Companion planting is the practice of placing species adjacent to one another to take advantage of mutual benefits that help both plants thrive. For example, some species may have natural pest-deterrence properties that benefit a neighbor, while the neighbor plant might bolster nutrients in the soil.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a plant that offers considerable benefits to almost all its neighbors. It deters many pests, such as aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, Japanese beetles, snails, and cabbage loopers. Garlic also accumulates sulfur, which is a naturally-occurring fungicide that will help protect your plants from diseases. A homemade powder or spray made from garlic powder or oil is a natural remedy for fungal diseases, and when planted in the garden, garlic is a good preventive measure for fungal infections.
Garlic can even deter gnawing pests like deer and rabbits. Garlic is a great plant to have in your garden, although there are a few plants that should keep their distance. Best of all, it is not picky, it adapts well to all soils and all conditions provided there is plenty of sun.
Companion planting is commonly used by organic farmers and gardeners who refrain from using heavy-duty chemical pesticides. One of the best ways to prevent bugs and other animals from eating your crop is to ask nature to give you a hand. The way you do that is companion planting of crops that will deter pests from eating your food, flowers, or plants.
By using companion plants, you create a balanced garden ecosystem that encourages lush growth and rich flavor of the produce. Companion planting is a natural weapon to combat pests and diseases while encouraging beneficial insects and organisms to colonize the garden plot.
Garlic is a cool weather plant, and it is normally planted in the fall before the ground freezes. It likes soil with lots of organic material in it, which can be provided by mixing in lots of compost or decomposed manure. It is planted by breaking apart individual bulbs into separate cloves and planting them about 1 inch deep and about 4 inches apart. In the spring, the plants should be fed in a similar manner as other plants, but stop feeding once the foliage begins to dry up and bulbs are noticeably poking up above the soil.
When the leaves turn brown, usually in mid-to-late-summer, you can harvest your garlic. Before eating them, garlic bulbs need to "cure" by bundling them together and storing them in a cool, dark location until they fully dry out.
Fruits and Vegetables That Benefit
Experiment with different combinations and arrangements of companion plantings as borders, backdrops, and comingling.
- Fruit trees (all)
Flowers That Benefit
Some flowering plants also noticeably benefit from garlic, for the same reasons as edibles do.
Plants That Assist Garlic
Garlic thrives in most situations, but here are a few plants that contribute to even better overall growth:
- Rue (it drives away maggots)
- Chamomile (improves the flavor of garlic)
- Summer savory
Worst Companion Plants
Garlic and its allium relatives seem to stunt the growth of certain crops. Avoid planting garlic near the vegetables listed below.
Companion Planting. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Nampeera, Esther L. et al. Farmers' Knowledge and Practices in the Management of Insect Pests of Leafy Amaranth in Kenya. Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Volume 10, Issue 1, 31, 2019. doi:10.1093/jipm/pmz029