Although there are no magic tricks to a successful garden, there are plenty of little tips and approaches that can help your plants flourish — and potentially increase your yields — at every step along the way from seedling to fruiting. One not-so-obvious method for building resilient and fertile garden beds is to grow complementary plants beside and around each other, in what is called companion planting.
Put simply, some plants enjoy certain kinds of company in the soil near them, and benefit from it, while other varieties may see a negative effect from growing next to those same plants, and by planting beneficial plants near to each other, we can help them help themselves.
The actual mechanisms in each beneficial plant relationship are more complex than that, with a range of different influences possible for each pairing, but it’s not necessary to know how it works to make it work for you. And it’s not nearly as difficult to understand as it might seem, as there are a lot of general guides to companion planting available these days, any of which will give you a basic idea of the recommended plant groupings in order to plan your garden beds better. Along with crop rotation and the addition of compost and a good mulch cover, companion planting can help almost any gardener leverage the natural strengths of their crops to grow stronger and more resilient vegetables and fruits.
Here is a good infographic for a visual guide to companion planting:
And a quick video overview of companion planting: