As the herb bed becomes more and more lush over the years, at some point the question arises which garden herb should be planted next to which other. In the following article you will get an overview of which herbs and garden herbs go together, and also a first preview of the beneficial effects garden herbs can have in mixed cultures with vegetables.

The natural neighbors in the herb bed

Most herbs harbor a rather strange contradiction in terms: With a few exceptions, they belong to the poor eaters, that is, they have developed under natural conditions that do not represent the dream environments that a plant “could imagine “: Most herbs have settled in their natural environment in the lean, nutrient-poor and often quite dry locations, from which there is really not much to get for plants.

Nevertheless, herbs around the world have succeeded in getting the most out of this poor soil: They developed a wide variety of aromatic substances, essential oils and secondary plant substances that are helpful in coping with unfavorable influences, all the substances that we benefit from today. It was probably evolution’s clever answer to an almost hostile environment, where nutrients weren’t exactly abundant.

Most garden herbs will still grow better in our gardens if they are planted in poor soil.

Herbs, which are native to the southern climate, only develop their best aroma when they are allowed to enjoy dry lean soil, but with us as much sun as possible. These are the herbs for the sunniest spot in the garden:

  • Anise, Pimpinella anisum
  • Basilikum, Ocimum basilicum
  • Berglauch, Allium senescens
  • Bergbohnenkraut, Satureja montana
  • Borretsch, Borago officinalis
  • Dill, Anethum graveolens
  • Spice fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  • Roman Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile
  • Coriander, Coriandrum sativum
  • Kreuzkümmel, Cuminum cyminum
  • Echter Kümmel, Carum carvi
  • Lavendel, Lavandula angustifolia
  • Lovage, Levisticum officinale
  • Laurel, Laurus nobilis – can usually only be overwintered in a bucket
  • True Majoran, Majorana hortensis
  • Olivenkraut, Santolina viridis
  • Oregano, Origanum vulgare
  • Pfefferminze, Mentha piperita
  • Portulaca, Portulaca oleracea
  • Rosemary, Rosemary officinalis
  • Sage, Salvia officinalis
  • Thymian, Thymus vulgaris
  • Weinraute, Ruta graveolens
  • Ysop, Hyssopus officinalis

Actually, all herbs grow best on poor soils or unfertilized soils in a sunny location, where they definitely develop the best aroma. Herbs should never be planted in an area of ​​the garden that is suspected of being over-fertilized, and they should never be fertilized during their development, as this could also leave a taste mark on organic fertilizers. Most herbs really don’t like heavy and moist soils at all, but there are a few exceptions that come into contact with moist and nutrient-rich soil in their natural environment and will therefore also accept a location with normal, humus garden soil in their garden without that you would have to mix in lots of sand beforehand:

  • Bärenklau, Acanthus mollis
  • Bergminze, Calamintha grandiflora
  • French tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus v. sativa
  • Garden cress, perennial, Lepidium latifolium
  • Meerrettich, Armoracia rusticana
  • Parsley, Petroselimum crispum
  • Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
  • Schnittknoblauch, Allium tuberosum
  • Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis “Limoni”
  • Zitronenverbene, Lippia (Aloysia) citriodora (triphylla)

If you group the herbs in the selected locations, you should of course also pay attention to the height of the individual plants so that the herbs in the first row do not shade the plants behind and thus hinder growth.

Beneficial mixed herbs

As you will learn from the somewhat more extensive consideration of the mixed culture in the garden, certain plants promote or hinder each other. The answer to the question of which herbs and garden herbs go together is therefore not limited to the location requirements, but goes beyond this in many details. Based purely on the herb bed, experience shows that the following garden herbs go particularly well together:

  • Aniseed and coriander
  • Fennel with chamomile and caraway seeds, rosemary and sage and with onion (leek)
  • Rue with hyssop

Apart from that, you can simply group the garden herbs according to the compatibility of their location and heights of growth, but it is rather unknown that any herbs do not want to grow next to each other – if you want to cope in a rather barren environment, you have to slide a little together and must not be too Etepetete

Garden herbs mixed with vegetables

Actually, the best cultivation arrangement for garden herbs is not necessarily about how the herbs are mixed in a bed only planted with herbs. It is about the use of herbs in a mixed culture that extends to all harvested plants in the garden, in which the herbs can develop even more positive effects.

If you cultivate the plants in your garden in mixed culture, this has many advantages: The monocultures that are far too common today are a pure “land of milk and honey” because the pests can eat there unhindered – at most through human (chemical) influence. can multiply and spread. Of course, these monocultures are not, however, every area overgrown without human influence always has a diverse mixture of the most diverse plants. This mixture is not as arbitrary as it appears at first glance, but the plants are grouped in a masterfully meaningful way: All these plants growing next to each other have their very special demands on the soil, their water supply and the ambient climate.

They form combinations all by themselves, which (usually better than in any gardening textbook) ensure that the requirements of the individual plants are met as well as possible. Some plants complement each other and even encourage their development. There are good reasons why other plants do not grow next to each other because they would weaken each other; the unfavorable growth neighbors are often actively prevented from settling by these plants in that the first colonist releases substances that hinder the development of the competitor. When you create a mixed culture, you make use of exactly these mutual influencing factors as a gardener.

Since this article is about the right locations for herbs and not about the advantageous grouping of a mixed vegetable culture, the basic principles according to which the “mixed up mixed culture” is classified are briefly addressed here: A mixed culture takes into account the different nutrient requirements of the individual plants , The plants are therefore divided into high consumers, medium consumers and weak consumers (e.g. herbs) and planted accordingly. Within these groups there are good neighbors, such as the average eaters of carrots and onions, and bad neighbors, e.g. B. Celery next to potatoes or sweet corn, and then there is also a good or bad successor, which vegetable can follow a certain vegetable in the next season. The basic rule here is

Within the composition of such a mixed culture that promotes the nutrient content in the garden soil and the individual plants, herbs can develop their greatest usefulness as neighbors:

The herbs as welcome neighbors in the vegetable patch (or flowerbed)

Many plants exert a wide variety of positive effects on one another or on other organisms in their environment, via mechanisms that have developed for various reasons. They give off scents that deter or irritate pests or they release certain substances into the soil via their roots, which inhibit or encourage other plants to grow. The science of the interactions between plants and between plants and microorganisms or fungi is called allelopathy, and herbs in particular are highly “allelopathic”.

Here is an overview of which herbs have positive effects on which vegetables and for what reason:

  • Basil: Delights with tomatoes, cucumber, and cabbage. Protects against powdery mildew and white flies.
  • Savory: Goes well with beans, beetroot, lettuce. Repels the black bean louse, the fragrances promote the growth of neighbors and even improve the aroma of beans.
  • Borage: Helps cucumbers, courgettes and other insect-pollinated vegetables by attracting insects.
  • Dill: Does cauliflower, beans, peas, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, beetroot, beets, lettuce, asparagus and onions well. Promotes the ability to germinate, the fragrances keep pests away.
  • Fennel: Surrounds especially strawberries, peas, lettuce and onions profitably with the essential oil fenchon, which is said to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Nasturtium: drives away aphids from potatoes and (young) fruit trees, promotes general plant health.
  • Chervil: Should protect lettuce plants from attack by aphids.
  • Garlic: Goes well with strawberries, cucumbers, carrots, beetroot, lettuce, celery and tomatoes, where it successfully spreads its bactericidal and fungicidal effects.
  • Watercress: Radishes in particular are said to benefit from its isothiocyanates (mustard oils) when planted nearby.
  • Caraway: Strawberries, potatoes, lettuce and onions should feel good next to caraway plants and in the haze of your essential oils.
  • Lavender: Protects against ants and aphids, but only certain of the many types of lavender on offer.
  • Horseradish: Good neighbor for potatoes, cherries and peaches, protects against frizz and monilia fungi.
  • Parsley: Radishes, radishes and tomatoes in particular should benefit from their essential oils, polyins and furanocoumarins in the neighborhood.
  • Peppermint: Should protect potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and wine from powdery mildew.
  • Radish: acts as a neighbor of leek as a defense against leek moths.
  • Vermouth: Should protect currant neighbors from infestation with pillar rust.
  • Onions and onion leek: Helps against fungal diseases and spider mites with strawberries and carrots, and should also drive away the carrot fly to a certain extent.

If a garden herb is to protect lettuce or potatoes against attack by aphids, you can of course also plant this herb next to roses, which are often threatened by aphids, the aphids will not develop a different taste here. Garlic will also “stink” just as effectively against bacteria and fungi, not only next to strawberries, but also next to roses and other flowers.

Sometimes herbs can also have harmful effects, these garden herbs should not be placed in the vicinity of the following plants:

  • Fennel next to beans and tomatoes
  • Garlic next to beans, peas and cabbage
  • Parsley next to lettuce
  • Onions next to beans, peas, cabbage and radishes

Herbs are generally not squeamish about their neighborhood, and you can almost never go wrong with a location in poor soil. However, as neighbors of certain plants, you can also use the herbs specifically to support the culture; they have many beneficial allelopathic properties.

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