Companion planting carrots well can lead to improved yields with less insect problems and even better tasting carrots. It’s an interesting and productive endeavor to companion plant. You can provide cover from sun or wind, attract beneficial insects, and trick unwanted insects. Companion planting involves thinking of the garden environment in its entirety.
Companion planting is a form of polyculture or planting different plants next to each other instead of one bed of carrots and one bed of tomatoes you’ll plant a bed of tomatoes, carrots, and chives. This type of gardening can lead to better use of space and less loss to insect or disease that can ravage a whole bed of the same plant.
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 grow 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 the soil at the base of the tomatoes allowing the soil to retain moisture better.
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 eggs near the vegetable plants mentioned that once hatched feed on these crops. You may notice foliage turning 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 these odiferous plants and 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
Planting carrots next to radishes is an idea I got from YouTuber Back to Reality. The premise is that radishes that finish up in four weeks 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.
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 type of plant carrots included.
The way that legumes do this is by a symbiotic relationship with certain 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 use for growth and leaving the soil richer with nitrogen.
Sometimes legumes are not as selective and will take up bacteria that are not as effective at nitrogen fixing into their roots. This soil inoculant will add bacteria strains that are effective at nitrogen fixing making the odds greater that the bacteria the legumes take on are holding up their end of the symbiotic relationship.
Companion Plant Carrots & Herbs Like Rosemary and Sage
Rosemary and sage are two herbs that don’t grow well next to other herbs. They are good companion plants for carrots because of their strong smell which masks the carrot plants from carrot flies.
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 mainly phosphorous.
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 keep pests away.
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.