Planting your own vegetable garden is extremely exciting: It’s hard to beat the satisfaction of sowing your own seeds, watching them germinate, then harvesting food from your very own backyard. But if it’s your first time, the process can be a bit nerve-racking too. After all, there’s much more to gardening than just positioning your plants in a sunlit area! Good soil, well-spaced crops, and quality seeds are *super* important for successful growth. And, as if all that wasn’t enough to plant into your brain, there’s also that whole companion planting thing you’ll want to consider.

What? What the heck is companion planting?

Much like us human folk, plants compete for resources. Some support one another and encourage each other to thrive; some are total bullies and take more than their fair share of sun, water, and nutrients. In some cases, a certain plant can actually emanate toxins that impede growth or outright destroy other plants — oh the drama.

Here are some examples of who wants to hang out, and who shouldn’t be knockin’ roots in the garden bed.

It’s also important to note that there are several allies to certain vegetables that deter pests; mint protects cabbage from moths and ants, while odorless marigold and white geraniums keep Japanese beetles away from corn. So, if bothersome little bugs are a big concern, you’ll want to brush up on your natural pest defenses as well.

Now that you’re up-to-date with the melodramatic spectacle that is the vegetable kingdom, you should be able to grow yourself a healthy and flourishing garden without issue. Happy gardening!

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