Growing Tomatoes with Companion Plants
Tomatoes originate from the South American mountain Andes. It was first used as a food in Mexico. When it first appeared in Europe, it was considered a poisonous fruit, and it is poisonous. The thing is, though, that to poison yourself with tomatoes, you have to eat a tone or two of them at once, which can never happen. They are very delicious fruit with red, yellow, orange, purple, black or green colour. And yes, tomatoes are fruit and they don't come only in red colour. They have a sweet flavour with a little acidic notes.
Tomato plants are often attacked by insect pests, which damage and even kill them. Some people use chemicals because of this reason, but that is not a decision, because chemicals change the flavour of the crops and make them unhealthy. Instead of processing your tomato plants with pesticides, you can plant them next to other cultures. Some companion plants of tomatoes don't protect them from pesticides, but they bring other benefits for them. Don't stop reading to learn more about growing tomatoes with companion plants.
Onions, Garlic, Chives
Onions, garlic and chives are all from the onion family. They have a strong fragrant which repels a lot of insects and keeps the away from your tomatoes. They are beneficial not only when planted next to tomatoes, but along with all kinds of plants. Plus they are all a fantastic addition to tomato sauces and salads. Don't hesitate to plant them in your garden, or in containers next to your tomato containers.
I'm not sure if most people know what borage is, but it is a plant with hairy leaves and stem. Tomatoes also have bristly leaves and stem, which makes the plants a bit similar. The leaves of borage are edible, but are probably not the most delicious thing you can have for lunch. However, borage is used in medicine and in cuisines. The industry makes oil from it, as its parts contain lots of healthy oils. Borage protects tomatoes from the tomato hornworm and from moths, too. They get distracted where to lay their eggs and usually prefer borage than tomatoes, because its parts are more hairy.
Marigolds protect tomatoes from nematodes, which are very harmful for them. They have a very strong aroma which also confuses other insects and prevent then from invading the tomato plants. It is a good practice to grow the marigolds, to chop them and to mix them with the soil in the end of the tomato growing season.
Asparagus and tomatoes are very good friends when in the ground. When you plant them together, asparagus grow first, and once they are harvested the tomatoes start filling in the ground. Tomatoes help asparagus by repelling the asparagus beetle.
Nasturtium helps tomatoes fight aphids and whiteflies. It is a very interesting plant, which is also edible. 100 g of it contains the same amount of vitamin C as in 100g parsley, so it is also healthy.
It is said that basil planted next to tomatoes enriches their flavour and makes them more delicious. I'm not sure about that, but I'm sure that basil deters a lot of insects from invading the tomatoes. You should plant about three basils per one tomato plant for the best effect.
Spinach, Lettuce and Arugula
They are good neighbours of tomatoes, but they are the only ones that benefit from the companion planting. Spinach, lettuce and arugula are short plants, and grow pretty well in the shade of tomatoes in hot summer.
A few plants that you should never plant in companion with tomatoes:
Fennel is a very invasive plant and will inhibit the growth of your tomato plants.
There is a tomato fruit worm and a corn ear worm, and they are almost the same. If you plant corn and tomatoes together, you risk both of the crops get eaten by pests.
Tomatoes next to potatoes is a total no no, if you want to harvest your potatoes. Tomato plants make potato plants more vulnerable to potato blight.
Brassicas and tomatoes are not good friends at all. They disturb each others growth, and you will probably have a very poor harvest, if you plant them as companions.
So, growing tomatoes isn't hard at all. You can do it on your own, and you can grow them organically with companion plants. Moreover, you can grow your own tomatoes, even if you live in a flat and don't have a garden. How? Well, in containers. You can read more about balcony container gardening in this post of Allison Taylor. If you need more information about growing tomatoes and companion planting, feel free to contact some of the professional gardeners in Chelsea or in your area.
And don't forget to tell me what you think about growing on your own and companion planting in the comments below.
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