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COMPANION PLANTING WITH VEGETABLES AND FLOWERS

Each spring, I grow legions of onions and shallots from seed, and my biggest challenge is keeping them weeded. Last year, I planted pinches of arugula between the short rows of shallots, and the leafy, fast-growing arugula smothered any weeds and showed remarkably little damage from flea beetles, which often plague it. The arugula was ready to harvest just when the shallots needed room to grow. In a eureka moment, I realized I’d discovered a vegetable companion-planting partnership I could use year after year to make my garden healthier and more productive.

The idea of companion planting has been around for thousands of years, during which time it’s become so besmirched with bad science and metaphysics that many gardeners aren’t sure what it means. The current definition goes something like this:

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