Is Growing
Asparagus does best when grown in a series of alternating established rows and new seedlings. Before planting new asparagus varieties, be sure to prepare an area where they can continue to grow for the next several years.
The ideal place would be a space between two existing asparagus rows that stay consistently at the same width and between two existing mint or other herb plants that stay consistently at the same distance away from other herb plants.
However, asparagus runs into issues if mint is planted close to it. The mint can grow too tall, and the asparagus seedlings can be damaged by the mint plume. Instead, use this space to plant herbs or vegetables like kale, purple broccoli, or bok choy.
Other vegetables that are good alternatives include spinach, chard, kale, red cabbage, and lettuce mix. If you are growing only a few of these types of plants, you will be fine if they grow together with asparagus.
- Don’t plant Cabbage Where Strawberries Are Growing
Cabbages and strawberries should not be grown in the same area because of the cabbage butterfly. The female cabbage butterfly lays her eggs on a strawberry blossom after it has opened. After the caterpillar hatches, it will eat the top off the strawberry and burrow it into the ground where it will eventually go to sleep for winter.
However, when spring comes, it will burrow its way back up to the soil surface as a full grown cabbage butterfly ready to mate.
Another reason to avoid cabbages and strawberries together is that the cabbage butterfly larvae are difficult to flush out of the ground and can cause damage to your strawberry plants. You will need to create a border around your strawberry patch to keep the cabbage butterfly from entering it.
- Never plant Garlic Where Beets Are Growing
If you want the best quality garlic in your garden, then it is best that you avoid planting them close together. They should be separated by a minimum of ten feet from any other type of seeded plant, which includes beets, carrots, and lettuce varieties.
If garlic is planted too close to the other plants, then it can end up tasting like them. The garlic bulbs will absorb the flavor of beets if they are planted right next to each other. You can add more flavor to your garlic by growing thyme or rosemary nearby.
Garlic also does well with chives, dill, and leeks, so you don’t have to sacrifice flavor just because you want to grow these two vegetables together.
- Do not plant Cauliflower Where Tomatoes Are Growing
Cauliflower does best when it is in full sun and slightly acidic soil. Tomatoes, on the other hand, do best in full sun to partial shade and need more alkaline soil. So it stands to reason that cauliflower and tomatoes would grow well when planted next to each other.
Unfortunately, if there are too many tomatoes or if they are close enough to a cauliflower plant then the cauliflower head will start to develop a flavor similar to a tomato.
If you would like to grow both tomatoes and cauliflower together in your garden, you should use raised beds so that the plants are not close to each other. Throw a few tomato cages over the tomatoes, or keep them on drip lines, so that they do not touch a cauliflower crop.
- Do not Carrots Where Potatoes Are Growing
Like the cauliflower-tomato situation above, it is easy for carrots to taste like potatoes when they are planted next to them. If your soil is not acidic enough, then it can make the carrots taste sweet, like a potato.
It is recommended that you wait at least two weeks between planting your potatoes and your carrots so that the soil will get the proper pH to grow both of them.
If you have already planted some carrots next to a crop of potatoes, then you should use more acidic soil when planting your next crop of carrots. You can do this by adding lime to the soil before sowing.
If you really want to avoid any cross pollination then just plant your potatoes in a raised bed so that they are not in contact with the ground.
- Never plant Cucumbers Where Strawberries Are Growing
Cucumbers and strawberries should not be planted near each other for two reasons. One, cucumber vines are more susceptible to disease than most other types of plants due to their large leaf surface area and the soil that they need.
Strawberries have a stronger immune system than cucumber plants, so it’s easy for disease to spread from the strawberry plants to the cucumbers. If you want to grow both types of edible plants together, then you should have a different crop in between them. This will help to prevent any type of diseases that could spread from one plant to another on the ground.
You can also keep your strawberries and cucumbers in pots so that they are separated by at least three feet if you are planting both types of edible plants together.
- Do not plant Potatoes Where Peas and Beans Are Growing
If your soil is not acidic enough, then your potatoes can end up tasting like peas or beans. This is because the potato will absorb the flavor of the soil that you are growing them in. If you plant potatoes in a soil that has pea or bean plants growing in it, then they can end up absorbing the flavor of these plants and tasting like them.
Unless you want to grow peas and beans in the same area as your potatoes, then it is recommended that your potatoes be grown in a raised bed, so that they are not in contact with the ground.
- Never plant Onions Where Asparagus Is Growing
Onions and asparagus are incompatible crops that should never be planted next to each other. One of the main indicators that they should not be planted together is if you have on a clay soil that is very acidic.
If your soil is very acidic then onions can absorb the flavor of the asparagus plants and end up having a similar taste to it. This can happen even if you do a pH test so that you know where your garden soil falls in the pH scale.
- Do not plant Cucumber Where Basil Is Growing
Basil is a member of the mint family and it comes from the same genus as mint. This means that they have similar characteristics when it comes to how they grow. One of these characteristics is that basil plants have shallow roots, which means that they need a lot of water in order to grow well.
Cucumbers are thought to be one of the most water-intensive plants to grow, so you should not plant basil where cucumber plants are growing. This is because they may end up growing into each other, thus diminishing the garden as a whole.
- Never plant Cucumber Where Asparagus Is Growing
Asparagus, like basil, is a member of the mint family. These plants require good drainage, which means that they are not going to grow well in soil that does not drain properly without using some type of drip line pipes.
Why Is Soil Acidity Important?
If you have garden soil that is very acidic, then you need to have some sort of acidifier in order to help you neutralize the pH level. If the soil is too acidic then this can take a toll on the plants in your garden because they will not be able to absorb enough nutrients from the soil.
It is going to be best for you and your garden if your pH level comes close to 7.0 so that the plants can absorb all of the nutrients that they need. If you have some type of soil that is a bit too acidic then it might be best if you can find a way to either get your pH level to a lower number or if it is just so acidic that the soil does not absorb any nutrients then you will need some type of liquid fertilizer in order to help the plants out.
If your soil is not acidic enough, then you can find a fertilizer that will be able to lower the pH level of the soil. The best type of nutrients to use for your plants are anhydrous or liquid fertilizers. Anhydrous refers to water-soluble fertilizers, while liquid contains a mixture of these and other ingredients as well as water.
Both are commonly used for acidic soils because many of the hydrolytic enzymes used for breaking down the nutrients in this type of material are water-soluble rather than mineral-based, such as with general-purpose chemical mixes.
Companion Vegetables That Grow Well Together
- Carrots and Tomatoes
Carrots and tomatoes are commonly planted together in the garden because they are both vines that need good drainage. Since they both have shallow root systems, they will also need to be watered regularly to go through the entire growing season.
- Peas and Beans
Peas and beans are all members of the legume family, which means that they are nutrient-starved plants that require lots of nitrogen in order to grow well. This is because nitrogen compounds help with root development and plant growth, which are two factors that these plants are lacking in most parts of the U.S. Peas grow well with beans because they produce nitrogen naturally.
- Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Tomatoes and cucumbers also grow well together because they both benefit from the natural fertilization provided by nitrogen compounds. These plants can also be placed near each other because they both perform best when they are grown in moist soil.
- Corn and Squash
- Peppers and Eggplants
Peppers and eggplants are members of the nightshade family, which is thought to contain a bacterium that can help eggplants produce flowers faster than they usually would. This makes eggplant and peppers a good choice for your garden because they will help each other grow stronger.
How To Avoid Incompatible Vegetables In The Future
To avoid these problems altogether, it’s recommended to always use raised beds when gardening. This is because you can add a lot of amendments to the soil prior to planting your vegetables. It is also easier for you to control any weeds or pests that might come into the garden if the vegetables are not touching the ground.
Raised beds allow you to keep different vegetables separate, which gets rid of potential issues like pH balance, drainage, disease, and potential predators from interfering between the two vegetable types.
We all want our gardens to be beautiful, but it can be difficult to grow plants that are incompatible because they both need the same conditions to flourish.
If you happen to have a garden with some of these plants that are incompatible, then you should try not to let it bother you. If you do a deep organic soil test for your soil, then you may find out that your soil is not acidic enough or too acidic.
Luckily, this is an easy problem to remedy if your soil pH levels are out of whack. Additionally, some simple potting or raised beds can help remedy plants that don’t work well together.
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
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