Companion planting carrots can lead to improved yields with less insect problems and even better tasting carrots.
It’s an interesting and productive endeavor to companion plant carrots. You can provide cover from sun to keep the soil temperature down, attract beneficial insects, and trick unwanted insects.
Companion planting involves thinking of the garden environment in its entirety. It is a form of polyculture, or planting different plants next to each other instead of a whole bed of this or whole bed of that.
This type of gardening can lead to better use of space and less loss to insect or disease that would otherwise easily find and ravage a whole bed of its favorite food source .
On a side note, possibly the most successful companion planting in history is The Three Sisters: Corn, Squash, and Beans.
Companion Planting Carrots & Tomatoes
Tomatoes are warm weather plants that grow above the ground. Carrots are a cool weather crop that grow below the ground. It makes sense that these two opposites do well together.
Tomato plants provide some shade to the carrot plants and the solanine produced by tomatoes is a natural insecticide to pests of carrot plants.
Carrots aerate the soil around tomato plants roots while the top growth of the carrots shades sun at a lower level that gets through the tomato plant keeping the soil temperature cooler for both plants.
There is a book originally published in 1975 titled Carrots Love Tomatoes. It’s a good title and definitely has some merit but there are many plants that grow well with carrots.
Carrot Plants With Onions, Leeks, Garlic & Chives
Onions, leeks, garlic, and chives are all aromatic plants that will help to keep away carrot flies attracted to the carrot plant by smell.
Carrot flies can destroy crops of carrots and similar plants like parsnips, celery, and dill by laying their eggs near the plants and once the eggs hatch the larvae feed on these crops.
You may notice foliage turning yellow and brown or not find out that these guys are eating your root crops until you dig them up.
If you do have a problem with carrot flies try companion planting onions, leeks, garlic, or chives next to the carrot plants. These odiferous plants should help keep carrot fly levels down. Also move the carrot plants to a different part of the garden next year to avoid any fly pupae that are dormant in the soil.
Chives are also known to repel aphids which attack celery, lettuce, peas, and others. Another benefit of chives is their purple flower heads that attract pollinators to the garden.
I read from numerous sources that chives planted near carrots can improve the flavor, texture, and length of carrots. I couldn’t find an explanation for this but if anybody knows or has any theories I’d love to hear.
Plant Carrots With Radishes
The premise of companion planting carrots and radishes is that radishes finish up in four weeks and will provide a nice space for carrots to grow into as carrots start to grow underground.
Most carrots take 70 to 80 days to reach maturity after they sprout and their first month of growth is mostly top growth.
Plant Carrots With Legumes
Legumes like peas and pole beans are nitrogen fixing plants. This means they take nitrogen from the air and put it into the ground.
Nitrogen is the primary nutrient for plant growth and the most important of the three macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K). This makes legumes great companion plants for just about any garden vegetable carrots included.
The way that legumes fix nitrogen into the soil is by a symbiotic relationship with certain strains of soil bacterias that take up residence in the legumes root system.
The bacteria that live in the host legume’s root system are the organisms that do the nitrogen fixing. Producing nitrogen the legumes and any nearby plants use for growth and leaving the soil richer with nitrogen after the plants are done for the season.
Sometimes legumes are not as selective and will take up bacteria that are not as effective at nitrogen fixing into their roots.
If you’re growing legumes this soil inoculant will add bacteria strains to your soil that are effective at nitrogen fixing. This way the odds are greater that the bacteria the legumes take up are holding up their end of the symbiotic relationship.
Avoid Planting Carrots Near These Plants
Potatoes, cabbage, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, dill, and parsnips all should be planted away from carrots. Root crops in general should be planted apart as they will compete for the same nutrients and space.
Dill and fennel both produce compounds that are harmful to carrots. Fennel attracts pests that do damage to a number of garden vegetables and so are a good thing to plant away from the main garden to distract pests away from the garden. This is known as a trap crop.
Parsnips, celery, and dill all attract carrot flies so its best to avoid planting them near each other as it makes a nice buffet for those guys. Parsnips also attracts similar diseases that attack carrots.
Please comment below with your own thoughts, experiences, knowledge about companion planting carrots.