Why You Should Plant Marigold With Tomatoes And 15 More Tomato Companion Plants

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Are you looking for ways to improve your tomato harvest? Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves growing different plants together to enhance their growth and productivity. One of the most popular companion plants for tomatoes is marigold. In this article, we will explore the benefits of planting marigolds with tomatoes and 15 other tomato companion plants.

Why Plant Marigold with Tomatoes?

Marigold is a popular companion plant for tomatoes because it has natural insect-repelling properties. The scent of marigolds deters pests like nematodes, whiteflies, and aphids, which can damage tomato plants. Additionally, marigold attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on harmful pests and help to pollinate tomato flowers.

Other Tomato Companion Plants

In addition to marigolds, many other plants can be grown alongside tomatoes to improve their growth and yield. Here are 15 other tomato companion plants to consider:

1. Basil: This culinary hero does double duty! Its sweet scent masks tomato plants from pests, while also attracting beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. Bonus points for adding a delicious flavor boost to your tomato dishes!

2. Chives: These allium beauties not only deter aphids and thrips but also attract ladybugs, nature’s pest control squad. Plus, their delicate purple blooms add a touch of elegance to your garden.

3. Nasturtiums: These cheerful flowers share similar water needs with tomatoes and act as living decoys, attracting pests away from your precious fruits. Their edible blooms and leaves add a peppery kick to salads, too!

4. Dill: This feathery foliage repels tomato worms and attracts hoverflies, natural predators of aphids. Plus, dill seeds add a unique flavor to pickles and marinades, perfectly complementing your homegrown tomatoes.

5. Mint: While its invasive tendencies are legendary, strategic planting of mint near your tomatoes can deter ants and other crawling pests. Just be sure to keep it contained in a pot or raised bed to prevent its takeover!

6. Garlic: This pungent powerhouse repels a wide range of pests, including whiteflies, aphids, and even deer. Just be mindful of its allelopathic properties, which can inhibit the growth of nearby plants. Plant it at a safe distance or use raised beds.

7. Onions: Not just for burgers, onions release a strong scent that deters pests like thrips and tomato hornworms. Their shallow root systems won’t compete with your tomatoes for resources, making them ideal companions.

8. Borage: These beautiful blue flowers attract bees and hoverflies, while their leaves repel tomato hornworms. Plus, borage seedlings are a delicious salad addition!

9. Alyssum: This low-growing carpet of white flowers attracts beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, natural enemies of tomato worms. Additionally, it helps suppress weeds, keeping your tomato patch neat and tidy.

10. Petunias: While not directly pest-repellent, these vibrant blooms attract pollinators and beneficial insects, contributing to a healthy tomato ecosystem.

11. Lettuce: This leafy green thrives in the partial shade cast by taller tomato plants, making efficient use of space. Plus, you can harvest lettuce throughout the season, enjoying a delicious side dish alongside your homegrown tomatoes.

12. Beans: These nitrogen-fixers enrich the soil, providing essential nutrients for your tomato plants. Choose bush beans if space is limited, and enjoy their fresh flavor in salads or stir-fries.

13. Carrots: Sharing similar water needs with tomatoes, carrots attract beneficial predatory nematodes that help control harmful ones in the soil. Just be sure to plant them early enough to harvest before your tomatoes shade them out.

14. Radishes: Similar to carrots, these fast-growing companions attract beneficial nematodes and help suppress weeds. Their peppery flavor adds a unique twist to salads or dips.

15. Catnip: Yes, even our feline friends can contribute! While it attracts cats (keep this in mind if it’s an issue!), catnip also repels aphids and other troublesome pests from your tomato patch.

Tips for Planting Companion Plants with Tomatoes

  1. Spacing Recommendations:
    • Allow sufficient space between tomato plants and companion plants to prevent overcrowding and competition for nutrients.
    • For smaller companion plants like basil or lettuce, plant them 12-18 inches away from tomato stems to ensure they have ample space to grow.
    • Larger companion plants such as beans or dill should be planted further away, approximately 24-36 inches from tomato plants, to accommodate their size.
  2. Suitable Planting Locations:
    • Consider the sunlight requirements of both tomatoes and companion plants when selecting planting locations.
    • Plant taller companion plants, like dill or beans, on the north side of tomato rows to avoid shading the tomatoes.
    • Place low-growing companions, such as lettuce or radishes, in front of tomato plants where they won’t obstruct sunlight but can still benefit from partial shade.
  3. Container Planting:
    • If space is limited or you prefer container gardening, select large containers that can accommodate both tomato plants and companion herbs or flowers.
    • Ensure containers have proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
    • Group companion plants with similar water and sunlight requirements together in containers to simplify care.
  4. Companion Plant Compatibility:
    • Choose companion plants that are compatible with tomatoes in terms of soil pH, water requirements, and growth habits.
    • Avoid planting companions that may compete aggressively with tomatoes for resources or spread diseases.
    • Research potential allelopathic effects of certain companion plants, such as garlic or mint, and plant them at safe distances to prevent inhibiting tomato growth.
  5. Potential Challenges to Be Aware Of:
    • Invasive tendencies: Be cautious with invasive companion plants like mint or certain varieties of mint. Plant them in containers or use barriers to prevent them from spreading and taking over your garden.
    • Pest attraction: While companion plants often deter pests, some may inadvertently attract pests to your tomato patch. Monitor your garden regularly and take appropriate pest management measures if necessary.
    • Disease transmission: Certain companion plants may harbor diseases that can affect tomatoes. Practice crop rotation and proper garden sanitation to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
  6. Maintenance and Care:
    • Water companion plants and tomatoes consistently, ensuring they receive adequate moisture without becoming waterlogged.
    • Fertilize plants as needed based on soil nutrient levels and plant growth requirements.
    • Prune companion plants to maintain their size and shape, and remove any dead or diseased foliage promptly to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
    • Monitor for signs of pests or nutrient deficiencies and take proactive measures to address any issues that arise.

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