by Bethany Hayes
Beets are a beloved root vegetable that grows during the cool seasons and stores well for the winter months. These plants are known for being hardy and growing well in many gardens, but one way you can increase your plants’ health and vigor is to include a few beet companion plants in your garden.
Companion planting is often considered an “advanced” garden technique, but I disagree. Take one plant at a time and learn what your plants enjoy growing close to and what plants you shouldn’t plant them near. You’ll see throughout that growing season that companion planting helps your plants, and it’s not as complicated as you think.
So, if you have beets in your garden and want them to excel this year, make sure you include some of these beet companion plants.
Why You Should Plant Beet Companion Plants
If it seems like extra work to plant beet companion plants, know that your efforts are worth it. Most plants, beets included, benefit from companion plants.
When you take advantage of these pairings, they have many benefits like:
- Adding different nutrients into the soil
- Shades roots and keeps them cool
- Helps to retain moisture in the soil
- Deters pests from visiting plants that might really like
- Creates diversity in your garden that naturally mimics nature
Beets are a cool-season root vegetable that needs aerated soil rich in nutrients and not too hot. If they face weather that is too hot, they’ll bolt or become woody and not delicious. In addition, they’re known for attracting a range of pests, so companion plants help in many different ways.
13 Beet Companion Plants You Need to Grow
The great thing about picking beet companion plants is that you’ll find beets have more friends than foes. It’s easy to pick companion plants!
Broccoli belongs to the Brassicaceae family, along with cabbage and other similar veggies. These plants help your beet plants because they add essential minerals to the soil that help the beets grow and develop in solid and mature plants.
The same thing goes for Brussels sprouts! Like broccoli, planting Brussels sprouts near your beet plants helps them grow larger. As a result, you’ll end up with much more robust, healthier plants.
Don’t confuse bush beans with pole beans; these are different. Pole beans stunt the growth of your beet plants, while bush beans, butter beans, and soybeans help beet plants grow. These plans add nitrogen and other vital nutrients to the soil, enhancing growth.
Another member of the Brassicas family that beets love is cabbage. Like broccoli and brussels sprouts, cabbage enriches the soil around your beets and improves the overall quality of your plants.
One of the best herbs to plant near beets is catnip. This is a strong pest repellent that deters insects like aphids, flea beetles, squash bugs, Japanese beetles, and Colorado potato beetles. Best of all, catnip protects your beet plans against mice and voles, two particularly damaging critters.
Here’s another member of the cabbage family that you should plant with your beets. They’ll improve the quality of your plants while also casting shade throughout the warm afternoons.
Swiss chard is a popular veggie that looks beautiful in your garden, and it makes a great neighbor for your beet plants. They also like the same conditions for growing and watering needs, making sense to grow them together.
Gardeners plant garlic near beets for three reasons. First, garlic helps to deter different pests that might try to eat your beets.
The second reason is that planting garlic with beets is said to improve the beet flavor. Who doesn’t want to have tastier veggies simply by planting something close to it?
Last, garlic sends sulfur into the soil, which contains antifungal properties. It’s believed that planting garlic near beets and other plants help to prevent different diseases that might live in the ground and infect your plants.
Beets are a root crop, so they need plenty of space underground to grow and spread out. Lettuce, on the other hand, has shallow roots that don’t spread too deep. That makes them an excellent beet companion plant because lettuce fills open spaces in your garden without taking up the space your beets need.
One pest that bothers beet plants is slugs, and marigolds attract slugs. So, if you grow marigolds near your beet plants, they become a trap crop, attracting slugs to them and away from your beets.
Mint makes a great companion plant for beets because it deters so many pests. Pests hate the strong scent that these plants emit, but the problem is that mint is an invasive species and spreads everywhere. So it’s best to plant mint in pots near your beets rather than planting them in the ground.
Onions, along with shallots and leeks, are great beet companion plants. They help to naturally deter different garden pests, such as aphids and sugar beet-flea beetles, and critters like rabbits and deer dislike this plant family.
You might think that planting other root crops near your beets would be a big no-no, but radishes work great, especially if you plant fast-growing radish varieties. Some radish varieties mature in as little as 22 days, so they help to loosen up the soil, making it easier for beets to grow.
What Not to Plant Near Beets
While most plants grow great near beet plants, a few you need to avoid. Make sure not to plant these near, or you’ll end up with stunted growth.
- Pole Beans
- Field Mustard
- Wild Mustard
Plant These Companion Plants
Who knew that there were so many excellent beet companion plants? You have plenty of choices, so when you plant your veggie garden, consider using several companion plants to see what helps your beets grow the best.