Companion Planting Leeks: How to Boost your Harvest

Leeks are one of our favorite vegetables to grow in our backyard garden. We’ve found that usually once they are established, they are a leave it and forget it crop that needs very little assistance. This guide dives into the world of companion planting leeks and how to increase the health of your leeks and other crops by intentionally placing your plants together. Companion planting keeks not only fosters the well-being of leeks but also bolsters the growth of neighboring greens.

Companion planting is the practice of planting different crops together to benfit both crops. There are many ways that symbiotic relationship between plants can benefit both plants including helping deter unwanted guests, making nutrients available, and even shading certains crops or preventing weeds.

Here at the Backyard Farming Connection, we’ve been passionate garden experimenters for over a decade. Leeks thrive harmoniously in our New Hampshire soil, making them a garden favorite. Below, we’ll share the everything we’ve learned on the subject of companion planting leeks.

For a condensed overview of some of the best companion plants, consult this COMPANION PLANTING CHART.


What is Companion Planting

Companion planting is a gardening technique where specific plants are grown together to enhance each other’s growth, repel pests, and improve overall productivity. By strategically combining compatible plants, gardeners can create a natural ecosystem that benefits all the plants involved, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and fostering a healthier, more abundant garden.

This practice takes advantage of the symbiotic relationships between certain plants, promoting harmony and balance within the garden environment. While there is science behind companion planting, much of what we know is based on years of trial and error pased down from gardener to gardener.

Companion Planting Leeks

To many gardeners, leeks symbolize the start of the growing season, since they are one of the first plants to grow in the early spring garden. Leeks tend to get rather large in size and grow for the entire season so the can help ward off pests and also offer shade in the garden.

This article will explore companion planting leeks and the relationships they share with other plants.

Grow huge leeks: Companion planting for leeks
Grow huge leeks: Companion planting for leeks

The Perks of Leek Companion Plants

Leeks are not only delicious, but also valuable in the garden ecosystem. Companion planting leeks offers several key benefits:

Beneficial Insect Attraction: Leeks release a gentle fragrance and flowers that attract beneficial insects. Many of these insects can help fight off the bad garden bugs which helps to decrease the reliance on chemicals in the garden.

Pest Deterrence: In addition to attracting some bugs, leeks can often repel unwanted insects directly.

Living Ground Cover: Beyond their pest-repelling qualities, leeks offer an additional concealed advantage. Their erect growth forms a small but dense canopy and can minimize unwanted weeds. Leeks also contribute to soil enrichment as their leaves decompose. This green canopy and enrichment aspect are attributes to consider when companion planting with leeks.

Soil Enrichment: Leeks have very deep roots, and can pull the nutrients up from the lower levels to the surface and make it available for the other plants.

Best Leek Companion Plants

Below are some of the different crops that act as leek companion plants and should be planted alongside leeks.

KALE: Leeks and kale are a great duo, offering both culinary and gardening benefits. Leeks provide shade for kale, shielding it from the harsh sun, while kale’s deep-rooted nature aids in soil aeration and nutrient absorption. This is our favorite combination of crops to grow with leeks and we like to harvest them together!

SPINACH: The tender leaves of spinach thrive under the shelter of leek foliage, remaining crisp and vibrant during hot spells. In return, spinach acts as a natural ground cover, suppressing weed growth around leeks.

GARLIC: Leeks and garlic share a symbiotic relationship, with leeks deterring aphids that can trouble garlic crops. Garlic, with its pungent aroma, aids in repelling pests that might affect leeks.

MARIGOLDS: Marigolds not only lend a burst of color to the garden but also emit a strong scent that deters common garden pests. Planting marigolds alongside leeks can safeguard them from unwanted intruders. Marigolds are a companion planting powerhouse and are one of the best plants to spread throughout your garden – we often plant them around the edge of the garden.

BEETS: Both leeks and beets belong to the Alliaceae family, making them good companions. These plants can be interplanted to maximize garden space and deter pests that affect this plant family. Just make sure you leave enough room for both plants.

Bad Companion Plants for Leeks

Just as some plants do well beside leeks, others may not coexist well. This can result from factors such as competition for nutrients or chemical incompatibilities. Knowing which plants to avoid planting in your leek patch can significantly impact the overall health and productivity of your garden.

POTATOES: While potatoes are garden staples, they are not the most harmonious companions for leeks. Both plants have high nutrient demands, potentially leading to competition and diminished growth for both.

BRASSICAS: Members of the Brassica family, including cauliflower and broccoli, are generally not recommended as companion plants for leeks. Competition for nutrients or potential soil pH imbalance can reduce their mutual growth.

BEANS: Beans, while beneficial in some companion plantings, may not be ideal companions for leeks. They can complete for nutrients and potentially impede leek growth.

TOMATOES: Tomatoes, like leeks, are nutrient-hungry, and their close proximity could result in nutrient competition. Moreover, leek leaves, which can be toxic, should not come into direct contact with tomato fruits. I actually just learned about this toxicity when researching this article and found it really interesting

These are general guidelines, but since most of the knowledge of companion planting comes from trial and error and anecdotal information, the best way to gain more knowledge is to simply try some of these combination above and see how it works in your garden.

Companion Planting Leeks

How to Use Companion Planting for Garden Planning

Once you’ve identified the best companions for leeks, it’s time to apply this knowledge to plan your garden each year.

Garden planning with companion planting involves careful consideration of plant compatibility, growth habits, and pest management strategies. Begin by selecting a list of crops you intend to grow and then research their ideal companions and potential antagonists.

You might consider employing techniques such as interplanting, where compatible crops are grown in close proximity, or creating beneficial plant groupings. Don’t make yourself crazy with companion planting but choose a few options to increase the health of your garden.

Before you get too deep into companion planting, I also recommend you take a deeper look at the health of your soil. Creating healthy soil is the first step in creating strong crops that can overcome pests and other challenges. The best way to do this is to get your soil tested at your local cooperative extension office. You can get some good recommendation for improving soil health at the Prarie Homestead.

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