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Carrots are the quintessential veggie patch vegetables, as they are easy to grow in your own garden and they are popular, healthy vegetables that are extremely versatile in cooking.
If you’re thinking of growing a lot of carrots and you want to maximize their productivity and flavor, you’ll find this carrot companion planting guide very useful!
Check out these gardening tips and learn about the best methods of companion planting. Find out what plants to pair with carrots and what plants to avoid planting near carrots to enhance your chances of a bumper carrot crop.
Benefits of companion planting
Companion planting is a tried-and-true method of maximizing the mutually beneficial relationships between useful plants in your garden.
Correct companion planting involves situating plants together because of their complementary characteristics. This takes some careful garden planning before getting down to the fun part of sowing seeds, but the results and rewards are well worth the effort.
Taking care to match each kind of plant with a good companion will improve the health and flavor of your vegetables.
There are several benefits of companion planting:
- Companion planting is an organic and safe way to deter pests, such as cabbage moths, aphids, beetles, and the pesky carrot fly, without using pesticides that could harm other plants and animals in the garden.
- A biodiverse vegetable garden is better for the environment, for soil fertility, and for wildlife.
- Flowers planted together with vegetables and fruits attract beneficial insects like bees and wasps that pollinate fruit flowers and prey on common pests that can damage your produce.
- Effective companion planting stimulates the growth of plants by ensuring that there is no competition for space, water, or nutrients.
- Growing plants of different heights together aid shade regulation and moisture retention.
- Covering all available garden soil with useful flowers, fruit, and vegetable plants facilitates weed suppression.
- Companion planting allows for the efficient use of garden space, as many plants can be grown together even in small spaces.
Three Sisters Companion Planting Method
A great example of companion planting is a Native American farming method called the Three Sisters. This method involves planting corn, climbing beans, and winter squash together so that each plant benefits the other.
The pole beans (climbing beans) are planted at the base of the corn plant so that the stalks of the corn function as natural supports for the beans.
The beans fix nitrogen in their root nodes, making it accessible to the corn and the squash which need it for healthy growth.
The height differences in the plants allow each plant to access sunlight, and the large leaves of the sprawling winter squash plants suppress weeds by covering the ground and blocking sunlight.
The leaves of the climbing beans can hide the ears of corn, preventing birds and other pests from damaging your corn plants.
Planted together like this, each companion plant can reach its maximum potential with the help of its neighbors.
What can be planted with pumpkins?
You can use the Three Sisters method to plant beans and corn with pumpkins. This method will benefit all three vegetables, as explained above. Marigolds and nasturtiums are also fantastic companion plants for pumpkins and many other vegetables and fruits.
Carrot Companion Planting Guide
If you’re planning on growing carrots in your vegetable garden, it’s important to know what is best to plant near them. Certain companion plants will add nutrients, break up the soil, repel pests, and help your carrots thrive.
What plants grow well with carrots?
Luckily, there are many vegetables and fruits that grow happily alongside carrots. These gardening tips will explain which plants are good companions for carrots, and why they are beneficial.
Plants that don’t compete with carrots for resources
In general, good companion plants don’t compete with each other for access to sunlight, water, and nutrients.
Plants that have different needs to carrots make great companion plants, whereas other root vegetables like parsnips and potatoes can cause problems with lack of space in the soil and a buildup of pests.
Weapons against the enemy – plants that are good at repelling carrot flies
Plants that repel carrot flies are the best friends a carrot can have!
Carrot flies are the biggest pest for carrots. The carrot fly lays its eggs on the carrot plant, and the resulting larvae burrow into the carrot root and eat it, destroying your beloved vegetables and making them inedible.
Annoyingly, they don’t just attack carrots, and celery and parsnips are affected too.
Strong smelling plants repel pests and they also mask the smell of carrots, making it harder for pests to locate them.
Flowers that attract predators are also good for getting rid of pests like carrot flies, beetles, and aphids. Hoverflies are attracted to many different flowers, and they prey on pests like carrot flies.
Hoverfly larvae eat aphids, which are pests for many other vegetables in the garden. It’s a win-win situation!
Legumes, such as broad beans, peas, sweet peas, pole beans, or bush beans, are all-around fantastic garden companion plants. They fix nitrogen in their roots, and this makes it more accessible to carrots.
Nitrogen is important for healthy plant growth, and carrots benefit from moderately nitrogen-rich soil.
Lettuce and salad leaves, including Swiss chard, are good companion plants for carrots in your vegetable garden.
Lettuce is also a cool-weather veggie like carrots, and the fibrous roots of lettuce break up the soil, making way for the longer taproots of the carrots.
The different root penetration depths mean that lettuce and carrots don’t compete for access to water.
In short: carrots will be happy when planted near garlic, lettuce, onions, peas, bush beans, pole beans, swiss chard, marigolds, nasturtiums, oregano, celery, corn, sage, chives, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsley, peppers, asparagus, basil, beans, and even tomato plants.
Do tomatoes and carrots grow well together?
There is some conflicting evidence as to whether carrots and tomato plants make good companion plants.
Firstly, tomato plants and carrots are compatible in their height difference. Sun-loving tomatoes are usually grown vertically with stakes and carrot plants are happy in the shade.
Tomatoes can enhance the flavor of carrots and they release the chemical solanine which might deter carrot pests.
Tomatoes do release a lot of nitrogen into the surrounding soil, but it’s unclear if this is harmful/suboptimal for carrots or not as it might stunt their growth.
Carrots, in turn, help out neighboring tomatoes by aerating the soil with their penetrating taproots, allowing the tomatoes to access nutrients and water more efficiently.
Summer and winter squash plants get along well with carrots. Squash leaves can grow very big and shade the carrots, which is beneficial in hot weather, and the squash plant can also deter pests with its odor and spiky stems and leaves.
The healthiest and most productive vegetable gardens are those with high biodiversity, so try to add some flowers as companion plants for your edible plants.
Cheery and sunny colored red, yellow, and orange, marigolds are excellent for attracting pollinators and predatory flies that will eat pests.
The root systems of marigolds are known to repel harmful microscopic worms called nematodes that live in the soil and can damage your carrots.
Like marigolds, nasturtiums are flowers that attract pollinators.
Nasturtiums are the best companion that acts as a ‘sacrificial’ plant that aphids, slugs, beetles, and snails will eat first instead of your crops.
In addition, every part of the nasturtium is edible! Nasturtium flowers, leaves, and seed pods can be eaten and used in a variety of interesting recipes.
This pretty plant with sky-blue flowers is a fantastic companion plant! It attracts pollinators and pest-eating wasps, and it is low-maintenance whilst providing great benefits to your garden.
The flowers are also edible!
Flax is a flowering plant also known as linseed. It produces oils that repel pests from root veggies.
Bee balm (wild bergamot)
Not only are these flowers beautiful with their red, pink, purple, or white flowers, but they also attract pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden.
Their fragrance can mask the enticing smell of your carrots, confusing pests and keeping your carrots safe.
Alliums are bulbous plants that include cultivated edible plants such as garlic, chives, leeks, and onions.
Most alliums have a pungent smell that deters pests, which makes them the best companion for aromatic, sweet-smelling carrots.
Allium flower heads are arranged in umbels that are easily visually recognizable by pollinators, which draws predatory insects too.
Companion planting alliums and carrots together is a great pest-control method! Try rows of leeks planted next to rows of carrots in your garden.
Garlic planted near carrots deters common pests such as cabbage moths, aphids, beetles, and carrot flies. The strong smell of the garlic plants masks the smell of the carrots, making them a good companion.
Chives improve the taste and texture of carrots when planted nearby. They also deter aphids, and the attractive purple chive flowers attract insects that eat pests. For multiple benefits to your carrots, chives are a great choice as they have multiple benefits.
Leeks are especially good neighbors for carrots as they repel carrot flies and carrots deter leek moths. This mutually beneficial relationship reduces harmful pests for both plants.
Onions are brilliant companions for carrots because they deter carrot rust flies. Their strong smell is highly effective at confusing pests by covering the smell of vulnerable plants like your carrots.
Brassicas are plants like cabbages, kale, radishes, and Brussels sprouts. They are also known as cruciferous vegetables or the mustard family of vegetables.
Radishes loosen up the soil with their taproots, allowing carrots space to grow their own. Radishes grow really quickly and they will be harvested before the carrots get big, and so there is no competition between the carrots and radishes for space in the garden.
Other brassicas such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale grow happily alongside carrots, as the carrots can repel cabbage root fly.
Plant carrots near legumes such as beans and peas so they can benefit from the nitrogen that these plants fix in the soil. Pole beans and bush beans both grow happily with carrots, as do peas.
Both climbing beans and peas are grown vertically, so they can cast some shade on your carrots, which prefer a mild temperature.
Herbs as carrot companion plants
Many herbs make great companion plants and will benefit your carrots when situated near them in the garden. Oregano, rosemary, and sage plants like living near carrots and can enhance the flavor of the root veggies.
As mentioned above, chives improve the flavor of carrots and their flowers attract beneficial insects. (Chives are herbs that are part of the allium family).
With the strong smell of nearby basil, carrots can remain safe and undetected by pests. Basil also grows well with tomatoes, as the basil flowers attract pollinators that will also help pollinate the tomatoes.
Carrots, basil, and tomatoes can grow well in the same area.
Oregano makes a wonderful companion plant for carrots and many other edible plants as it attracts pollinators with its flowers, and it has a strong smell that confuses pests and masks the sweet smell of the carrots.
Rosemary & sage
These fragrant herbs deter carrot rust fly, and they are wonderful edible herbs too. Sage also deters many pests that attack brassicas like cabbage moths, cabbage beetles, and cabbage worms.
Rosemary, which doesn’t have many other compatible companions, grows happily with sage and so these two herbs can be grown together with carrots.
Plants to avoid growing with carrots
What should you not plant together? Certain plants can cause harm to one another if they are planted close together, and so it’s important to know the foes of each vegetable as well as the friends.
Any companion planting guide will also include what not to pair together so you can avoid unfortunate results from mismatched planting.
Carrot foes to avoid
Dill – This odorous herb releases compounds into the surrounding soil that stunt the growth of other plants. Keep dill away from your carrot plants, or grow it in a pot instead!
Fennel – Unfortunately, not many plants grow happily with fennel. It attracts lots of pests and is said to release compounds into the soil that stunt the growth of other plants, a lot like dill.
Parsnips – These root vegetables are in the same plant family and they are susceptible to the same pests, which could cause an infestation.
Potatoes – these fellow underground vegetables will compete with carrots for growing space in your garden soil. Whilst potatoes are tubers and not roots like carrots, they still take up a whole lot of space under the soil and they are very hungry and thirsty plants.
This competition for space and resources between plants will stunt the growth of both your potatoes and your carrots, so keep them far apart from one another in your veggie garden.
Planning your garden with companion planting
A great way to maximize the benefits of companion planting is to draw a plan of your garden plot and work out the best way to place companion plants together.
It can be a bit of a puzzle, something like a wedding seating chart, but planning your garden beforehand is better than being stuck with certain plants that don’t get along situated right next to each other!
For example, you can plant carrots and lettuce together with onions and leeks, and then find out what other plants pair well with onions, etc.
Fill your garden with companion plants that make great friends and reap the benefits of a biodiverse garden.