Broccoli does not like to grow near beans, nightshades, strawberries, watermelon, squash, mustard, and cauliflower. Planting the wrong vegetables together leaves them competing for nutrients. In other cases, the vegetables could unfavorably change the growing conditions. Either way, the broccoli plants will struggle to produce a good harvest. You can help your broccoli grow big and strong by planting it near beneficial companions. Beets, chamomile, onions, and other companion plants will all help your broccoli thrive.
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7 Things You Should Not Plant with Broccoli
Broccoli is a heavy feeder. So, it cannot thrive when planted near plants with similar nutrient needs. Otherwise, the plants go head-to-head in competition for nearby nutrients. Broccoli plants do not like to get too much of one nutrient, like nitrogen, either. Planting your broccoli near the right plants will help you get big harvests. Here are common plants you should never plant near your broccoli.
Beans replenish nitrogen in the soil. Although that’s a good thing for your garden, broccoli might not like it. The nitrogen produced by beans often exceeds broccoli’s needs. The excess nitrogen forces the overgrowth of broccoli stems and leaves. Broccoli tends to grow hollow stems as a result. On top of that, the head quality decreases as the stems create a leggy structure.
Nightshades eat up all the nutrients in the soil on their mission to grow big fruits. The worst offenders are hot peppers, like jalapenos and habaneros. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and sweet peppers cause problems as well. All these plants grow fast, so they will reach the resources before your broccoli has a chance.
Strawberries do not serve as good ground cover near broccoli plants. They take up too much of the nutrients from the soil before the broccoli can get to it. Even regular fertilizing cannot make up for their rapid uptake of nutrients. The situation just gets worse as the years go on, too. Each strawberry plant produces berries for up to six years, after all. By the end of their lifecycle, you must rejuvenate the soil with compost and organic matter.
Watermelons start their growth by gobbling up all the nitrogen. Then, they switch to hogging the potassium and phosphorus. By the time they even start setting fruit, there’s pretty much nothing left for your broccoli. The problem becomes even direr as the watermelon vines focus on creating the biggest melons possible. Not even a hefty dose of weekly fertilizer could replenish the soil enough to grow both plants.
Squash plants follow much of the same formula as watermelon. They love high amounts of nitrogen and a balanced mix of phosphorus and nitrogen. Without it, they won’t grow nearly as many fruits each season. When planted with broccoli, both plants struggle to thrive. Oftentimes, they fail to get much further than their vegetative growth stage.
Mustard greens and broccoli might taste great together. But they don’t work quite as well as garden companions. Since they both come from the brassica family, these plants use the same nutrients. So, they are always in direct competition through the growing season. Harvesting mustard greens in the cut and come again method can further complicate matters.
Cauliflower is another brassica that does not play well with broccoli. They are both heavy feeders that pull a large number of nutrients out of the soil. Even adding compost tea and other fertilizers cannot replace the nutrients needed through each stage of growth. Only by growing them separately can you ensure both types of plants get the correct amount of nutrients.
As you likely suspect, broccoli does not grow well next to other broccoli either. Spacing them at least 2 feet (60 cm) apart is key in getting good harvests from each plant. Putting the correct companion plants nearby can help, too.
What Happens If You Plant Broccoli Next to the Wrong Vegetable?
Growing broccoli next to the wrong vegetable results in poor growth for both plants. The competition for nutrients leaves the plants without what they need to grow big and strong. As a result, their growth gets stunted.
- Poor growth is the natural result when planting broccoli next to the wrong vegetables.
- The dueling plants fight for nutrients in the soil and both come up short.
- The plants may also just focus on growing out their stems and leaves.
- You may end up with a poor harvest due to the excessive vegetative growth.
Oftentimes, broccoli plants in less-than-ideal conditions just focus on vegetative growth. They may grow large stems and leaves but fail to produce large, edible broccoli heads. You may end up without a broccoli harvest if you plant them near the wrong companions.
What Should Broccoli Be Planted Next To?
Broccoli should get planted next to beets, lettuce, radishes, nasturtium, rosemary, chamomile, or onions. Beets, lettuce, and radishes do not compete for nutrients, so they work well together. The broccoli provides shade for these vegetables. In return, the veggies do not eat up all the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in the soil.
- Broccoli provides shade for beets, lettuce, and radishes but doesn’t have to fight for nutrients.
- Nasturtium serves as a strong repellent for cabbage worm, cabbage loopers, and other insects.
- Rosemary and similar strong-scented herbs act as a cabbage root fly deterrent.
- Chamomile and onions can boost the overall taste of your broccoli heads.
Nasturtium repels cabbage worms and other insects. Rosemary and other strong-smelling herbs shoo away cabbage root flies. Chamomile and onions improve the taste of your broccoli. Try planting broccoli near its ideal neighbors for a larger, more flavorful harvest.
What Should You Not Plant Next to Broccoli?
Avoid planting beans, nightshades, strawberries, watermelon, squash, mustard, and cauliflower near broccoli. These vegetables will fight for nutrients and create unfavorable growing conditions. Your harvest will decrease – if not outright disappear – as a result.
- Avoid putting the wrong plants near your broccoli, like strawberries, squash, and cauliflower.
- The fight for nutrients often damages both plants and reduces your harvests.
- Broccoli grow well near beneficial companion plants, like radishes, lettuce, and rosemary.
- Companion plants deter pests and improve flavor without depleting nutrients.
When you take the time to plan out your garden, your broccoli can thrive. As a reward for your efforts, you’ll get big, flavorful heads of broccoli off each plant, making it well worth the time you spent planning your garden.