Are you thinking about planting some broccoli in the veggie garden this season? Broccoli has plenty of fiber and nutrients, and it’s a great addition to your diet. It’s even better when you get to eat this brassica straight from the garden! The fresh taste of broccoli is amazing, and we love it roasted in the oven, drizzled with lemon juice, some sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon.
However, you’re not the only one with a taste for broccoli. Pests and diseases love eating the dark green florets, and they’ll destroy your crop in a few weeks if you don’t notice the infestation. Fortunately, you don’t have to use toxic chemicals like fungicides and pesticides to control this problem in your broccoli crop.
Companion plants offer you a natural alternative to keeping the pests And diseases off your broccoli. This guide gives you everything you need to know about companion plants to grow with your broccoli crop this year.
What Are the Benefits of Broccoli Companion Planting?
Planting companions for your broccoli has several advantages. Some companions are better than others and better suited to specific crops. However, there are our top advantages of growing companions with your broccoli this season.
Broccoli crops suffer from pest invasions that ruin the plants. Cucumber beetles, cabbage worms and moths, carrot flies, and Mexican beetles are all serious concerns for the broccoli gardener.
Planting companions around your broccoli can help to deter pests. For example, planting a row of marigolds around the garden border will prevent these bugs from entering the veggie patch.
Ladybugs and bees are examples of beneficial insects for your broccoli crop. Planting attractive flowers like borage around your veggie patch can attract these beneficial insects to your broccoli crop.
Improve the Soil Quality
As plants grow, they suck up the nutrition in the ground. Companion plants can help you return nutrients to the soil naturally throughout the growing season.
Pole and bush beans add critical nutrients like nitrogen back into the ground, ensuring your plants are well fed.
Enhance Growth Rates in the Garden and Improve Broccoli Taste
Some companions like chamomile, marjoram, and summer savory can improve the taste of your broccoli.
These plants send specific nutrients and enzymes into the soil that spurt faster growth in your broccoli while enhancing the flavor profile of the brassica.
Ground Cover for Water and Nutrient Retention
Using ground covers like oregano help to keep moisture and nutrients in the soil, reducing your need to fertilize and feed your broccoli crop.
Top Companion Plants for Broccoli
Here are our top choices for the best companion plants to add to your veggie garden this summer.
This tall and supple vegetable tastes great in salads, and it’s also a fantastic companion for broccoli. The tall stems provide shade for your broccoli on hot days.
Celery also returns specific enzymes to the soil, enhancing the taste of your broccoli, giving it a sweeter flavor profile, and removing any bitterness from the brassica.
Chamomile is another plant that changes spoil conditions to make your broccoli taste sweeter. It’s also a fantastic herb for brewing a relaxing tea.
However, Chamomile can crowd out your broccoli if you plant it too close. Therefore, make sure you space it around eight to 12-inches away from your broccoli seedlings.
As a bonus, Chamomile produces some beautiful white flowers with bright yellow bees, adding some color to the veggie garden.
Who doesn’t love homegrown potatoes? These tubers are one of the most popular vegetables grown by home gardeners, and it’s possible to get high yields in small areas.
Potatoes also happen to be a great companion for broccoli. Potatoes claim plenty of nutrients in the soil, but they don’t have the same nutritional needs as broccoli.
Therefore, planting them side-by-side in the garden means they won’t compete for the same nutrients.
Brassicas like broccoli depend heavily on calcium. However, beets barely need any of this nutrient, making them an ideal companion for broccoli.
We recommend giving your broccoli and beets around 15-inches of space between rows, ensuring that you don’t tangle the broccoli roots with the beets.
Planting rhubarb around 12 to 18-inches away from your broccoli is a great way to deter the cabbage whitefly from contaminating your veggie garden this summer.
The whitefly destroys the leaves on your broccoli plants. While many gardeners don’t eat the leaves, they do make tasty additions to salads.
If the leaves start to wither and die, the broccoli can absorb the sunlight it needs to grow to its full potential.
The rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which has a toxic effect on leaf-eating bugs and whitefly infestations. However, please don’t plant it too close, as the rhubarb will compete for nitrogen with your broccoli.
Planting it in the corner of the garden is the best idea, as the scent of the oxalic acid spreads throughout the garden, chasing away pests.
This delicious and fragrant herb has a versatile use in the kitchen. Use it to season butter or lamb chops; its rich herbal flavor profile enhances the taste of so many dishes.
Rosemary also acts as a natural pest repellant. Cabbage moths and loopers hate the scent of rosemary, and they’ll stay out of your garden with the smell of the herb lingering around the yard. It’s also a useful repellent against snails and slugs.
Rosemary grows quickly in the ground, and minor pruning results in a huge bush. Therefore, it’s a good idea to plant it at least a few feet from your broccoli crop.
There’s nothing like fresh, crunchy lettuce pulled from the garden, rinsed, and tossed in a green salad. Interestingly, lettuce also makes a fantastic companion for planting with broccoli.
The broccoli leaves help to provide shade for your lettuce, keeping them from wilting and bursting into the flowering cycle ahead of schedule.
This leafy green vegetable is great in salads or roasted with a medley of other vegetables. It’s also a great companion for your broccoli.
However, many gardeners have problems with growing spinach. This leafy green likes to grow rapidly, and when it starts producing, it’s challenging for gardeners to keep up with the rapid growth, resulting in the “bolting” of the plant.
Planting your spinach in the shade of your broccoli plants allows the spinach to enjoy some shade, reducing the vigorous growth of the vegetable.
As a result, you get a slower harvest time and more time to enjoy your spinach instead of bolting and turning into hard, inedible stems.
Our final companion for your broccoli is shallots. We love shallots; these small onion-like veggies have a sweet but defined taste, and they’re great for eating raw or roasted.
If you find yourself using half and onion and then leaving the rest to waste, shallots offer you a smaller alternative you can use in a single meal.
They have a surprisingly sweet taste without the sharpness you get from an onion. Shallots are also excellent planting companions for your broccoli crop this summer.
Shallots, like garlic, are rich in the compounds quercetin, kaempferol, and allicin. These antioxidants are like a natural pest deterrent, keeping the bugs away from your veggie garden throughout the growing season.
You can plant them in a row around 12-inches to 18-inches away from your broccoli, and they don’t compete for the same nutrients.
Bad Companion Plants for Growing Alongside Broccoli
The plants and veggies we mentioned above make excellent companions that grow in synergy with your broccoli crop. However, there are other plants you need to avoid adding to the garden.
Avoid planting other brassicas nearby. Cauliflower and kale are examples of other brassicas that are popular with veggie gardeners. However, they compete for the same nutrients as your broccoli, and you’ll end up stunting the growth of all the vegetables.
Other plants you need to keep far away from your broccoli include corn, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes. These vegetables are heavy feeders, and they will suck the nutrition out of the ground faster than your broccoli.
Broccoli is also a heavy feeder, so it’s important to keep it away from other lighter-feeding plants and vegetables that require calcium. Asparagus, sweet corn, cantaloupes, pumpkin, and watermelon may all experience a lack of nutrition when planted around broccoli crops.
It’s a better idea to companion plant broccoli around lighter feeding plants like those in this post. Beets and nasturtiums hardly require any calcium when growing, making them an ideal companion for broccoli.
Broccoli also doesn’t do well when planted next to nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and hot peppers like habaneros. These plants are all heavy feeders, and they outcompete your broccoli for nutrition, resulting in a weak broccoli crop.
Take the information in this post and experiment with your companion planting this summer. Like everything else in gardening, it’s all about trial and error., After a few seasons, you’ll understand what works and what to avoid when planting companions for your broccoli crop.