by Jennifer Poindexter
Beets are a wonderful cool weather crop that many people grow because you get multiple products from one plant.
For instance, you can begin harvesting beet greens in approximately four to six weeks after planting. Then the root vegetable itself is ready in about eight weeks.
If you’d like to grow a fast-growing and multi-faceted crop, don’t miss out on beets. However, be sure to try your hand at companion planting while you’re at it.
Companion planting can help your garden thrive with less work on your part. Here’s what you should know about companion planting with beets:
The Benefits of Companion Planting with Beets
Companion planting does take some planning on your part. This might make you wonder why you should put so much effort into deciding which plants grow near each other.
There are many benefits to companion planting with beets. The first benefit is that different vegetables can add a variety of nutrients to the soil.
This helps your plants thrive because nutrients are naturally being added to their growing space while they’re maturing.
The second reason many people companion plant with beets is that taller plants can help provide shade.
As mentioned earlier, beets are a cool-weather crop. By having taller plants provide a little extra shade it can keep your beet harvest from becoming woody and even extend the growing season.
Some companion crops can help keep moisture in the soil because they serve as a living mulch. Other companion crops can also help with naturally keeping unwanted pests at bay.
Finally, companion planting with beets can help maximize your growing space. There are some crops with such similar growing conditions, they can be interplanted.
Now that you understand why companion planting is an important part of growing this crop, let’s discuss which plants work well with beets.
Companion Plants for Beets
Beets are particular as to which types of beans they grow best with. For instance, you may not grow pole beans with beets.
However, bush beans are a perfect fit. This variety of bean adds nitrogen to the soil in a balanced amount. Where beets are root crops, they can’t handle too much nitrogen or you’ll end up with bushy tops and no root harvest.
The allium family consists of plants like leeks, onions, shallots, and garlic. These crops have the ability to repel aphids, flea beetles, deer, and other small animals which want to enjoy your beet harvest before you do.
However, garlic is a special companion plant from this family. It not only deters pests, but it also improves the flavor of the beet. Plus, it puts sulfur into the soil. This is important as it’s an antifungal property and has the ability to protect your crops from disease.
When growing catnip as a companion plant, be sure to use caution. This herb can become invasive if not tended to properly. It might be best to grow catnip in a container around your beets.
Once you have the catnip settled, sit back and enjoy the benefits. This plant is known for deterring beetles, aphids, mice, and voles. This will protect your beets to ensure you have an abundant harvest.
When these crops are planted together, the soil improves which enhances the harvest of all plants involved.
However, beets and corn grow well together. The corn provides shade for the beets, and the growing conditions for beets are suitable for corn as well.
Some people aren’t a fan of mixing their vegetable garden with herbs. Other people love this style of gardening.
When it comes to companion planting, it’s good to mix the two. In this case, thyme is a fragrant herb that helps keep unwanted pests away from your beets.
Mint is another fragrant herb that pairs well with beets. You should be careful when growing mint in your garden as it can become invasive.
In this case, we typically recommend growing mint in pots next to your beets. Once your mint is situated, let its aroma travel. You may enjoy the scent but pests probably won’t and will keep their distance.
Rosemary is a flavorful herb that many people enjoy cooking with. If you’ve ever used it, you know this herb is fragrant as well.
You’ll be glad to know that its fragrance is good for more than making your food smell and taste delicious. This herb’s fragrance is yet another barrier to pests.
Our final fragrant herb which pairs well with beets is hyssop. This is another herb that makes an excellent companion in the garden. However, this herb grows to be a little larger.
Therefore, not only does it deter pests, but it can also provide shade for beets to help keep their roots cool. The shade may also help with moisture retention as well.
Most people don’t consider growing oats in their vegetable garden unless they’re using it for a cover crop.
In this case, oats could be used as a companion to your beets. This crop is known for keeping sugar beetroot maggots away.
Planting flowers in your vegetable garden isn’t unheard of. In fact, many people do this as a form of companion planting. Marigolds make an excellent companion plant for beets.
Their bright colors welcome pollinators, their scent keeps certain pests away, and in some cases marigolds are used as a sacrificial flower. When growing with beets, marigolds can be used to attract slugs and draw them away from your beet crop.
Are you concerned with the idea of growing two root vegetables in close proximity? In this case, you shouldn’t be.
Radishes reach harvest faster than beets. Therefore, they don’t overlap or compete for space. Instead, radishes loosen the soil for the beets to mature.
Our final companion plant for beets is lettuce. Planting these two vegetables side by side is an excellent way to maximize your growing space.
Lettuce has shallow roots and enjoys similar growing conditions as beets. Therefore, the two plants won’t compete for nutrients or growing space since they’ll draw nutrients from different levels of the soil.
Plants You Shouldn’t Grow with Beets
We can’t close our discussion of companion planting with beets without talking about the plants you should avoid growing around this crop.
To begin, you shouldn’t grow pole beans near your beets. This is confusing to some since bush beans are considered a companion.
The issue arises because pole beans and beets can stunt each other’s growth. Also, pole beans put too much nitrogen into the soil which causes an imbalance and can impact your beet harvest.
The next plant to avoid growing with beets is fennel. This plant doesn’t grow well with most plants in the garden and is known for stunting or killing the plants that grow in the same vicinity.
You should avoid growing field mustard near beets as they can lead to stunted growth. Our last plant is a little controversial.
If you grow chard near beets, be mindful. In some cases, these two plants could be considered companions because they have such similar growing conditions.
However, for this same reason you must use caution because they can also attract the same pests which could ruin the harvest of both plants.
These are a few things you should take into consideration when selecting where to place your beets in the garden.
Now that you understand which crops grow well around beets, and which do not, it’s time to start planning your garden.
Be selective as to where you place your beets to ensure you’re maximizing the potential of each plant and of your growing area. A little planning can go a long way when growing your own produce.