Companion Plants For The Tomato Garden
There are many companion plants for tomatoes. Companion planting involves taking advantage of a symbiotic relationship between specific types of plants. Companions to tomato plants may repel bad insects and attract good insects as well as improve the flavor of the tomatoes.
My tomatoes grow happily with basil and marigolds.
Basil and tomatoes grow well together because they have similar soil and watering requirements. Plus, basil repels mosquitoes, flies and hornworms. In my tomato beds, sometimes the basil grow as tall as the tomatoes! It's helpful to harvest the basil right along with the tomatoes because we love the flavor of fresh basil in everything we make with our tomato puree. We are able to preserve it fresh for winter cooking by chopping it up and freezing it in ice trays of olive oil. As soon as they are frozen firm, we pop them into airtight bags and put them back in the freezer.
I heard somewhere that Marigolds are a good companion for tomatoes because supposedly slugs don't like them and so they stay away. However, once I left a tray of Marigold plants out by my garden for a couple of days and when I went to plant them, they had been decimated by slugs. So maybe, the idea was for the slugs to eat the Marigolds instead of the tomato plants. I like the colors that Marigolds add to my tomato garden and I've heard that once the season is over, you can turn the Marigolds into the soil where they will compost and repel certain pests next season, such as Nematodes, Whiteflies, Mexican Bean Beetles, and Tomato Hornworms.
More tomato companions include carrots, onions, parsley, sage, asparagus, celery, and nasturtiums.
There are also plants that should never be planted with tomatoes, these are: corn, potatoes, cabbage and cauliflower. Be wary of planting tomatoes in beds that previously contained potatoes--I had volunteer potatoes come up in one tomato bed and I let them continue to grow. Soon, the leaves of the tomato plants turned yellow and looked sickly. When I looked for a diagnosis on the internet, I ran across several sites that said to avoid planting potatoes with tomatoes. I pulled out the potatoes but it was probably too late. The plants seemed to improve a little, but not significantly.
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