Companion planting is a technique in which different plants are grown close together for the benefit of one or both. It can be used to maximize space, improve growth, and provide more habitats for beneficial insects and other animals.
The benefits of companion planting are often overlooked by gardeners who are more focused on the aesthetics of their gardens. These benefits, however, make it worth considering when planning your garden.
This type of planting has become increasingly popular because it is seen as an environmentally friendly practice that can reduce pesticide use while increasing crop yields.
We all know growing tomatoes can be fun and rewarding as they are easy to grow, assume little space, and require minimal care. With the rise in demand for organic produce and rising prices, people are looking for ways to grow their own food.
The benefits of growing companion plants with tomatoes include:
- Growing more food
- Decreasing pest problems
- Increasing the number of nutrients in the soil
- Reducing weed problems
Here are ten companion plants to consider planting with your tomatoes:
Amaranth – Amaranth helps repel insects and it will not compete with tomatoes for water and space.
Calendula – Calendula is also known as pot marigold, and it releases a chemical called “limonene”. This chemical stops whiteflies on tomato bushes, which protects the tomato crop. This chemical is safe for beneficial insect pollinators such as honeybees.
Cleome – Cleome brings beneficial insects and butterflies into the garden and to your tomato plants. These pollinators help make your tomato crop more abundant.
Cosmos - Cosmos help tomatoes by providing a habitat that is beneficial for them. This flower attracts bees and other friendly pollinators, which also visit tomato plants. The result of this is the tomato fruit is increased.
Nasturtium – Nasturtium are great companion plants plus they produce edible colorful blooms. The scent of the plant repels insects that would eat your tomatoes. In other words, the insect smells the nasturtium first and decides to eat elsewhere.
Basil – Basil can be used to help repel insects including fruit flies. This herb also helps encourage growth and enriches the taste of tomatoes.
Borage - Borage helps tomatoes in many ways. It produces more ethylene gas which is the hormone that triggers fruit ripening. Borage also helps tomatoes to better absorb nutrients and water, which means they are less likely to be affected by diseases and pests including hornworms.
Parsley – Parsley is an aromatic herb that is of benefit between or near tomato plants. Parsley attracts parasitic wasps and other beneficial insects that feed on harmful insects like aphids, cutworms, earworms, cabbage worms, and more. Not only will the parsley help the tomatoes with ground cover, but tomato plants may also help the parsley by providing shade during the heat of summer.
Beans – Beans make the perfect companion plant to tomatoes because they add nitrogen back into the soil. Tomatoes happen to consume heavy amounts of nitrogen. It is like a marriage made in heaven. Bush beans would be easier to grow instead of pole beans.
Carrots – Carrots will help loosen the soil. This is great because it assists in holding water preventing the tomatoes from drying out. It is best to plant them when your tomatoes are small so they can be harvested at the same time. If you plant your carrots too close, they may not grow as large, but they will still taste great.
Let us know if you use any of these plants or other ones as companions to your tomato plants!