When planting tomatoes in your garden, you should take into account their fertilization requirements, necessary insolation distances, and also remember that some other plants growing alongside tomatoes can affect the condition, health, and growth of tomatoes. In the planning stage of vegetable gardening, it is worth considering what other vegetables, herbs, and flowers should be planted near the tomato patch. Just like humans, they have specific likes and dislikes known as ‘allelopathy’. Cultivation that takes into account these dependencies is called companion planting and it concerns mainly useful plants (fruit and vegetables) because they are the most valuable to us.
In this article, we suggest how best to choose a tomato plant’s neighbors for your garden, and which combinations should be avoided. By following certain rules of companion planting, we can effectively reduce the occurrence of diseases and pests, greatly affect plant growth and improve yields. On the other hand, by ignoring these rules, you will notice the emergence of more diseases, pests, and inhibited plant growth.
Good neighbors for tomatoes in the garden are:
1. Marigolds- beautiful annual flowers that repel nematodes, tomato hornworms, and slugs.
2. Nasturtium- another annual flower, is great at deterring whiteflies, aphids, beetles, and squash bugs. Nasturtium can also prevent fungal diseases.
3. Basil- the perfect companion for tomatoes, not only in a number of outstanding dishes, but planted near tomatoes in your garden, it repels spider mites, hornworms, whiteflies, aphids, and mosquitoes. Basil flowers attract bees and improve pollination (remember not to allow basil to flower if you are saving seeds from your tomato plants). Some gardeners also point out that basil planted near tomatoes improves its taste.
4. Another very popular and liked herb (perennial) is mint- a great companion plant for tomatoes. It deters aphids, white cabbage moths, fleas, rodents, flea beetles, and ants. If you’re planting mint directly into your garden, remember that it can be invasive – plant them in containers buried in the ground – it will prevent the mint from overtaking your garden.
5. Borage- an annual herb that will repel tomato hornworms and cabbage worms if planted near your tomatoes.
6. Chives deter aphids.
7. Garlic repels spider mites.
8. Parsley is a great companion plant for tomatoes because it attracts hoverflies. Those little creatures are helpful bugs, that feast on tomato pests.
9. Asparagus, a perennial vegetable that some of us grow in our gardens, is a great companion plant for tomatoes, but also tomatoes help asparagus. Asparagus produces a chemical shown to kill nematodes and tomatoes deter the asparagus beetle.
There are also plants, that should not be planted near tomatoes. Those are for example:
1. Brassicas (cabbage, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi) because delay the flowering of tomatoes and inhibit their growth.
2. Walnut- which inhibits the growth of most plants, not only tomatoes, by producing juglone, a compound that can be toxic or stunt growth.
3. Fennel- inhibits tomato growth.
4. Potatoes should not be planted near tomatoes, because similar to tomatoes they are prone to early and late blight fungus – the most common and dangerous tomato diseases.
5. Corn and tomatoes are common enemies because they attract tomato fruitworm and corn earworm.
The good and bad neighbors of tomato plants presented above have a great impact not only on the growth and health of our tomatoes but also on their fertility. Select the right neighbors for your tomatoes and you will be enjoying their bold flavors not only throughout the summer and fall but you will also harvest a bounty large enough to preserve the best summer flavors to last you deep into the winter months!