Tomatoes are one of the most popular edible plants and they are quite easy to grow at home. Companion planting is great for tomatoes and depending on your climate, you may grow them in the greenhouse, outdoors, or polytunnels. The benefits of grouping plants together in the garden might have no scientific backing but this is as old as farming itself and it’s supposed to enhance growth, flavor and protect plants from pests.
Wherever you grow your tomatoes, companion planting can help your tomatoes cope with pests, increase your crop yield, and increase resilience in your garden. Companion planting is a far better alternative to mono-crop cultivation.
Companion planting is not just about attracting beneficial insects but also about encouraging growth, optimizing overall input, and its’ a balancing act between providing the right setting for your plants to grow. Companion planting is not just about cramming in random plants as much as we can but about carefully thinking of ways plants can be of benefit to each other.
The Best Tomato Companion Plants
Tomatoes are easy to grow from seeds and the more beneficial interactions you can create, the more resilient and stable the ecosystem would be. If you are planning on companion planting for your tomatoes, here are the best plants to grow with it.
Carrot is an effective companion plant for tomatoes although many people believe carrots can become smaller as a result of this the overall yield will be improved. It is recommended to plant a crop of carrots early in the season with your tomatoes before the tomatoes take off.
There are mutual benefits to be gained when both are planted together and planting and harvesting early carrots in the tomato bed before they really take off are really best.
One of the best herbs that grow well as companion plants with tomatoes. They go well together in the plates and the garden as well. Planting these two together as companion plants are recommended for both professionals amateur gardeners as well. Pairing basil protects tomatoes from pests and it’s notably beneficial against the tomato hornworm and in turn, tomatoes improve the growth of basil.
Rosemary is another Meditteranean herb that makes a great companion plant to tomatoes and while it won’t want to get too wet but it can thrive in similar temperatures to tomatoes.
Tomatoes and cucumbers grow together as companions and other members of that same family. They both share similar needs in terms of their environment and growing needs.
Companion planting of asparagus and tomatoes allows asparagus to grow to maturity and complete harvest before the taller tomatoes reach mature size thereby saving space. Asparagus illustrates the give and take of companion planting. Tomatoes help repel asparagus beetles with a chemical called solanine and in return, asparagus helps deter root nematodes that are attracted to tomatoes.
6. Garlic, Onions, Chives (and other Alliums)
Garlic, Onions, Chives, and other alliums make a great companion with any plant and they are said to repel spider mites due to the strong smell.
A spray made with garlic can help protect plants and soil against blight.
You can use parsley as a trap crop to lure aphids away from your tomatoes which makes it a great companion plant for your tomatoes. Parsley is a classic pairing for your tomatoes and they both benefit each other. Not all varieties of tomatoes do well with parsley though hence it is best to research your varieties very well before planting as a companion plant.
Companion planting of parsley with the right tomato variety boosts growth and attracts predators of the tomato hornworms like ladybugs but be sure to keep it well away from a mint plant.
Celery and tomatoes can be planted near each other without any harm to either crop. Celery is one of the most difficult plants to grow as it requires lots of preparation and care nut the effort is always considered worth it and tomatoes can also be planted in the same bed with celery. Celery can also benefit from the shade from the tomato plants.
The strong scent of marigolds is perfect for keeping bugs away from tomatoes. Research suggests that playing marigold in between tomatoes is beneficial because they both like similar conditions and it can also help them excrete a chemical from their root which kills harmful root-knot nematodes.
10. Borage And Squash
Tomato, borage, and squash are the common trio in companion planting and this is mostly to their timing and growing conditions. Borage is a flowering herb with a blue star-shaped blossom and is a big favorite of pollinators and also repels hornworms from tomatoes. Borage and squash improve the growth and flavor of tomatoes while it protects them.
The calendula plant is often called marigold but it should not be mistaken with marigold. They are completely different plant pots. Calendula is usually grown as an annual flower grown in garden beds and the leaves and bloom make a nice addition to salads. It makes a great tomato companion plant.
Radish is a great tomato companion plant that can be planted around the base of your tomato plants to lure flea beetles away. For this companion planting to work, they must be planted adjacent to each other.
The small flowers from the fennel provide nectar for a diverse array of beneficial insects which makes them perfect for tomatoes. Aphids can become problems for tomatoes but interplanting them with fennels can help limit their number.
If you want to keep your tomato plants from harlequin bugs this season the collards are the best planting strategy. Harlequin bugs are more prevalent in warm regions they favor plants in the cabbage family and be lured away from tomatoes by planting collards near them.
Planting cowpeas near tomatoes can help lure green stink bugs away and prevent them from causing any significant damages. Cowpeas several feet away from tomatoes and sow them several weeks before planting your tomatoes.
What to plant with tomatoes to keep bugs away
Companion planting might not guarantee pest-free tomatoes but it can help to reduce the number of harmful insects.
Some companion plants repel harmful insects which attracts beneficial insects and planting strong plants is the best way to keep bugs away from tomatoes. Here are some of the companion plants to keep bugs away from tomatoes:
- Sweet asylum
What not to plant with tomatoes
Plants that should not share space with tomatoes include:
- Brassicas such as cabbage and broccoli
- Corn tends to attract tomato fruit worm hence it’s a no-no
- Kohlrabi thwarts the growth of tomatoes
- Potatoes are likely to increase the chance of potato blight disease
Can I plant tomatoes next to each other?
No, tomatoes planted next to each other are likely to develop problems. If tomatoes are planted close to each other that sunlight and air can’t dry out the leaves, the plants are likely to develop diseases. Hence they should be planted with an ideal space of 24-36 inches.
Can you plant tomatoes and zucchini together?
Yes, you can plant tomatoes and zucchini together just as they are often put together in a ratatouille. Both tomatoes and zucchini are warm-season vegetables with similar growing conditions.
What is the best month to plant tomatoes?
Tomatoes run on warmth hence the best to have them planted in spring. Tomatoes generally need about three months of warmth and under the ideal condition, tomatoes germinate in 5 to 10 days.
Do tomato plants like full sun or shade?
Tomatoes thrive in full sun and all it needs is six to eight hours of sun. Tomatoes are sun-loving lovers and they require full sun which means they need unobstructed direct sunlight for 6-8 hours.
What do you plant with tomatoes to keep bugs away?
Herbs and flowers are the best companion plants for tomatoes to keep bugs away. For the protection of your tomatoes from pest bugs, you can plant basil, bee balm, sweet alyssum, garlic, chives, mint, anise, onion, nasturtium, and parsley.
Do tomatoes need lots of water?
Tomatoes wilt when they get too much water and the same thing happens when they don’t. As temperature increases so do the need to water your tomatoes more often which is twice daily. Garden tomatoes tend to require 1-2 inches of water a week.
Are coffee grounds good for tomato plants?
Yes, coffee grounds can be added to compost and used as organic fertilizer to give your tomato plants a boost, attract earthworms and deter insects pest in the garden.
Can peppers and tomatoes be planted together?
It is not recommended to have tomatoes and pepper planted together but they are being planted in the same garden bed and then rotated to another bed next season.
Is Growing your own food worth it?
Not all crops are created equal hence you will find some easy while some are not but growing your own food is considered worth it. Growing certain foods can mean significant savings.
Do tomatoes and cabbage grow well together?
Avoid planting tomatoes and cabbages together as they will stop growing. Tomatoes can be planted near asparagus, carrots, cucumbers mints but not near cabbages.
Are banana peels good for tomato plants?
Yes, potassium-rich banana peels are great for tomato plants. Banana peels contain calcium which helps prevents blossom rots in tomatoes.
Can you plant tomatoes and strawberries together?
Yes, you can definitely have tomatoes and strawberries planted together and the two also taste great together. They can be planted together in the current growing season.
There are lots of possible setbacks to deal with if your tomatoes are not well cared for, from, blossom rot end to fungal diseases.
The right companion planting helps attract beneficial insects and can protect and manage plants until it’s time to harvest.
How effective companion planting is might have no scientific backings but what can’t be debated is how easy the recommended plants are to grow. Growing these plants listed above near your tomatoes is definitely going to increase your overall garden harvest.