Mad About Berries

Broccoli Companion Plants and Plants to Avoid

Broccoli thrives in the company of certain plants, which can help it grow better by repelling pests or enhancing soil nutrients.

However, some plants can hinder their growth due to competition or by attracting pests.

Published: March 22, 2024.

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Companion Plants for Broccoli

Here is the list of plants that can be grown as broccoli companion plants with the short description why each of them may be helpful when growing broccoli:

  • Aromatic Herbs: Herbs like dill, rosemary, sage, and thyme can repel pests that commonly affect broccoli.
  • Onions, Garlic, and Chives: These plants can help repel pests with their strong scents.
  • Marigolds: Marigolds can deter pests and nematodes in the soil that might affect broccoli.
  • Nasturtiums: These flowers act as a trap crop for aphids, luring them away from broccoli.
  • Leafy Greens: Lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard can be planted close to broccoli as they do not compete heavily for nutrients.
  • Celery: It can help repel cabbage white butterfly, which is a common pest for broccoli.
  • Beets: They are considered good companions for broccoli as they don't compete for nutrients.

Plants to Avoid Near Broccoli

Some plants can be grown with broccoli, some shouldn't. Here is a quick list with descriptions of the most common garden plants that should not be grown next to broccoli:

  • Strawberries: They can inhibit the growth of broccoli if planted too close.
  • Tomatoes: Both tomatoes and broccoli demand a lot of nutrients from the soil, leading to competition.
  • Peppers and Eggplants: Similar to tomatoes, these members of the nightshade family compete with broccoli for nutrients and can also spread blight.
  • Mustards: They can attract pests that are harmful to broccoli.
  • Climbing Beans and Pole Beans: These beans can hinder the growth of broccoli by overshadowing and competing for nutrients. However, bush beans are generally considered not only to be compatible with broccoli, but as they fix air nitrogen in the soil, they make the soil nitrogen richer.

When planning your garden, it's essential to consider these companion and antagonist plants for broccoli to ensure a healthy and productive garden.

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Broccoli and Crop Rotation

Growing certain plants before broccoli in a crop rotation system can improve soil structure, increase nutrient availability, and reduce pest and disease pressure.

Plants to Grow Before Broccoli

Here are some good options to grow before planting broccoli:

  • Legumes (Peas and Beans): Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, making more nitrogen available for nitrogen-hungry plants like broccoli that follow in the rotation. They also improve soil structure.
  • Green Manures (Clover, Vetch, Alfalfa): Green manures can be grown and then plowed into the soil to increase organic matter, improve soil structure, and add nutrients. They are particularly beneficial for fixing nitrogen.
  • Root Crops (Carrots, Radishes): These plants can help break up compacted soil, making it easier for broccoli roots to grow. However, it's important to avoid plants that might leave behind pests or diseases that affect broccoli.
  • Cereals (Corn, Wheat, Barley): These plants can add organic matter to the soil when used as a cover crop and then turned under before they set seed. They also help in breaking pest and disease cycles.
  • Marigolds: While not a crop, marigolds can be grown in the season before planting broccoli to help deter soil nematodes and other pests.

Incorporating these plants into a crop rotation plan before planting broccoli can lead to healthier broccoli plants, improved yields, and a more sustainable garden ecosystem. Crop rotation helps in managing soil fertility and controlling pests and diseases naturally.

After growing broccoli, it's important to consider crop rotation to maintain soil health and reduce pest and disease issues. Here are plants that can be successfully grown after broccoli and those that should not be grown immediately afterward:

Plants to Grow After Broccoli

  • Root Crops (Carrots, Beets, Radishes): These crops have different nutrient needs and pest and disease profiles compared to broccoli, making them good follow-up crops. They can benefit from the loosened soil left by the broccoli's deep roots.
  • Leafy Greens (Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard): After harvesting broccoli, which is a heavy feeder, growing leafy greens can be advantageous as these plants require less nitrogen and can thrive in the remaining soil conditions.
  • Legumes (Peas, Beans): Legumes are excellent follow-up crops because they can fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, helping to replenish this vital nutrient after the heavy feeding of broccoli.
  • Grains (Corn, Wheat): If you have the space, grains can be a good follow-up to broccoli as they have different nutrient needs and can help break pest and disease cycles. For example, sweet corn is a great choice. It can be rather decorative, has a great harvest, and provides a material that can be used as mulch, for composting, and similar.

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Plants NOT to Grow After Broccoli

  • Brassicas (Cabbage, Kale, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts): Avoid planting brassicas after broccoli, as they belong to the same family and are susceptible to the same pests and diseases. This can lead to a buildup of issues in the soil.
  • Plants Prone to Similar Diseases: Avoid crops that are susceptible to soil-borne diseases similar to broccoli, such as clubroot and fusarium wilt, like eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, and similar.
  • Other Heavy Feeders: Immediately following broccoli with another heavy feeder can strain soil nutrients, making it harder for the second crop to thrive without significant soil amendment.

Selection of suitable plants to follow broccoli can help maintain a healthy garden ecosystem and reduce the need for chemical interventions.

Of course, it's always a good practice to add compost, worm castings, aged manure, and even some slow-release NPK fertilizer to the soil between crops to replenish nutrients and improve soil structure.

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