Survival Update

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How to Master Companion Planting

When a natural disaster hits, an emergency food supply will only last for so long. That’s why you need to have a plan on how you will feed yourself long-term.

With that being said, you should start a garden now or at least have emergency supply of plant seeds. Growing vegetables will be much easier than hunting prey. But, it’s also a good idea to be well-equipped to hunt.

But back to the importance of planting, did you know that fruits and vegetables strive better with certain other forms of crops? They each have natural likes and dislikes when it comes to what other plants are located nearby.

If your plants are strategically placed, you will have a more successful garden eco-system.

Sally Jean Cunningham outlines the best garden neighborhoods in her book Great Garden Campanions and here’s some tips to master companion planting.


Potatoes, bush beans and peas are all part of this family and their friends or companions include cosmo, daisies, dill, rosemary, calendulas and sweet annie. Cunningham recommends alternating a row of potatoes with a row of peas or beans. This will deter pests, like beetles.


Tomatoes, eggplants, tomatillos, ground cherries and peppers make up this family and they can be paired with basil, cosmos, parley, and cleome. It’s important to note that potatoes are also in the same botanical family, but they should be placed in a different group due to their growth habits. The tomato family plants bush out and need room. Cunningham recommends planting greens like spinach and lettuce around the outside of the bed. These can be planted for an early harvest and then cleared, giving the tomato plants the room they need.


Besides squash– crops, corn and pole beans are part of this family. Friends of these plants include dill, sunflowers, borage, and nasturtiums. Make sure to separate the squash and corn somewhat by placing the squash at intervals around the corn patch. Both squash and beans can strangle the corn.

Asparagus and Strawberries

Asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish and strawberries all can be in a perennial bed together. But, keep in mind that horseradish, strawberries and asparagus can take over a garden quickly. Some of the many friends of these crops include borage, chives, dill, asters, chamomile, lovage and yarrow.

Some other tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to tuck some culinary herbs all over the garden.
  • Clover, which is a weed, is a good companion plant because it adds nitrogen to the soil.
  • Consider growth habits, like placing tall plants next to plants that need shade.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works in your garden.