Companion planting has always been a must for our growing urban space to maximize the area and create a biodiverse environment.
When I work with families and schools, we talk about companion "Bros" and "Foes" to help plan a space that creates a healthy garden ecosystem.
The "Bros" are good plants to grow near each other because their proximity benefits one or both crops.
"Foes," on the other hand, are the crops you want to avoid growing within a garden bed. They can inhibit one or both crops' growth due to competing for space or nutrients or require different growing environments.
Below are four of my favorite Warm Season (late Spring and Summer) Herbs sprinkled around the garden to provide some fruit-bearing crops with company and protection. They're hearty growers, taste delicious, and are super nutritious. Find recipes for all four herbs here.
Probably my favorite in the garden due to being able to add it to numerous dishes or brew it to create an immunity-boosting elixer. You can also locate innumerable varieties (Lemon, French, Orangelo, and Silver Fox, to name a few) for this sun-loving drought tolerant herb at your local plant nursery.
Thyme Warm Season Bros - Tomatoes, Eggplant, Potatoes, Shallots, Strawberries, and Peppers.
Thyme War Season Foes: Basil, Parsley, Cilantro (these herbs prefer moist soil, while Thyme thrives in sandy soil).
This plant often comes to mind when I think of culinary herbs. Also sun-loving and drought tolerant, I love to add multiple plants along the edges of garden beds for the beauty and strong scent that deters numerous fruit plant-eating pests.
Oregano Warm Season Bros: Peppers, Eggplant, Tomatoes
Squash, Beans, Strawberries
Oregano Warm Season Foes: Basil, Chives, Onions, Garlic, and Mint
The hardiest of the four, Rosemary is easy to grow and a favorite to add to roasted potatoes, meat dishes, and freshly popped popcorn. However, unlike Thyme and Oregano, which are in the same plant family as Rosemary, Rosemary is a big foe for tomato plants. Take it from someone who has experienced it firsthand, but your needed tomato plant nutrients will be robbed if Rosemary is within a few feet of planting space and leave you wondering why your tomato plants seem stunted. That pairing aside, it's not to be ignored because it has plenty of Bros. See below.
Rosemary Warm Season Bros: Peppers, Carrots, Beans, Strawberries
Rosemary Warm Season Foes: Tomatoes, Basil, Chives, Onions, Garlic, and Mint
If you believe in clearing your energy with the cleansing herb, you better believe this herb brings both beauty and good mojo into your growing space. Also known as Salvia plants, there are numerous varieties to include and enjoy. Like every herb on this list, Sage loves the sun and can tolerate days in between watering. Low maintenance and perfect for warm and dry growing zones.
Sage Warm Season Bros: Carrots, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Peppers
Sage Warm Season Foes: Cucumbers, Onions, Garlic
Also, you can still grow these incredible herbs without having a garden plot or yard. Even 1-2 square feet in the sun (we've kept them by our front door) will work. Grow Bags will really help you create some growing space. Find out how to do that here.