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Using companion planting in your garden can help you attract beneficial insects, deter pests and bugs that can damage your crops, and add beneficial nutrients to the soil. If you have decided to start growing kale in your garden you might be wondering what grows well with kale? In this article we go over companion plants for kale and what not to grow with kale in the garden.
Kale is a very popular dark leafy green that is a cool weather crop. Many plants will grow well with kale, both giving benefits to the kale crop and receiving benefits from the kale growing in your garden.
Good Companion Plants for Kale
- Swiss Chard
Beans will add nitrogen to the soil, which is a nutrient that kale needs. Since beans will add this and not take it away from the kale growing in the soil it is a great companion plant for kale. Beans would include different types of green beans and legumes.
Beets and Radishes are good companion plants to put near kale since they grow underground and won’t disturb the growing area kale needs.
Buckwheat will attract beneficial insects. It also will increase the nitrogen in the soil and provide a great ground-cover.
Peppers and Potatoes will not be competing for the same nutrients in the soil as kale so they are a great companion plant for kale.
Marigolds make a good companion plant for many crops including kale. They help keep pests off your kale. Use marigolds as a border so these pests don’t go past the marigolds.
Nasturtium will attract beneficial insects that will help control pests like aphids when used as a companion plant in the garden.
Herbs such as Basil, Catnip, Chamomile, Cilantro, Dill, Lemongrass, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme will all help repel unwanted insects. They are also what we call a light feeder, so they won’t take nutrients away from kale growing nearby.
Lavender will also deter unwanted pests. But when using lavender as a companion plant be sure not to also put other companions near that will need a good amount of water as that will hurt your lavender growing.
Lettuce, Celery, Swiss Chard, and Spinach all grow well with kale. Since these leafy greens are in different families they will not attract the same pests that can cause issues with growing kale.
What Not To Plant With Kale
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Collard Greens should not be planted with kale. Members of the brassica plant family can attract pests that will attack all of the brassica plants in the same area. So it is best to keep these in different areas of your garden.
Horseradish can have difficulty being planted near kale because once kale is harvested the pests that tend to attract to kale will move to the horseradish.
Strawberries attract many of the same pests as Kale will, so it is best not to plant these two crops together.
Sunflowers have allelochemicals that can impede the growth of neighboring plants or even stop seeds from other plants to germinate.
Tomatoes: Some people say that tomatoes can be a companion plant for kale and others say not to use it as a companion plant with kale. Tomatoes need lots of nutrients from the soil so it is best to make sure to keep them separate from your kale crop so you kale can get all the nutrients it needs. You can find good companion plants for tomatoes here.