Plants that Carrots Love: Companion Plants for Carrots

In the last blog post, you learned how companion plants help one another grow and protect each other from pests.  Carrot is another plant that can benefit from companion planting.  Fresh ripe carrots bunch on garden tableA popular book called “Carrots Love Tomatoes,” originally published in 1975, is now widely considered as the bible of companion planting.  The author of this book, Louise Riotte, wrote that carrots and tomatoes share a mutually beneficial relationship in the garden.

Carrot’s Best Pal: It Ain’t Peas

Tomatoes provide shade for the heat-sensitive carrots.  Tomatoes also secrete a natural insect deterrent called solanine which kills insects that could otherwise harm carrots.  They can enhance the flavor of carrots, too.  Carrots, on the other hand, break up the soil so that more air and water can go to the tomato plants’ roots.  There’s one thing to keep in mind if you plan to grow carrots and tomatoes together.  Tomatoes can stunt the growth of carrots so make sure that you plant them at least 15 inches apart from each other.

Knights in Shining Armor: Carrot Defenders

Besides tomatoes, there are plants that can help protect carrots.  Carrots and leeks make good neighbors.  Carrots are often attacked by carrot flies.  Leeks are susceptible to leek moth and onion fly infestations.  When leeks and carrots are planted together, their scents act as repellents of each others pests. Onions mask the odor of carrots, confusing carrot flies and keeping them uninterested.  Rosemary and sage also repel carrot flies, as do chives, which improve the flavor of carrots. Flax produces oil that protects carrots from pests.

There are a couple of things you need to remember if you want to use companion planting to protect your plants from pests.  First, it is important protective plants need to mature before they can effectively keep pests at bay. For instance, marigold needs to be grown at least one season before it can protect plants from nematodes.  Also, certain plants can weaken the protective ability of other plants.  This underscores the importance of knowing which plants should be grown together.

Other Compatible Plants

You may plant carrots near beans.  Carrots are said to help beans grow, but know that it’s almost a case of unrequited love.  Beans fix nitrogen in the soil, but carrots don’t need a lot of nitrogen, so beans do very little to help carrots.

Carrots and radishes can be planted at the same time.  The radish seeds will germinate ahead of the carrots seeds, loosening the soil for germinating carrots.  The carrots will still be young when the radishes are ready for harvesting.  When the radishes are harvested, there will be more room for carrots to grow.

Lettuce and other plants that belong to the cabbage family are also beneficial to carrots.  Amaranth loosens the soil, making it easier for carrot roots to burrow through the soil.  Marigold, parsley, and nasturtium are good companions as well.

No Love Lost: Plants That Carrots Would Rather Stay Away From

Carrots hate coriander and dill.  Both plants have root excretions that are harmful to carrots.  Parsnips and carrots are both vulnerable to carrot flies and to the same soil-borne diseases, so it’s best to plant them away from each other.