Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes (And 5 To Avoid)

What are the best companion plants for tomatoes? And what should you keep out of their vicinity? SInce not all veggies make good bedmates. It’s finally spring and I’m excited, Still got the usual flip-flopping weather (that is always been typical of March) but we’re prepping right now and monitoring our seeds and seedlings down to the last, So I am excited, doubly since this will be my third year officially of raised bed gardening and maybe since tht third time is the charm maybe this will be our best year yet.

But enough about me and my plans, what about yours? How well do you know about companion planting and its benefits, from organic pest control to making root systems compatible for with all the plant types together?

Starting with one of the most common crops – tomatoes. There are plants that do very well with them and others that just aren’t going to be good “friends” for reason I will include. Starting with the ornamentals:

Pin Me, Gardeners…

best companion plants tomatoes

Even though I focus on edible gardening here, the addition of a few ornamentals has a big boon for your garden beds. Pollinators like bees need a reason to stay around, and flowers in the right colors can do that. Trap crops are another excellent strategy as they can entice garden pests away from your prized tomatoes, it may mean sacrificing it but t will be worthwhile to do so.

Marigolds

Marigolds will be my first choice, I have already started a few from seed. Their pop of vibrant orange and yellow is not only enticing to pollinators, but they have been shown to be repugnant to certain garden pests, so it is worth your time to plant a few in the perimeter of your tomatoes.

Calendula

These are also in the daisy family, and in addition to having eye appeal they have a musky scent that turns off certain pests, and not to mention the petals are renowned for their use in herbal tea once dried. So you’ve got nothing to lose by including these.

tomato and candula plant pairing
Candulas planted in a row in front of tomato plants


Sunflowers

The hubs and I have always planted sunflowers in our garden beds, for the obvious reason they get so tall, they provide shade to other plants, plus beans can climb around them. We’ve got a few sunflower seedlings started and after a week they are already 5″ tall. They are very enticing to bees, which is great for pollnation. Where I live when I see the icky yellow dust the very next thing is always the bees.

But as soon as pollen season is over I don’t see the bees, until I can lure them back with something appealing to them like this majestic beauty.

Herbs That Should Be Planted With Tomatoes

If you’re also growing and cultivating herbs in your garden beds I hope you’re making use of them as companions, too, as they can potentiate veggie plants very well. Of course they are all different, and some can help, and other s hinder So make sure to choose good companions. These are the ones that work best with tomatoes.

Basil

Basil is the best herb to plant with tomatoes…it has a good scent that will give bad bugs the heave-ho and plus it will enhance th taste of said tomatoes too – ever wonder why they always go together in so many recipes? So you can’t go wrong with basil. I’ve got a few seedlings started so I hope they turn out well. WE had one basil plant that got pretty big but eventually went to seed.

Parsley

Definitely should add parsley to your repertoire, it’s a cooler season crop but if you let it go to flower it can be a good attractant for predatory insects like ladybugs and the trichogamma wasp, which lays its eggs in the tomato hornworm. And ladybugs are your friend, too as they eat aphids.

Veggie Crops that Work Well with Tomatoes

Some veggies are friends and others are foes.

Asparagus

This is a vegetable that is great to have alongside tomatoes as these two have a symbiotic relationship, they both carry within a chemical that fights pests in the other, for tomatoes its solanine, which repeals the asparagus beetle, and the natural fungicide in asparagus prevents nematodes.

Carrots

I would defientley consider planting carrots with tomatoes….since they are a root crop they will provide good aeration of the soil close by. Carrots thrive in cooler seasons so after tomato season is over the carrots will come in as a successor crop you can harvest later. It is best to plant smaller varieties, as the only downside is that the resulting carrots may be a little bit shorter when in proximity.

Lettuce

Anything in the lettuce family will help out your tomatoes. They are a cover crop that stays close to the ground, and tomatoes as they grow in height will give them shade. Plus they will not be competing for nutrients form the soil.

And The Plants You Should Avoid

Some plants should not go with tomatoes….These are the five you should plant elsewhere along with explanations…

The Nightshades

Try to avoid planting nightshades next to tomatoes. Although hey are in the same family you might be asking why….This means peppers, eggplant, and yes potatoes. Why? They are susceptible to the same kinds of pests. as well as funga diseases. If you have a trap crop or herb that acts as a barrier against pests it will protect them better than having them close together. And don’t forget pests can overwinter in the soil, too.

The Brassica Family

Do not plant anything in the brassica family with tomatoes, as they spread out too much and can inhibit growth. This includes kale, spinach, broccoli and cabbage.

Corn

Th last on the list is corn. They are susceptible to the same pests and fungal diseases, one of them is the corn earworm (also known as the tomato fruitworm…Not to be confused with the hornworm but they are known for being aggressive, will cannibalize each other, and can overwinter in the soil.) Since both crops have the same pest in common it is wise to separate them. 

Cucumbers…(Possibly)

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not tomatoes and cucumbers are poor companions. It is because a fungal disease known as cucumber mosaic virus can spread to tomatoes. It is not something to totally rule out however. Definitely practice crop rotation. I didn’t plant mine together.

Related: Good Companion Plants for Cucumbers

Some people have had success with tomato/cuke pairings. I think it all depends on the variety.

Conclusion

Did anything on the list surprise you?  Or any you knew already? If you think I missed a god friend or foe please let me know i the comment section.

 

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