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12 Best Companion Plants to Help Your Tomatoes Grow

12 Best Companion Plants to Help Your Tomatoes Grow

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Hey there, fellow garden enthusiasts!

Tomatoes are an absolute staple in any gardener’s summer vegetable patch. These plump, juicy fruits are as versatile as they are delicious, and they’re a joy to grow.

But have you ever wondered if there’s a secret to growing even better tomatoes?

Well, my green-thumbed friends, there is – and it’s called companion planting!

Companion planting is the practice of planting different crops close to each other to benefit both plants.

For tomatoes, there are specific plants that can boost their growth, help them fight off pests, and even improve their flavor.

So let’s dive into the 12 best companion plants to help your tomatoes thrive this season!

1. Basil

This aromatic herb is a favorite companion plant for tomatoes, and it’s not just because they’re delicious together in a caprese salad.

Basil is believed to repel pests like aphids, whiteflies, and hornworms, which can wreak havoc on your tomatoes.

Plus, some gardeners swear that planting basil near tomatoes can improve their flavor!

Basil is also an excellent source of essential oils, which can boost the plant’s immune system and help it withstand diseases.

So, not only does basil make your tomato dish taste incredible, but it also supports your tomato plants’ overall health.

2. Marigolds

These bright, cheery flowers not only add a pop of color to your garden, but they also help protect your tomatoes from nematodes – tiny, parasitic worms that can damage tomato roots.

The secret is in their roots; marigolds release a natural pesticide called alpha-terthienyl that wards off these pesky critters.

Plant marigolds around the perimeter of your tomato patch, or intersperse them between your tomato plants for maximum protection.

As a bonus, marigolds also attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which help control other pests.

3. Carrots

Slow-growing carrots are a perfect companion for tomatoes.

They break up the soil with their deep roots, allowing tomato roots to grow more easily.

Additionally, carrots can help with water retention, ensuring that your tomatoes stay well-hydrated.

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By planting carrots near your tomatoes, you’re also encouraging a more efficient use of space, as the carrots will grow beneath the soil while the tomatoes grow above ground.

This combination makes for a harmonious and visually appealing garden.

4. Lettuce

Lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens are great companions for tomatoes.

They provide ground cover, which helps keep the soil moist and cool, reducing the need for frequent watering.

Plus, their shallow roots won’t compete with tomato roots for nutrients.

Leafy greens are also known for their quick growth, so you can harvest them throughout the season, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh greens for your salads and sandwiches.

5. Nasturtiums

These vibrant flowers not only look great in your garden, but they’re also a valuable ally for your tomatoes.

Nasturtiums repel a variety of pests, including aphids and whiteflies, by releasing a chemical called glucosinolate that is toxic to many insects.

As an added bonus, the flowers and leaves are edible, adding a peppery flavor to your salads.

Plant nasturtiums near the base of your tomato plants or along the borders of your garden to take advantage of their pest-repelling properties.

6. Garlic

Ah, garlic – the stinky, yet essential, ingredient in so many of our favorite dishes.

Planting garlic near your tomatoes can help deter pests like spider mites and aphids, thanks to its strong smell.

The sulfur compounds in garlic also have antifungal properties, which can help protect your tomatoes from diseases like blight and mildew.

To make the most of garlic’s pest-fighting abilities, plant it in a staggered pattern around your tomato plants or along the edges of your garden.

This arrangement will help create a barrier that keeps unwanted insects at bay.

Plus, garlic is a delicious addition to your tomato dishes, so you’ll have a convenient supply right at your fingertips.

7. Borage

Borage is a beautiful flowering herb that’s a fantastic companion for tomatoes.

It repels tomato hornworms and attracts beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs, which can help with pollination and pest control.

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Borage also adds essential trace minerals to the soil, such as calcium and potassium, which can improve tomato growth and flavor.

The cucumber-flavored leaves of borage can be added to salads or used as a garnish, while the vibrant blue flowers make a striking addition to any garden.

8. Chives

Chives are another fantastic allium to plant near your tomatoes.

These small, onion-flavored herbs are believed to help prevent early blight, a common fungal disease that affects tomato plants, due to their natural antifungal properties.

They also deter aphids and other pests with their strong scent.

Chives are a low-maintenance plant that can be easily grown in containers, making them a convenient and space-saving companion for your tomato plants.

9. Beans

Pole beans and bush beans make great neighbors for your tomatoes.

They help improve soil fertility by fixing nitrogen, which is essential for healthy tomato growth.

Just be sure to provide a trellis or support for your pole beans to prevent them from overwhelming your tomato plants.

Planting beans near tomatoes can also help reduce the risk of pests and diseases, as they repel beetles and other insects that might harm your tomato plants.

Plus, harvesting beans and tomatoes together can make for a delicious and nutritious meal.

10. Parsley

This flavorful herb is a helpful companion for tomatoes, as it attracts beneficial insects like parasitic wasps and hoverflies, which prey on common tomato pests.

Parsley also serves as a host plant for the larvae of swallowtail butterflies, adding an extra touch of beauty to your garden.

As an added bonus, parsley has a deep root system that helps break up compacted soil, improving water and nutrient availability for your tomato plants.

And, of course, it’s a tasty addition to your favorite recipes, so be sure to harvest some for your kitchen.

11. Peppers

Sweet and hot peppers are not only related to tomatoes, but they also share similar growing conditions.

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Planting peppers near tomatoes can help deter pests and maximize your garden space.

The capsaicin in hot peppers is a natural pest deterrent, keeping insects like aphids and whiteflies at bay.

Additionally, you’ll have a delicious assortment of fruits to harvest come late summer, providing you with a colorful and flavorful variety of ingredients for your dishes.

12. Calendula

This lovely flowering herb, also known as pot marigold, is another excellent companion for tomatoes.

Calendula’s bright orange and yellow flowers attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies, which help control aphids and other tomato pests.

Calendula is also known for its ability to improve soil quality by accumulating phosphorus, a vital nutrient for tomato growth.

Plus, calendula flowers are edible and can add color and flavor to your salads and other dishes, making them a versatile and valuable addition to your garden.

Final Thoughts

Companion planting is an incredible way to maximize your garden’s potential, and these 12 plants are just the tip of the iceberg.

By planting these companions near your tomatoes, you’ll be setting yourself up for a bountiful harvest of delicious, healthy fruits.

Remember that every garden is different, and it’s essential to consider factors like climate, soil type, and available space when choosing the right companions for your tomatoes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the combinations that work best for you and your garden.

As you embark on your companion planting journey, keep in mind that some plants may not get along well with tomatoes.

For example, avoid planting potatoes, corn, and members of the brassica family (like cabbage, kale, and broccoli) near your tomatoes, as they can attract pests and diseases that can harm your tomato plants.

So go ahead, grab your trowel and gardening gloves, and get ready to discover the magic of companion planting.

Your tomatoes – and your taste buds – will thank you!

Happy gardening!