What To Plant With Kale


Companion Plants for Kale

Kale is a versatile and hardy vegetable that thrives best when planted alongside compatible companion plants. Companion planting is an age-old practice that involves growing certain plants together to enhance their growth, deter pests, and improve overall health. By strategically selecting the right companions for your kale plants, you can create a thriving and harmonious garden ecosystem. Here are some excellent companion plants that go well with kale:

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes and kale make fantastic neighbors in the garden. Tomatoes provide shade for kale during hot summer months and help protect against pests like aphids. Kale, in turn, can help suppress weed growth around tomato plants. Just make sure to avoid planting them too close together, as they can compete for nutrients.
  • Onions: Onion plants can deter pests like aphids and cabbage worms, which are known to attack kale. The strong scent of onions can mask the scent of kale and make it less attractive to pests. Additionally, kale can benefit from the nutrients released by decomposing onion roots in the soil.
  • Herbs: Herbs like dill, cilantro, and mint can be great companions for kale. Dill attracts beneficial insects that prey on pests, while cilantro repels aphids. Mint, on the other hand, deters flea beetles, which can damage kale leaves. Be mindful when planting mint, as it can become invasive if not contained.
  • Carrots: Carrots are shallow-rooted plants and can grow together with kale without competing for nutrients. The tall foliage of kale provides some shade for carrots, reducing weed growth and keeping the soil cool and moist.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums not only add vibrant colors to your garden but also serve as a natural pest repellent. The strong scent of nasturtiums can deter aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage maggots, which are common pests that attack kale.

Remember to rotate your kale crops each season to prevent the build-up of pests and diseases. By adopting companion planting techniques and creating a diverse garden ecosystem, you can ensure healthy and thriving kale plants.

Herbs That Go Well With Kale

Incorporating herbs into your kale garden not only adds variety to your culinary creations but also provides numerous benefits for both the kale plants and your overall garden ecosystem. The aromatic and flavorful nature of herbs can enhance the taste of kale dishes and even offer protection against pests. Here are some herbs that pair well with kale:

  • Basil: Basil is a popular herb that complements kale in many dishes. It adds a distinct flavor and aroma that pairs well with the earthy taste of kale. Additionally, basil can help repel aphids and other pests that may attack kale plants.
  • Parsley: Parsley is a versatile herb that can be used in a wide range of cuisines. Its fresh, slightly peppery flavor complements the taste of kale salads, soups, and stir-fries. Parsley is also rich in nutrients, which can benefit neighboring kale plants.
  • Thyme: Thyme is an herb with a strong aroma and flavor that pairs wonderfully with kale in savory dishes. It is known for its antiseptic and insect-repellent properties, making it a useful companion to keep pests at bay from your kale plants.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary is a robust herb that can thrive alongside kale. Its aromatic leaves add depth and fragrance to kale-infused dishes. Rosemary also contains compounds that repel harmful insects and attract beneficial pollinators to your garden.
  • Oregano: Oregano is a flavorful herb that can spice up your kale recipes. It pairs well with both cooked and raw kale, adding a hint of warmth and complexity. Oregano’s natural oils have insect-repellent properties, which can guard your kale plants against pests.

When planting herbs with kale, ensure that you provide sufficient space and appropriate growing conditions for each plant. Regularly harvest herbs to encourage new growth and prevent overcrowding. The close proximity of herbs can also attract beneficial insects that help control pests naturally. Incorporating these herbs into your kale garden will not only enhance the flavor of your dishes but also contribute to the overall health and vitality of your kale plants.

Flowers to Plant With Kale

Adding flowers to your kale garden not only adds beauty and color but also provides numerous benefits for the overall health and well-being of your kale plants. Flowers can attract beneficial insects, deter harmful pests, and improve pollination. Here are some flowers that pair well with kale:

  • Marigolds: Marigolds are excellent companions for kale and other vegetables. They emit a strong scent that repels aphids, nematodes, and other common pests. Marigolds also attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, which feed on harmful pests and help maintain a healthy garden.
  • Calendula: Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is not only visually appealing but also serves as a natural pest deterrent. Its bright, vibrant flowers can attract parasitic wasps and lacewings, which prey on aphids and other pests that may harm kale plants. Calendula flowers are also edible and can be a delightful addition to salads.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are not only beautiful but also highly beneficial when planted with kale. Their trailing vines provide ground cover that helps shade the soil, reducing weed growth and preserving moisture. Nasturtiums also act as a magnet for aphids, diverting them away from kale plants and protecting them from infestation.
  • Pansies: Pansies are delightful flowers that add a splash of color to your kale garden. They are known for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies, which promote better pollination and increased yield. Pansies can also provide some shade for the kale plants during hot summer days.
  • Lavender: Lavender not only creates a fragrant and calming atmosphere in your garden but also attracts beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. These pollinators play a vital role in maintaining the health and productivity of kale plants.

When planting flowers with kale, consider the growth habit of each flower and provide sufficient space for both plants to thrive. Water and care for them accordingly, ensuring that they receive adequate sunlight and nutrients. By incorporating these beautiful and beneficial flowers into your kale garden, you can create a vibrant and well-balanced ecosystem that promotes the growth and success of your kale plants.

Vegetables That Pair Well With Kale

Kale is a versatile vegetable that complements a wide range of other vegetables in both flavor and nutritional value. Planting companion vegetables alongside kale not only makes efficient use of garden space but also provides mutual benefits such as pest control and soil improvement. Here are some vegetables that pair well with kale:

  • Broccoli: Kale and broccoli are close relatives and make excellent companions in the garden. Both vegetables share similar growth requirements and can benefit from each other’s presence. The leafy kale helps shade the soil and protect the shallow root systems of broccoli plants, while broccoli provides support to the taller kale plants.
  • Cabbage: Kale and cabbage belong to the same family, and planting them together promotes healthy growth. Cabbage offers natural shade for kale, reducing weed competition and maintaining soil moisture. Additionally, planting kale and cabbage together can confuse pests and help deter cabbage worms.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts and kale make great companions due to their similar growth habits and nutritional needs. They both require ample sunlight and consistent moisture. Planting them together creates a visually appealing combination and also allows for efficient use of space in your garden.
  • Spinach: Spinach and kale are both nutrient-dense leafy greens that thrive in cool weather. Planting them together maximizes the use of garden space and provides a diverse range of flavors and textures for your culinary creations. The leafy spinach can help provide some shade for kale, keeping the soil cool and moist.
  • Beets: Beets and kale are compatible companions that can be planted side by side. Beets have a shallow root system that doesn’t interfere with the deeper roots of kale. Beets also help break up compacted soil and improve its drainage, which benefits kale’s root development.

When planting vegetables alongside kale, consider their growth habits, spacing requirements, and compatibility. Rotate your crops each season to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases. By incorporating these companion vegetables into your kale garden, you can create a harmonious and productive environment that enhances the growth and flavor of your kale plants.

Plants That Help Repel Pests from Kale

Pests can be a common challenge when growing kale, but there are several plants that can naturally help repel pests and protect your kale plants from infestation. By incorporating these pest-repellent plants into your garden, you can create a natural defense system that minimizes the need for chemical pesticides. Here are some plants that can help repel pests from kale:

  • Mint: Mint has a strong aroma that repels many pests, including aphids and flea beetles, which are common culprits that damage kale leaves. Planting mint near your kale acts as a deterrent, making it less attractive to these pests. Be cautious, though, as mint can be invasive, so it’s best to grow it in pots or contained areas.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are not only beautiful but also act as a natural pest repellent. Their pungent smell can deter pests like aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage maggots that often infest kale plants. Planting nasturtiums around your kale can help keep these pests at bay.
  • Garlic: Garlic is known for its strong odor, which repels a wide range of pests, including aphids, cabbage worms, and caterpillars. Planting garlic near your kale can help protect it from these common pests. Additionally, garlic has natural fungicidal properties that can benefit the overall health of your kale plants.
  • Chives: Chives have a strong onion-like scent that can help deter pests such as aphids and cabbage worms. Planting chives near your kale can create a hostile environment for these pests, reducing the risk of infestation. Chives also attract beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies, which can aid in pollination.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary not only adds flavor to your cooking but also acts as a natural pest repellent. Its strong aroma deters pests like cabbage moths and bean beetles. Planting rosemary near your kale can provide protection against these pests, while also attracting beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Interspersing these pest-repellent plants within your kale garden can create a natural barrier against common pests. However, it’s important to note that companion plants alone may not eliminate all pest issues. Regular monitoring and preventive measures, such as properly watering, cultivating healthy soil, and practicing crop rotation, are also crucial for maintaining a pest-resistant kale garden.