Companion Planting – Carrots
A very wise person once said:
“In nature everything interacts to create a whole life force. This is a basic understanding … that everything organic and living has a mutual influence on every other living thing.”
The term companion planting refers to the selection of plants to be planted together for their mutual benefit. This can be an organic route towards crop protection, or to improve the quality of the pollination of the crops. In this article we are going to look at some great pairings for carrots; no need to resort to pesticides!
When growing carrots you will need to understand the requirement of nitrogen for their successful growth. Carrots need far greater quantities of nitrogen than most other vegetables so it is important to consider how you will provide it for them when you are planning your companion plants. Nitrogen producers such as runner beans, French beans, and green beans would be perfect choices.
When you plant carrots, there is always the risk of the carrot fly appearing! One of the most effect companion planting choices for carrots is alliums (onions, leeks, chives, and garlic). The smell of the alliums deters the carrot fly, and the smell of carrots deters the onion fly; win, win situation! There is a very similar reaction when using leeks as a companion plant. Leeks will deter the carrot root fly, and the smell of carrots will assist to deter the leek moth. If you are thinking about planting several companion plants together, it is worth remembering that alliums are considered inhibiters for the growth of peas and beans and so should be planted away from the beans you have planted for their release of nitrogen to the carrots.
Planting herbs is always a great idea when considering companion planting. Herbs in flower, such as rosemary and sage, as well as allium family plants, will attract insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewing, and assassin bugs that will eat some of the pests that are a bother to carrot plants. It is important that the herbs are in flower as this is what the insects are looking for!
Poor companion planting pairing
- Carrots will assist the growth of tomatoes, but the tomato will stunt the carrots’ growth.
- Radishes and parsnips. Radishes and parsnips attract roots maggots – you really don’t want to raise the chances of these if you are trying to grow carrots!
- Plant dill as far away from your carrots as possible. Dill will attract the pests to your garden that will infest your carrot crop.
Top tips for carrot companion planting
- The whole theory of companion planting is to avoid monocultures; do not plant one type of plant by itself. In monoculture, it is easy for pests and diseases to spread quickly once they have found their favourite plants.
- Nature has given us some strongly scented herbs that are great for companion planting. Herbs planted throughout your vegetable plot will work wonders repelling insects.
- Mint is a great companion plant, but beware! Mint is a very fast growing plant that can very quickly take over a plot. If you want to make the most of mint as a companion plant, grow it in a container to control the roots.