Good companion plants for tomatoes are an essential addition to every vegetable garden. Since companion planting is to help support the growth and productivity of your tomatoes.
Not every plant is grown alongside tomatoes, they should be ones that would hold common properties.
Below are some good plants you can grow with your tomatoes.
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Types of Good Companion Plants for Tomatoes
1. Basil Leaves
Basil is also known as Ocimum basilicum scientifically, and it is a culinary herb plant from the Lamiaceae family, which is the mint family. They are an addition to gardens to repel insects.
Mints are also a widely used household spice, making them functional on two fronts. The sweet basil plant is an effective repellent against many threats when planting tomatoes. Note that when you have basil and even other mints, they are perfect herbs to plant next to tomatoes. It can help repel mosquitoes and even fruit flies that feed on the tomatoes in your garden.
The basil plant repels insects and is grown similarly to how you grow parsley. On the other hand, it also works to improve the flavor of your tomatoes due to the chemicals in the air.
Studies have shown that tomato plants accompanied by sweet basil yield healthier, and tastier fruit. The basil plant not only repels insects like hornworms and other pests too. However, it also prevents fungal growth which is what keeps them healthy and you don’t need to worry. Both basil and tomatoes grow similarly making them great companions. They are plants best grown in tropical regions and require warmth and moisture.
– Planting Requirements
While both tomatoes and basil plants have similar growing requirements, there are some things to consider when ensuring they are great companions. If you plan on planting tomatoes with basil, you must remember to give them both the necessary requirements.
One of the most common ways of planting basil is by transplanting it from a nursery or an already-grown plant. However, starting from the seed makes a smoother process especially when you want to work with companion plants.
You must make sure that your soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, as this temperature is perfect for both of the plants that you are growing.
Nonetheless, you can always plant them together, and be sure that the basil seed is what to plant with tomatoes in a raised bed. On a raised bed, you can have four to five basil seeds per tomato. The basil is planted 12 inches away from the tomato. It is placed such that they go around the tomato.
Basils are much shorter plants than tomatoes. Thus, they can be deprived of sunlight. Always plant basil on the south or west side of tomatoes. They get good sunlight for healthy growth.
Once germination and development kick-off, thinning is required. In this stage, several basil leaves will be reduced from five to one and the same pot for efficient nutrient use.
2. Bush Beans
The bush bean is also known as the Phaseolus vulgaris, scientifically. This bean is herbaceous of the Fabaceae family just like the sweet alyssum. They are widely known to be short plants with a climbing family when they are thriving, they will vine all over.
These leguminous plants are grown for their edible seeds and pods. They are also a source of fodder thanks to their straw. Bush beans are great with tomatoes for companion planting.
One reason is very distinct, it is because this plant can improve air circulation around the tomato plant. What this does for the tomato is that it prevents dampness which could lead to fungal growth. Fungal growth affects the taste of the tomato fruit in the long run, but this way, you will be avoiding it.
Bush beans attract more bumblebees to tomato plants than they would get without them. Bumble bees are natural pollinators, which means good news for tomato plants. In addition, remember that tomatoes pollinated by bumble bees have better yield, seeds, firmness, weight, and gravity.
The relationship between bush beans and nitrogen-fixing bacteria makes it an even better companion for tomato plants, and through this they are heavy feeders of nitrogen. A deficit amount can and will affect its growth and productivity, as the bush beans help make up for this, and their small size makes them a perfect fit to plant with tomatoes.
– Planting Requirements
Bush bean is a good tomato companion, they do not have similar growing requirements. It might mean less competition and more nutrients for each. At the same time, it also limits how much of them you can plant together. In some cases, they can count out what not to plant with tomatoes.
There are two ways you can plant tomatoes and bush beans together. Each depends on your growing space and your target advantage from the companionship, that would be beneficial for the both.
If you have limited growing space or growing in a pot, avoid planting or growing tomatoes in the same pot with bush beans; however, their pots can be close to each other so that one would benefit from each other. If you plan to attract more bumble bees, the same pot is best.
While tomatoes and bush beans are great tomato companion plants in the garden, it is best to plant them in different pots or raised beds. Since these plants grow under conditions best for each of them, the separate pots earn each plant what they need to grow while their close placements work well for both, especially tomatoes.
Cucumbers are also known as the Cucumis sativus, are a widely utilized vegetable that has made its way into most of our favorite dishes like salads. Cucumbers belong to the gourd family: a widely used ingredient in health and beauty products like bee balm. They would grow little flowers in the beginning, and then they would sprout.
While its fruit is of low nutritional value, its subtle flavor makes it a top choice in meals. It is a creeping plant that you plant with support from frames or trellises.
Cucumbers and tomatoes well together in the tomato garden for several reasons. First is the bitter taste associated with cucumbers. This taste is a result of its acidic properties.
The concentrated scent from the peels of the cucumber plant is responsible for repelling insects which feed on the tomatoes. These insects can also cause the transfer of pathogens that can infect and damage your tomatoes. Cucurbitacin is the chemical in the peels of cucumbers responsible for the strong smell.
Thanks to the ground cover of the cucumber plant, it also thwarts the growth of weeds which can compete with the tomatoes for nutrients. It is also one of the best companion plants for peppers, as well, because of their common properties.
– Planting Requirements
The cucumber is a tropical plant which is the same as tomatoes. It means you can plant both under similar conditions with similar requirements. Ensure to select disease-resistant soil or plant in treated soil, and basically when it is possible, ensure to plant disease-resistant variants of seed.
For the period of germination, tomatoes and cucumbers can be planted indoors and then transplanted after a while. Cover up tomato seeds with a quarter of an inch of soil and cucumber seeds with one inch of soil. After eight weeks, you can transplant the tomatoes outside and they will be helping each other grow.
The cucumber only needs about three to four weeks, so the planting interval has to be well calculated. Prepare the cucumber and the tomato rows, with the tomatoes planted adjacent to the cucumbers.
With a trellis, grow transplant cucumbers vertically at least 12 inches apart. Transplant the tomatoes deep in the soil, bordering the cucumber plants, at least 15 inches apart with cages for support.
Clovers or the Trifolium repens, is a short-lived legume from subtropical and temperate regions, and it belongs to the Fabaceae family. It is widely used as livestock feed and manure. The clover plant is an effective cover crop which covers the surrounding soil, preventing the growth of weeds.
Clover leaves are three-toothed alternate leaves and are what to plant with tomatoes in a container. It has little flowers which grow in a condensed form with spikes and dry fruits. Its beautiful flowers attract beneficial insects like bumble bees and top pollinators, which approach and make manners better.
The clover plant is one of the few plants that can tolerate shade. This ability makes it a great companion for tomatoes. As the tomatoes grow tall, healthy and lush with many fruits, the shade scarcely affects the clovers. Its effectiveness as a cover crop further reduces the growth of weeds that will compete with tomatoes for nutrients in the soil.
The clover plant, especially red and crimson clover, provides nitrogen to the soil, a top nutrient demand for tomatoes, and they would thrive well.
– Planting Requirement
Clover plants, especially red clover, thrive well with tomatoes. Some believe that planting them together will cause competition between plants. It does not happen when you do it right.
Sow clover seeds in between tomato plants. Since it is a leguminous cover crop, it will outcompete the weeds and takes up growth space.
You must make sure that you would cut back clover a few times to limit its growth. Do this until your tomatoes have germinated and become sturdy. Once these red fruit have reached a height that towers over the clover, you can reduce the cutting of clover shoots to a few times yearly.
The cutting restricts its growth and also returns nutrients to the soil. Its shade-tolerant nature makes it a great companion even after your tomatoes are grown.
5. Marigold Flowers
If you are looking for what to plant with tomatoes to keep bugs away, then the marigold is a top choice. The genus tagetes is a beautiful, colorful plant that adds pop and vibrancy to your garden. The beauty and color of the marigold plant bring in beneficial insects like bees and keep out the consuming insects.
Tomato and zucchini companion plants also tend to attract slugs and snails. They especially love the tomato fruits and are responsible for the holes you find when harvesting. The marigold plant can help trap these slugs and snails with its fern-like foliage.
The marigold plant also gives off a concentrated scent which can chase off animal pests like rabbits and cats that see your tomato fruits as their next meal. There are also underground threats to your tomatoes that the marigold can handle.
An example is a root-knot nematode which can cause damage to your plant. The marigold plant contains some toxins that can kill these parasites on contact. If you also happen to be planting your tomatoes in a location with lots of moths, chances are that you will have to deal with a lot of hornworms.
The marigold can help save your tomatoes with its strong scent that prevents the laying of eggs on your plant. It also attracts pollinators that are predators of moths, caterpillars, and hornworms.
– Planting Tips
In companion planting, marigold makes is one of the most common companion plants in any garden. They are best grown in warm soil, with their seeds spaced about one inch apart.
You can start the seedling phase indoors and then move outside after they germinate. Ensure to generously water it for the next two weeks after planting till it fully blooms. Transplant the marigolds to fill in spaces between the tomato plant.
When planting the marigold with the tomato plant, ensure to target in between the spaces. This way, you have the best results. You can target areas where you have recorded more insects, animal pests, and wilting tomato leaves.
The best way to plant the marigold with the tomato plant comes down to the variety you decide to plant. When you plant the shorter variants of the marigold plant, sow them very close to the tomato plant to form a patch around it.
You are to place the taller variants farther away from the tomato plant. The arrangement is such to make an impenetrable border around the tomatoes.
Companion planting is one of the effective ways to protect and grow your tomato plant in the garden. When you adopt crop rotation with some plants, they help with pest control in your garden. So when selecting your choice plants to grow alongside your tomatoes, do well to consider the following points:
- Plants come in different varieties. When selecting your seeds, you should always consider the plant variety. Some are more disease resistant than others. The French marigold is a variant effective against root-knot nematode. Signet marigold attracts pollinators more effectively.
- Keep in mind that healthier and tastier tomatoes are the target. When selecting the best companion plant, ensure it helps meet and protect these requirements. All these plants always require boggy or moist conditions.
- The selected plants are natural companions that grow well with each other with or without any help. Introducing fertilizers or any other chemical substances can immensely affect the balance.
- However, treating the soil with organic matter is a good move before planting.
- Tomato growing is easier when you pick the right plants to grow alongside your tomatoes. It largely determines what you get on the harvest.
You can use these everyday vegetable garden plants to help grow tomatoes healthy and tasty. Start by introducing companion planting with any of these tomato companion plants.