14 Best Companion Plants for Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, etc.)

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Cabbage crops are common residents in vegetable gardens around the world. They’re delicious, nutritious, and many of them are incredibly easy to grow (except for you Brussels sprouts!). However, finding the right companion plants to keep your crucifers happy can be tricky.

Some plants will harm your cabbage crops, while others will make them tastier, bigger, and even deter pests.

Here is your complete guide to choosing the right companion plants for cabbage crops.

A bit about cabbage crops

Cabbages, also known as crucifers, are plants that belong to the brassica family. This includes cabbage, broccoli, kale, mustard, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, turnips, and cauliflower.

All of these vegetables are great for growing at home, but they also offer tremendous health benefits.

Brassicaceae are a very varied genus and they can cross-pollinate, so there are many unnamed or uncultivated varieties.

Cabbage crops are believed to have been cultivated since at least 400 BC, when Greek scholars wrote descriptions of kale.

You can find cabbage crops all over the world, but obviously your local climate determines which ones can be planted on your property.

Growing crucifers with other plants requires knowing the best companions. You don’t want to put two plants together that harm each other. The following section will give you everything you need to intercrop cole cops.

Choosing Cole Crop Companion Plants

Intercropping is a method of growing two or more plants together that benefit each other. You need to place the right plants next to each other if you want optimal growth and a healthy harvest at the end of the growing season.

When you are successful with intercropping, it can benefit the quality of your land and the production of your crops. In addition, it can make it easier to maintain your crops.

So what are the main things to look out for in companion plants? In addition to choosing the right species, you may want to use a mix of old and new plants or plants of different sizes. This prevents your crops from competing for the same light and nutrients.

Also, remember to avoid overcrowding and space the crops far enough apart from each other.

Becoming confident with companion planting is learning how to position and grow your crops.

Some plants have naturally tall, upright shapes, which can be great if you have limited space and want to grow a lot of crops. You can fit more crops in a small area without cluttering your property.

Taller crops are suitable for providing shade for smaller plants. You can use squash, cucumbers, or asparagus to shade shorter, cooler crucifers that need protection during the hottest hours of the day.

Best Companion Plants for Brassicas

There are many great options for companion planting with crucifers. These plants benefit cabbage crops (and vice versa):

1. Wheat

In India, it is common to combine wheat and mustard (Brassica juncea) together because the climate suits both cultures.

From an economic point of view, this combination increases production and can provide more harvest for sale. But you don’t need to sell your plants to enjoy these benefits. You can also plant wheat over mustards to promote faster growth in your garden.

Remember that mustard grows faster than wheat, so be careful not to plant crops too close together to avoid overcrowding as the mustard matures.

2. Lenses

Twinning brassica and lentils are a great choice for your garden. These two cultures are of contrasting heights, so they will not compete for the same sunshine.

Additionally, scientists published a study in the Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science concluding that planting lentils with mustard produced a greater harvest of both.

3. Sugarcane

Sugar cane and crucifers make good companion plants. A study published in Science Direct showed that sugarcane had higher yields when planted with cabbage. The sugarcane also protected the mustard from fungal spores carried by the wind. These two plants are mutually beneficial.

4. Chickpeas

Growing cabbage with chickpeas is better than separate planting. Studies show that when you combine brassica and chickpeas, it can produce a larger crop and improve soil quality.

5. Radish

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, broccoli planted with it grew taller than broccoli grown alone.

6. Nasturtium

Cabbage, cauliflower and kale can be grown alongside nasturtium. This magnificent plant is the perfect companion for your cabbage crops. The nasturtium is ideal for attracting wildlife such as butterflies, which will keep pests such as caterpillars away from Brassica.

7. Mint

Mint gives off a pleasant scent that will act as a safety measure to prevent flea beetles from eating away at your crops. Plus, you can harvest mint for fresh tea and cook in your kitchen!

8. Peas

A 2015 study found that crucifers planted with peas as companion plants improved yields, so put these two cool-weather-loving buddies together.

9. Beans

Growing Crucifers with Broad Beans (Vicia Faba) and grass peas (Lathyrus sativus) showed a damage reduction of Psylliodes chrysocephala, Ceutorhynchus napi, and Brassicogethes aeneus beetles in one study.

10. Fennel

Fennel helps reduce aphid populations in mustard according to study.

Again, another BioOne study found no benefit from planting Indian mustard, fennel, dill or buckwheat with kale to repel green peach aphids. Further research is therefore needed.

Either way, it doesn’t hurt to put the two together, so why not go out there and see what’s happening in your garden?

11. Potatoes

When rapeseed was planted with potatoes in the tests, both plants did better.

12. Allium

Garlic, chives and onions all have a strong odor that repels many pests that attack cabbage crops. In fact, many people plant garlic as a pest control in the garden.

13. Turnips

Turnips and kale planted together had higher yields, in a study at New Mexico State University.

14. Flowers

Compared to monoculture, where a single plant is grown on a plot of land, polyculture is the opposite. Polyculture is when a variety of plants are grown in an area.

Adding a diverse range of flowers to your vegetables increases the biodiversity of your garden and helps encourage pollinators and deter or trap pests.

Choose flowers that will attract beneficial pollinators to your brassica garden. Some great options include:

  • Dandelion
  • Zinnia
  • Sunflower
  • Cosmos
  • tansy
  • Worry
  • Borage

Plants to Avoid

For cabbage crops, you should never plant them near tomatoes, strawberries, or other cabbage crops. You should also avoid radishes. When radishes and cabbage were planted together, it actually reduced the yields of both.

How to Grow Cabbage Crops for Success

Cabbage crops are primarily cool season plants that thrive in colder climates. If the weather gets too hot, it can cause bolting and ruin your crop. This usually means Brassicaceae are planted in early spring or fall.

You can even grow cabbages year-round in some areas, especially if you choose hybrids or cultivars bred for cool weather.

Plant cabbages in rich, well-drained soil. Test the acidity before placing the seeds in the ground. Ideally, you want to have soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0.

As far as watering goes, give your cole crops plenty of moisture, but avoid letting the soil get too soggy.

Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to increase growth and nourish your plant. Well-rotted manure can also be applied monthly if you are concerned about the health of your crops.

Watch out for aphids, cutworms and cabbage maggot. These insects are known to feed on cabbage crops, so it is vital to prevent them from infecting your plants.

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