Winter is almost here, and gardening winter vegetables means growing frost lovers like brassicas, garlic, leeks, and peas. Cabbage is a lovely winter crop that enjoys the kiss of frost. What better way to grow than a cabbage companion plant? The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
Companion planting is a great way to keep your garden rich and free from common pests. It also provides a lot of diversity to what might otherwise be a monoculture. Cabbage also has many companions. We are talking about flowers, herbs and other vegetables. So what is the best companion for a cabbage plant? What are the benefits of companion planting? Let's talk about it! We're going to introduce some of the best companion herbs and flowers for your cabbage center garden. We'll explain why each of these plants works well when grown with cabbage.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is an ancient practice that works in a number of ways. Most importantly, companion planting creates a beneficial reciprocal system between the organisms in the garden. This practice increases yield variety and protects your crops.
Some companion plants repel insects that may want to eat nearby plants. They may also attract and trap problem insects, or attract beneficial insects. A good companion may provide the soil with micronutrients to support all the other plants there. Good micronutrients help other plants grow and improve the flavor of nearby crops. Ground cover plants can provide protection from weeds. Some legumes provide nitrogen-fixing elements to the soil, which helps vegetable roots grow stronger. Many plants grow rapidly, indicating that others will appear soon. Tall plants also provide shade for low-lying plants with less sun.
The best results of companion planting are how it promotes biodiversity and, in turn, a healthy garden. Because you're growing a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers, you won't run out of garden beds.
Topsoil loss (a result of monoculture garden practices) is a huge problem for the future. As gardeners, we can choose easy-to-grow plants that like to be near each other, which helps us practice gardening eco-consciousness.
Good Cabbage Companion Plant
Companion planting of cabbage is fairly easy. Figure out which ones can be planted near your cabbage and which ones will work best with your garden design, and you're ready to go. At harvest time, you'll have plenty of cabbage.
Cabbage Home Companion
Because other brassicas require the same nutrients as cabbage, they can be grown near your cabbage crop. Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, and cauliflower are all suitable companions for your cabbage garden. Even the close relative, Napa cabbage, can grow nearby.
Members of the cabbage family are not only easy to grow, but they also enjoy the same climate and conditions as cabbage. In winter, a green garden is a great place for bare trees and brown foliage. Brassica vegetables are rich in nutrients. Add them to stews, stir-fries, and your favorite comfort hot dishes to keep them warm.
A word on this, though: Too much brassica can compete with each other. We will discuss this in detail in a later section.
Peas and Beans
First of all, brassica needs sunlight, but cabbage enjoys shade in the scorching afternoon sun. One of the best ways to provide shade is to grow beans. Plant them on the south side of the garden to block some of the biting afternoon sun that can scorch cabbage leaves.
Shrub bean and pea plants also provide nitrogen to the soil. This is the key reason why they make great companion plants for cabbage. All members of the cabbage family consume large amounts of nitrogen, helping them grow lush leafy greens. Nitrogen-fixing plants like beans will feed the cabbage. Here, certain beans, peas, and vetch work well. Lentils, broad beans, etc. can appear here.
Plant them for harvest, or use them as cover crops. Whichever way you choose, your cabbage plants will be a success.
Lots of herbs grow well near cabbage. Many either repel, or attract and trap garden pests. Some grow well with cabbage and are also delicious in cabbage.
One herb in particular - rosemary - not only repels cabbage moths, but also improves the flavor of each nearby head of cabbage. That's because rosemary provides potassium, calcium, and sulfur to the soil, which gives cabbage a little help in the flavor and nutrition departments.
Another cabbage moth-busting companion of cabbage is sage. Sage also repels other pests like flea beetles and carrot flies. Yarrow and dill repel cabbage moths and also provide a gardener's favorite insect, lace. Both yarrow and dill are perennials that produce showy flowers. Dill is also an excellent attractant for giant swallowtail caterpillars.
Chives and wormwood are great repellents. Both are safe from cabbage oysters, cabbage worms, cabbage ringworms, snails, flea beetles, and other beetles. All of these are insects that can destroy crops very quickly. Silver foliage and wormwood planted with chives, dill and cabbage make for a lovely garden design.
Cabbage is a good friend herb and there are many more, but not much here. Try planning a garden design with rosemary, sage, dill, and wormwood interspersed with cabbage plants. Aromatic herbs will give you tons of visual and palette variety.
Root vegetable friends
Carrots, beets, onions, and parsnips are also good cabbage companion plants. That's because they help dig nutrients out of the soil through their tubers or taproots. As they grow, they pull nutrients to the top layers of the soil and feed them to plants with shallow roots, such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
Beet leaves provide magnesium specifically to the soil as they decompose. So when your beet leaves expire, crush them and leave them on the soil to nourish their cabbage companions. This in turn improves the flavor of the cabbage plant. When harvesting, put beets, cabbage, carrots and onions in winter borsch!
Celery is great to grow near cabbage. They stop the dreaded cabbage moth. In addition to this, you can grow other root vegetables to reduce space in the soil so cabbage worms can't get into your garden.
Probably the best companion for cabbage is marigold. Not only does it deter pests, it also attracts beneficial insects. Planting with marigolds is a well-known and established practice.
Marigold repels Japanese beetles, whiteflies, aphids, nematodes, and can be used as a mosquito repellent. Beneficial insects they attract include ladybugs, hoverflies and parasitic wasps that feed on pests. You may want to grow marigolds with cabbage.
Geranium keeps cabbage worms and beetles away from cabbage. They are also lovely in teas and baked sweets. Their scent is lovely, and there are several different types of geraniums to choose from: some with peppery scents, some like roses, and some minty. Why not have a cup of tea while you summon beneficial insects and grow cabbage?
As mentioned above, yarrow has great appeal to insect friends. When planted near cabbage, yarrow can help you get lace in your garden. Yarrow flowers are showy and there are many different varieties to choose from. Moonlight yarrow is bright yellow, common yarrow is white, and Queen yarrow is pink. These are just some of the yarrows to choose from.
Buckwheat is an excellent companion plant for cabbage. This plant is sometimes confused as an herb, but is used in cooking and green manure. Winter is a good time to start growing cover crops in warm climates. Before cover crops are sown, they are felled to add fertilizer to the soil.
When you grow buckwheat near cabbage, you also attract parasitic wasps that prey on cabbage rings. After cutting the cover crop, try planting another companion in its place. Maybe another brassica grown with cabbage would suffice?
What not to grow with cabbage
So, which plants make bad companions when growing cabbage? Here are some to avoid.
Lettuce also benefits from a root vegetable companion, but is not a good companion for cabbage. This is because the lettuce crop may attract pests that prevent good, healthy growth of the cabbage head. So don't grow lettuce with your cabbage.
Strawberries and cabbage compete with each other for nutrients. They all have shallow roots that will intertwine if planted together. Put them in the same space and you may find that you also get a lot of pests that feed on vegetables like cabbage and strawberries.
These side-by-side plantings are a lose-lose. They don't get along.
Similar to strawberries, tomatoes beat cabbage in terms of nutrition. Their roots don't work well together, and the cabbage can stunt nearby tomatoes. Tomatoes also attract hornworms and don't discriminate when it comes to which food to eat.
Keep your tomato plants in a separate area or garden bed away from cabbage growing. In any case, tomatoes and cabbage are not in the same season.
While many aromatic herbs are good companions for cabbage, rue is not one of them. Interestingly, rue is not a great companion to grow with many other herbs. That's because it's a better trap crop that attracts whiteflies and other pests.
Rue also seeps chemicals into the soil and pulls calcium (essential for cabbage) out of the soil.
Too many other Brassicas
While growing a few Brassica plants together is fine, too many together can leave no one getting the nutrients they need, and insects that focus on Brassica can invade. When you're planning a garden full of winter vegetables, try planting partial beds containing one or two brassicas surrounded by root vegetables, herbs, marigolds, and bush beans.
Another bad cabbage companion: corn! Corn provides too much shade for sun-loving cabbage. While some bushy beans can provide a little shade, they don't cover as much ground as the shade from tall cornstalks. Not enough sunlight hinders cabbage growth. No vegetables to grow means no harvest.
Drought tolerant plants
Cabbage needs a lot of water to grow adequately, so don't plant them next to drought-tolerant plants. When you grow cabbage and dry ground lovers together, you can get root rot on drought-resistant plants, which can spread and infect other plants.