Tomatoes are one of the most common garden vegetables. Since they’re relatively easy to grow, they’re great for beginning home gardeners!
You can elevate your tomato growing by companion planting.
If you grow tomatoes side by side with specific other plants, it can help:
- reduce pests
- increase their production
- enhance flavor
- attract beneficial insects
- avoid diseases
in your vegetable garden.
But have you wondered what plants to grow with your tomatoes to grow healthier plants and maximize harvests?
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What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the practice of growing specific vegetables, flowers, and/or herbs alongside other plants.
By planting the best companion plants for your tomatoes, it can:
- improve their health
- provide pest control
- enhance nutrient uptake
- encourage pollination
Does Companion Planting Work?
There are studies show that companion planting can significantly reduce pests in the garden.
According to a study conducted in 2020:
Planting side by side is linked to greater ecological resilience. Interplanting of diverse plants have been used for thousands of years to improve the health of gardens and farm fields.Springer Link
Best Tomato Companion Plants
Fortunately, tomatoes have a lot of friends in terms of companion planting.
Here are the great companion plants, herbs, and flowers that you should start planting with your tomatoes:
- Basil plants
- Bell peppers
- Bush beans
- Crimson Clover
- Dandelion greens
- Lemon balm
- Mustard greens
- Sweet alyssum
- Wildflower blends
- Winter rye
Avoid These Bad Tomato Companion Plants
One of the risks of companion planting is planting tomatoes with other vegetables and crops that can reduce their growth.
This is due to the fact that they are too much in competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
While tomatoes are fairly easy going, these are the plants you should avoid planting near your tomatoes:
- Brussel sprouts
- Walnut trees
Tomato Growing Success Tips
Now that you know the best companion plants for your tomatoes, you may also want to follow these tips to make sure you’ll have success growing them.
Avoid Crowding Seedlings
If you’re starting tomatoes from seeds, give the seedlings plenty of room for their roots to branch out.
Start thinning the seedlings by snipping the weaker, smaller ones to give more room for the best growers.
Give Them Plenty Of Light
For them to thrive, the tomato seedlings need strong and direct sunlight.
If you don’t have enough sunlight in your garden, especially during the winter season, make sure to use artificial plant lighting for 14 to 18 hours a day indoors.
Preheat The Soil
Tomatoes love heat. Unless the soil temperature and air circulation remain warm, they won’t start to grow.
Speed up the growth period of your plants by covering the planting area with a red or black plastic for a couple of weeks before you transfer the seedlings into the soil.
Mulch. Mulch. Mulch.
Mulching conserves water. It’s also a great way to prevent garden pests, one of the most common problems when planting, like:
- green stink bugs
- tomato hornworms
- spider mites
- tomato worms
- parasitic wasps
from harming your tomatoes.
To ensure healthy tomatoes, it’s a good idea to add mulch to your beds.
When the fruits are starting to develop, always water deeply and regularly.
Irregular watering can lead to root rot, burst tomatoes, and a whole other host of problems.
Make sure your plants get at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week and more during the hottest parts of the year to maintain healthy soil moisture.
Feed Them Well
The tastiest tomatoes result from getting all the nutrients they need.
Other than applying organic matter to your soil, also apply a slow-release organic fertilizer or liquid feeds that are specifically formulated for tomatoes during their growing season.
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Tomatoes are eager to please and benefit from companion planting.
There are a lot of benefits of companion planting. With this method, you can diversify your garden while boosting the resilience of your tomato plants to increase the production by planting beneficial plant combinations.
It also boosts the flavor of tomatoes and prevents pests and diseases.