What is companion planting?

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how does companion planting work to control garden pests

 Companion planting simply means growing different types of crops and plants together, creating a habitat for beneficial insects and animals that feed on, or deter pests that are a problem for plants I/e Lady birds eat Blackfly.
This method of planting, with a bit of practice and trial and error is natural organic pest control at its best, eliminating the need for chemicals.  
I have listed examples of  companion plants and effects below.

The pungent smell of French marigolds deters whitefly from your tomato plants.

Companion planting really is that simple! Try it

Try the old tried and tested, Corn, Squash and Bean combination in a small corner of your  garden 

Companion planting is natural pest control and Eco-friendly.

Companion planting is Organic and natural pest control without using pesticides, instead letting plants, insects, animals and birds do what comes natural, preying on pests or in some cases simply deterring them (natural insecticide). It can be fun it will be rewarding, the taste is better and it is satisfying knowing you are harvesting safer fruit and vegetables that aren't full of pesticides and herbicides.  

Growing many different species of plants together creates habitat for beneficial insects and animals, deters problem pests, and enriches the soil. Companion planting isn't new, it can be traced back to ancient Roman times and probably all the way back to the beginning of time.
To get food on to the table the pre chemical gardener and farmer used companion planting to deter pests and protect the harvest, pesticides had not been invented!!. And now the Eco worriers have arrived, (they probably think they invented it)  companion planting is back in fashion.  

It all started to go wrong (wrong for gardeners, but right for chemical man) when we separated crops, taking the natural predators of pests out of the battle creating fields and gardens dependent on pesticides or herbicides. The manufacturers and sellers reliant on our use of chemicals now frantically try to convince us companion planting is complicated and doesn't work.

 Try planting marigolds next to tomato plants this season and see how they deters whitefly 

Take a walk in a local wood or a field that has been left to nature, even a disused petrol forecourt, runway or old factory gradually turning back to green and see natural harmony at work There are bugs that feed the birds, small mammals managing ground growth, and larger mammals including badgers and foxes managing the smaller ones.  
Every garden needs birds and wild animals. In addition to being a pleasure to watch, the birds eat greenfly and caterpillars from your plants, badgers frogs and hedgehogs eat slugs and snails. 
As the farming countryside becomes more and more hostile to wildlife, our gardens are becoming an increasingly important habitat for wildlife.

This is the environment that can be created in your garden, making it harmonious for the birds and the bees and other insects and animals and providing free pest control. for your plants.
This doesn't mean you have to let your garden become over grown with weeds, they need to be controlled, some are beneficial, but all weeds should be removed before they go to seed. Companion planting can also be used to control weeds by planting non-competing plants closely together to crowd out weed pests.
Companion planting for garden pest control and being Eco friendly need not mean going to extremes. It doesn't mean turning into Eco Worriers
It does mean caring about our environment but it also means having a garden we and our family and visitors can enjoy, with patios and decking, etc. or what would be the point.
More about sustainable gardening on my webpage sustainable eco gardening

List of companion plants and their effect on garden pests and disease.

companion plants and effects.
This list of companion plants also explains the benefits to the plants planted near by.
Alfalfa attracts beneficial insects including Assassin bugs, Big Eyed bugs, Damsels, Lady Beetles.
Arugula companion plant for bush beans, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dill, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onion, potato, rosemary, spinach, and thyme.
Basil for  asparagus, peppers, petunias, oregano, also repels mosquitoes,
Borage  works with cucumbers, grapevines, tomatoes, squash, and strawberries.
Calendula  repels the asparagus beetles and tomato worm. 
Carrots good companion plants with beans, brussels sprout, cabbage, radish, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and leaks. Chives and onions  Rosemary and sage,  helps repel the carrot fly.
Catnip Is good planted with eggplant to repel the flea beetles, ants, aphids, cockroaches, Japanese beetles, squash bugs and weevils.
Chamomile  with cabbage, cucumber and onions.
Chives Are planted with apple trees, brassicas, carrots, roses, and tomatoes, preventing scab on apple trees and keep aphids and black spot off  roses.
Chrysanthemum, is a natural insecticide, killing cockroaches, aphids, spider mites, ants and flies.
Clover A great green manure plant for lawns, fixing nitrogen into the soil. Also attracts many bees and other beneficial insects to the garden.
Comfrey  adds calcium, phosphorous and potassium to the soil.
Coriander  great for repelling aphids and spider mites and attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Cucumber Grow with beans, cabbage, dill, eggplant, lettuce, nasturtium, peas, radish, sunfloers, tomato, corn, and onions.

Nasturtium  attracts beneficial predators of the cucumber beetle.

Dill grows well with cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and sweet corn and repels pumpkin bugs.

Flax repels the potato beetle. 

Garlic  grown near roses repels repel aphids and eliminate black spot.  it will also repel other insects such as Japanese beetles, borers, spider mites, ants and carrot root flies. !

Geranium  deter cabbage worms and red spider mites. 

Hot peppers in the greenhouse with cucumbers, eggplant, okra, squash, Swiss chard, and tomatoes.

Larkspur  will attract some beetles that eat the plant and die.

Lavender  attracts many beneficial insects, including bees and  is a natural repellent used to keep mosquitoes, ticks and fleas away. 

Lettuce Gets along with just about everything, but especially beans, beets, brassicas, carrot, onion family, radish and strawberries.

Lemon Balm  repels many insects. 

Marigolds, (but not hybrid varieties) Are great companions, emitting a substance that deters root damaging nematodes, so are really good companions in the veggie garden.  

Mint  grown in containers, deter ants, aphids, cabbage moths, fleas, flea beetles. parsley doesn't like mint.

Nasturtiums  very good companion plant with most vegetables, including cabbages, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, radishes, cucumbers and zucchini.  Nastutiums repel cucumber beetles, wooly aphids, whiteflies, striped pumpkin beetle. They attract lots of beneficial predatory insects.

Onions planted with carrots help reduce carrot fly. Also beneficial with beetroot, brassicas, dill, leeks, strawberries and tomatoes  

Oregano grows well with almost everything, It repels the cucumber beetle and cabbage butterfly. 

Parsley Grows well with asparagus, carrots, chives, dill, onions, roses and, tomatoes. It attracts  beneficial insects. 

Peas Are companions to beans, carrots, celery, chicory, eggplant, lettuce, parsley, peppers, potato, radish, salvias, spinach, strawberries and, tomatoes and Peas adds nitrogen to garden soil.

Potatoes grow well with  cabbages, carrots, celery, corn, flax, horseradish, marigold, peas, petunia, onion, and marigold. 

Pumpkins Do well grown with corn, eggplant, marigold, nasturtium, onion family and radishes.

Radish  with beans, carrots, chervil, collars, cucumber, grapes, lettuce, melon family, nasturtium, onion family, peas, squash

Rosemary Deters bean beetles, cabbage moths and carrot flies.

Sage with rosemary, cabbage, and carrots, it repels cabbage moth, carrot fly, flea beetles and slugs.

Squash Companions are beans, corn, cucumbers, melons and pumpkins,  Marigolds and nasturtiums also help deter squash pests.

Strawberry Will benefit growing with beans, onions, spinach.

Summer Savory Is a good with beans and onions, also deters cabbage moths and black aphids.

Sunflowers  can help with aphid problems attracting them and keeping them off your other plants. 

Tarragon The scent and taste is disliked by many pests, nearly all vegetables grow well with tarragon.

Thyme makes a good companion with cabbage, deterring the cabbage worms.

Tomatoes can be planted with asparagus, basil, bean, bee balm, carrot, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, pepper, pot marigold, but not potatoes since they can both get blight and contaminate each other.

Wormwood  makes a natural insecticide and deters most insects. 

 I haven't tried all the companion plants and effects listed here, climate, sun, shade and soil type may limit the plants you can grow in your own garden, so you may want to check some of them out in more detail this link  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants

I have probably missed a lot of your favourite companions plants, please let me know if you have a tried and tested plant we should know about here in my guestbook   mike