Nothing is more frustrating than an unsuccessful vegetable harvest! After all the TLC you put into your garden, the last thing you want is for your efforts to go to waste.
Try companion planting to make the most out of your growing season! This method involves growing plants in close proximity to each other that benefit from one another.
For tomatoes in particular, companion plants improve and add nutrients to the soil while deterring pests and common tomato plant diseases. These plants also encourage pollination of your tomatoes by attracting beneficial insects and pollinators. Not to mention some are known for boosting the flavor of your tomatoes and increasing crop production!
Vegetable Companion Plants
Beans are fantastic companion plants for tomatoes as they inhabit root nodules and fix nitrogen in the soil. Tomatoes require nitrogen for proper stem and foliage growth as well as for producing fruit. Insert bush beans around your tomato plants to increase air circulation and prevent fungal diseases!
Improve the flavor of both your carrots and tomatoes by planting them side-by-side. While the carrots may be smaller in size due to their close proximity, the result will delight your tastebuds! Additionally, carrots help loosen the soil around your tomato plants, increasing aeration and nutrient distribution. Carrot plants also attract parasitic wasps which prey on tomato hornworms and other caterpillar pests!
3. Onion Family
Onions, garlic, and chives all aid tomato plants with their pungent smell. This smell masks that of tomato plants, deterring pests like aphids, nematodes, and spider mites. Chives in particular are known for improving the health and flavor of your tomatoes in addition to their insecticide properties!
Plant lettuce as a cover crop among your tomato plants to benefit both the lettuce and tomatoes! Lettuce acts as a living mulch to reduce weeds while keeping the soil around your tomato plants moist and cool. In return, your lettuce is less likely to bolt and go to seed while it thrives in the shade provided by tomato plants.
Flowering Companion Plants
Borage is a beautiful flowering plant that attracts pollinators with its blue blossoms. These flowers compliment ruby red tomatoes while improving their growth and flavor. In addition to the growth and flavor boost, borage plants are known for repelling tomato hornworms.
6. French Marigold
French marigolds make a perfect companion to tomato plants as they prevent root rot on tomato vines by repelling nematodes, tomato hornworms, and slugs. Root-knot nematodes in particular cause serious destruction to tomato plants by feeding off nutrients in a plant’s root system. It is therefore handy to plant some french marigolds close by, and watch how their scent deters pesky garden pests while attracting beneficial pollinating insects!
In addition to adding aesthetic appeal to your garden, nasturtium plants make a great trap for aphids that like to demolish tomato plants. These delightful orange-red blooms attract beneficial insects that eat tomato pests, while the peppery, bitter oils produced by the plant work as a general pest repellant. Enjoy the edible flowers of a nasturtium after reaping the benefits of companion planting them with your tomatoes!
Herb Companion Plants
Basil just might be the absolute best companion plant for tomatoes! Not only does basil repel mosquitoes and flies, but it is also a smart pairing for creating delicious Italian-inspired dishes! The strong smell of basil is responsible for repelling an assortment of tomato pests including thrips, aphids, and mites. Planting basil next to tomatoes keeps the tomato hornworms and whiteflies at bay. Basil is also believed to increase the amount of fruit on your plant come harvest time!
Another great food pairing for making delicious pasta sauces is parsley and tomatoes. Planting parsley alongside your plants improves the health of your tomato plant by boosting growth as well as the flavor of your tomato fruit. Parsley attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and hover-flies that feed on nasty tomato pests!
Careful with this plant – as mint likes to spread! However, planting mint next to tomatoes is an extremely effective pest repellant. Cabbage moths, ants, rodents, and aphids are kept at bay, while mint leaves attract parasitic wasps which prey on tomato hornworms. Mint is also thought to improve the health of your tomato plants while boosting the flavor of the fruit.
Pro tip: Try planting mint in containers and placing them around your tomato plants to prevent them from taking over!
Make the most out of your growing season by companion planting with your tomatoes! The growth and flavor enhancement as well as the natural pest repellant will do wonders for your tomato harvest.
Design your garden by pairing herbs with your tomatoes that are commonly used together in food dishes. Try a Caprese salad by adding mozzarella cheese to your freshly grown tomatoes and basil!
Whatever you choose, these companion plants all benefit tomato plants when planted in close proximity; making for some serious, sustainable gardening!