Good Neighbors: Companion Plants for Tomatoes

Bunch of tomatoesIn the previous post, you read about carrots and tomatoes being the best of friends.  Indeed, they’re good neighbors.  Aside from the benefits that they get from each other, they share a space-efficient companionship.  You can plant the carrots while the tomatoes are still small.  You don’t have to worry about them competing for space because the carrots will be ready for harvesting once the tomatoes are ready to take over the patch.  Spinach and tomatoes may also be planted together.  Plant them together when the weather is cool.  The spinach will mature before the tomato plants become big enough to block the sunlight.

Neighbors that Tomatoes Like

Basil and tomatoes are not only good together in your pasta and pizza sauces; they are also good partners in the garden.  They make each other stronger.  Although it has been said that planting tomatoes next to basil makes the tomatoes more flavorful, this claim has never been substantially proven.  However, studies have shown that planting tomatoes and basil 10 inches apart results in a 20-percent increase in tomato yield.  Basil also repels flies and mosquitoes.

Asparagus and tomatoes also share a space-efficient companionship.  Tomatoes also help keep the asparagus beetle away.  Some plants ward off pests that attack tomatoes.  Marigolds keep harmful nematodes at bay.  To repel the worms, chop fully-grown marigold plants at the end of the season and mix them into the soil.   The smell of marigold can also confuse harmful insects.

Nasturtiums keep aphids and white flies away.  If you want to prevent tomato horn worm infestations, plant some borage near your tomatoes.  Onions, garlic, and other members of the onion family emit pungent scents that repel many insect pests.  Spinach, lettuce, and arugula are also good neighbors for tomatoes.  Tomato plants can shield them from the summer heat by providing shade.

Roses can benefit from tomatoes, too.  Tomatoes have anti-fungal properties that prevent black spot, a fungus that infest roses.  Other good neighbors for tomatoes are lettuce, beans, peas, cucumbers, and peppers.

Bad Neighbors

Although they rhyme, tomatoes and potatoes should be nowhere near each other.  They can contaminate one another with early and late blight.  Tomatoes should never be planted near apricots, cauliflower, cabbage, and fennel.
Do not plant tomatoes under walnut trees or they will suffer from walnut wilt.  Black walnut gives off a chemical called juglone which inhibits the growth of tomatoes and other nightshade plants.  Dill is a tomato horn worm magnet, so it is best planted away from tomato plants.

Cabbage and broccoli and other members of the cole family can slow the growth and development of tomatoes.  Fennel will inhibit tomatoes, too.  Corn should be grown apart from tomatoes because they both are vulnerable to a parasitic worm that can be transferred between them.

Generally, tomatoes are good neighbors.  They are compatible with most garden plants and they even give some benefits to their companions.  However, like any other plant, they can also cause harm to others.  Make sure that you don’t plant them near plants that inhibit their growth and make them susceptible to diseases and pest infestations.