Backyard Tomatoes

Backyard Tomatoes

A Guide for Growing Your Own Tomatoes 

Companion Planting for Tomatoes – What to Plant with Tomatoes

Level up your tomato growing success by selecting the best companions for your tomato plants.  These plants have a symbiotic relationship that promotes growth and repels pests. Additionally, we’ll discuss the plants that may hinder your tomatoes, ensuring you create a garden where they thrive.

Companion planting, also known as interplanting or creating a polyculture involves planting specific crops together to maximize nutrient uptake, control pests, boost pollination, and ultimately enhance your crop production.  Learn which plants make the best and worst companions for tomato plants.

Best Tomato Companions to Repel Harmful Insects

  1. Calendula: A cheerful burst of colour that not only repels hornworms but also is edible and used for medicinal purposes.
  2. Chives: Edible, perennial, and a pest repellent.
  3. Black-Eyed Peas: Acting as decoys, these peas lure stink bugs, ensuring a fruitful harvest.
  4. Sage: A fragrant herb that helps deter slugs, flea beetles, and spider mites, with bonus pollinator attraction.
  5. French Marigolds: Helps deter root-knot nematodes, hornworms, and aphids.
  6. Nasturtiums: Trapping pests, reducing fungal disease spread, and adding a peppery punch to your salads.  We find the nasturtium a terrific sacrificial plant year after year.

Best Tomato Companions to Increase Beneficial Insects

  1. Cilantro: A cool-season herb attracting wasps that dine on hornworms, and an accompanying salsa ingredient.
  2. Oregano: A floral haven for green lacewings, shelter for ladybugs, and perfect for Italian dishes.
  3. Parsley: A flowering wonder that invites ladybugs.  Also a terrific living mulch.

Best Tomato Companions to Increase Pollination

Tomatoes are typically wind-pollinated but occasionally by pollinators so it does not hurt to attract them to your garden. 

  1. Lavender: a sweet-scented magnet for bees, ensuring tomatoes get the attention they deserve.
  2. Sunflowers: draw in native bees and small birds to aid in pollination.
  3. Zinnias: Bursting with colour, these blooms are a delight in the garden and also attract both pollinators and predators.

Best Tomato Companions to Improve Tomato Health

  1. Asparagus: A symbiotic relationship that repels nematodes, prevents blights, and produces a natural fungicide.
  2. Basil: A flavour-packed herb that repels pests, increases root size and complements tomato growth.
  3. Borage: A nutrient-rich source that improves soil health, attracts bees, repels hornworms, and adds a dash of living mulch.
  4. Carrots: Soil aerators that contribute to robust root health, and yes, they’re still edible.
  5. Garlic: A pungent powerhouse deterring pests and combating soil-borne diseases.

Best Plants to Grow in Containers with Tomatoes

  1. Sweet Alyssum: A ground cover that attracts parasitic wasps, keeping aphids at bay.
  2. Thyme: A fragrant, low-growing herb that repels a host of pests, making it an ideal companion for potted tomatoes.

Worst Tomato Companion Plants

  1. Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, and Kohlrabi: may stunt plant growth.
  2. Fennel: A growth-inhibiting substance is secreted from its roots.
  3. Dill: May inhibit the growth of the tomato plants.
  4. Nightshades: Eggplants, peppers, and potatoes, susceptible to blight can spread to tomatoes.
  5. Cucumbers: Potential carriers of diseases that affect both cucumbers and tomatoes. Especially an issue when direct seeding the tomatoes into the garden bed.
  6. Sweet Corn: Will compete for space and nutrients.  Also attracts pests that are also an issue for tomatoes – one crop affected is better than two.
  7. Rosemary: A soil nutrient deplete. Rosemary also requires different growing conditions to tomatoes.
  8. Potatoes: Risk of diseases being passed on to tomatoes.

Tips for Effective Companion Planting

Maximize the benefits of companion planting with these tips:

Companion Planting TipsImplementation
Rotate Companions AnnuallyPrevent pest and disease build-up.
Observe Plant BehaviourAdapt your garden layout based on interactions.
Experiment with Different CombinationsFind the most effective pairings for your tomatoes.

MORE INFO:

1. Spacing
Regardless of you decide to plant to benefit your tomato plants, make sure they still have the proper spacing required.  Tomatoes require air flow and correct spacing is critical for this!

2. Documenting Your Observations
Keep a gardening journal to document the success of companion plant pairings and adapt your strategies accordingly.

3. Experimenting with Pairings
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different companion plant pairings to find the most effective combinations for your tomatoes.

 4. Adapting to Changing Conditions
Be flexible in your companion planting strategy, adapting to changing weather conditions and plant needs.

5. Considering Microclimates
Take into account microclimates within your garden, considering factors like shade and wind exposure.

6. Embracing Diversity
Cultivate a diverse garden ecosystem by incorporating a variety of companion plants that contribute to overall garden health.

Cultivate, Learn & Enjoy
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