If you want to improve your beet plants’ growth, taste, and yields, look no further than companion planting. Companion planting offers many benefits to the organic gardener, from weed suppression to pest management. There is no trick to any of it; it’s just a matter of knowing the best beet companion plants to add to your specific environment.
THE BENEFITS OF COMPANION PLANTING
Companion planting will bring multiple benefits to your garden. Many plants have beneficial partners that can help improve growth and taste, and produce higher yields when planted side by side.
Attract pollinators: Planting colorful flowers and herbs with strong scents will attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Attract beneficial predatory insects: The same flowers and herbs can attract helpful insects like wasps, predatory hoverflies, and ladybugs. These insects will help curb pest infestations throughout the garden.
Repel harmful insects: Plants, like mint and lavender with solid aromas, can work well to deter common garden pests. But, at the same time, plants like nasturtium or radishes can attract harmful pests away from precious crops.
Help improve the soil: Flowers like tagets (marigolds) help destroy root-knot nematodes that live in the ground and destroy plants from the root up. Other plants can act as living mulch to help control moisture in the soil.
Help control weeds: Planting anything densely, like leafy greens or flowers, can help reduce weeds.
Companion planting can help with disease issues. Diseases are spread more quickly through your garden when plants of the same type are grouped. Adding different plants throughout the garden can help break up groupings and slow the spread of diseases like blight, powdery mildew, and a whole host of viral infections.
You can see from this list that companion planting offers many benefits for organic gardens.
QUICK PLANTING AND CARE TIPS FOR Beets
Planting out: You can direct sow seeds in the garden up to a month before the last frost date in your area. Beets are also one of the few root crops that transplant well, so you can buy your seedlings at a local garden center or start indoors eight weeks before your last frost date.
Sun Requirements: Full sun or light shade.
Soil requirements: Plant in well-draining fertile soil with lots of organic matter. Beets grow exceptionally well in raised beds and containers.
Water requirements: Beets require an inch of water a week.
Learn More: We have an entire article all about Growing Beets in Containers!
THE QUICK LIST OF Great Companion plants for Beets
These are the plants that partner well interplanted with Beets:
- Bush Beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Leafy Greens
- Sweet asylum
VEGETABLE COMPANION PLANTS FOR
The best vegetable companion plants help repel pesky insects or benefit vegetable crops with better health and growth.
When planted near beets, Bush beans, butter beans, and soybeans will all grow exceptionally well. In addition, beans will enrich the soil with nitrogen and nutrients, which will help your beets grow stronger.
To be clear, bush beans only are good companions; pole beans (which we talk about below) make bad neighbors.
Members of the allium family
Members of the onion family, like leeks, shallots, onions, and garlic, can be a natural repellant for certain insect pests that like to munch on beets, like flea beetles, Colorado potato beetles, and aphids.
Garlic planted as a companion will help improve the taste of your beets.
Another benefit of growing beets and garlic side by side is that garlic releases sulfur into the soil as it grows. Sulfur is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial that helps reduce many diseases in the soil.
Related: There are so many vegetables and fruits that benefit from being planted near garlic. We wrote an article all about garlic companion plants that you may find helpful while planning out your garden.
Members of the brassica family
The best companion plants for beets are members of the cabbage family. Plant your beets around and near vegetables like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi to enrich the soil and improve the taste, quality, and growth of brassicas.
Beet leaves are high in manganese and iron, and any leaves that fall or are tilled will release those nutrients back into the soil for the brassicas.
Carrots & radishes
Two good companion plants for beets are Radishes and carrots. Radishes and carrots will help improve the soil by breaking up the ground with their long taproots.
Radishes can also be planted on the edge of the garden beds as a trap crop for flea beetles.
- Learn More: See all the companion plants that do well planted with carrots.
- Related: Did you know you can grow carrots in pots on your porch or deck? You can! See our step-by-step guide to get started.
Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach with shallow roots do not compete with beets for water or nutrients. Densely planted around beets, leafy greens can help choke out weeds and act as a living mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.
AROMATIC HERBS MAKE GREAT COMPANIONS FOR Beets
Many aromatic herbs attract beneficial insects and repel harmful ones. In addition, herbs as useful in the garden and the kitchen, so there is no need to hold back when adding herbs to your vegetable garden!
Catnip will repel harmful beetle pests like Colorado potato, Japanese beetles, and flea beetles. The plants can also help repel aphids and squash bugs. It’s a great herb to add to your beet bed for general pest protection.
Plant the catnip near your beets to achieve the best results. Catnip also offers a clever solution for one of the beets’ most common pests – voles and mice. This herb will attract cats to your garden, which in turn will help deal with your rodent problem.
Catnip will also attract helpful insects like bees and parasitic wasps.
- Learn More: We have an article about growing catnip from seed to harvest that you may find helpful.
Sage is said to help repel cabbage moths in the garden. Cabbage moths can damage beet leaves, so it is best to protect your crop from cabbage worms if you’re growing them for the greens. Plant sage on the outside edges to create a protective border around your beet bed. Or plant between rows.
All varieties of mint will help deter cabbage moths and aphids. Mint also improves the soil by attracting earthworms. Please ensure you add a barrier around your mint plant so it doesn’t spread. Mint can be invasive and get out of hand very quickly.
COMPANION PLANTING beets WITH FLOWERS
Who doesn’t love a little pop of color in the garden? Beyond the beautiful that flowers add to a veggie patch, they also provide several incredible benefits:
Sweet asylum will work as a living mulch to keep the ground cool and moist. In addition, the flowers and foliage of Sweet Asylum will create shelters for beneficial insects like spiders and ground beetles, which can help reduce populations of harmful insects like Mexican bean beetles.
Nasturtiums make a great addition to the garden to help attract numerous beneficial insects. They also act as a trap crop for flea beetles and aphids, two insects that love to munch on beet greens.
The flowers will also help attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, hoverflies, soldier beetles, and parasitic wasps, which will help deal with insect pest infestations like spider mites and cucumber beetles.
Plants like nasturtiums that spread across the ground serve as a living mulch that will help suppress weeds and keep moisture from evaporating.
Learn More: Nasturtium companion plants.
Marigolds make an excellent companion for beets. The strongly scented flowers have many benefits!
Attract beneficial predatory insects: Marigolds help attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps hoverflies and ladybugs. Ladybugs, in particular, will feast on aphids infestations.
Help improve the soil: Turning the marigolds into the soil at the end of the season helps kill pests like root-knot nematodes. Be sure to use French and Mexican marigolds if you need to fend off nematodes.
Learn More: Marigold Companion Planting
WHAT NOT TO PLANT WITH beets
A few plants will cause issues if planted near your beets. These plants can stunt growth and pass on diseases. We consider the following bad companions for beets:
Green beans grow in two styles: bush and pole. Pole beans, also known as runner beans, are green beans that grow tall on climbing vines. Bush beans make good companion plants for beets – pole beans do not.
The pole beans and the beets will be negatively impacted by the other and cause stunted and slowed growth. In addition, the excess nitrogen from the pole beans (higher than with bush beans) will cause the beets to grow lush greens at the expense of the root.
Beets grown with field mustard grow poorly and do not mature as they should. Therefore, you should avoid planting mustard in or around the beets.
Chardok or chard is in the same family as beets and will pass on similar diseases and pests. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid planting chard anywhere near beets.
Give Companion Planting A Try
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The key to companion planting is to understand your challenges before planning. You can see from this list how specific plants and plant combinations work well in the garden. But you need to consider the “why” before adding a companion.
For instance, planting beets with broccoli will enhance flavor, but planting with marigolds will help deter pests. Either of these plants would make good companions, but one of them will be better in your specific environment.
If you want more information about companion planting, I highly recommend the book “Carrots Love Tomatoes. “
Important Note About Planting Multiple Companion Plants
You can plant multiple companion plants per bed or row, but you must check that each plant works well together.
Looking for More Companion Planting Ideas – We have you covered!
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- Lettuce Companion Plants: What to Grow With Lettuce?
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You can plant beets under tomato plants. The beets will enjoy the tomatoes’ shade and will not compete for water or nutrients. There isn’t much of a beneficial relationship between tomatoes and beets, but they can grow side by side without much issue.
You can plant beets under the pepper plant. The beets will enjoy the shade the peppers provide. There isn’t much of a beneficial relationship between peppers and beets, but they can without negatively impacting one another.