Originally published May 17 2015
Include these companion plants in your garden to help grow tomatoes
by P.A. Watson
(NaturalNews) With spring in full swing, gardeners across North America have been busily tending to their gardens to prepare for another year of successful food production. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just planting for the first time, there are always some tricks that can help make your garden the best ever.
Depending on the plant, it can be a bit difficult to get the results you desire due to a variety of factors that can dramatically affect the harvest, including soil, weather, rotation and natural pests. Tomatoes can be one of those trickier plants to grow, but if you know some of the beneficial companion plants for tomatoes, you can increase your odds of a beneficial harvest.
Some of the best companion plants to consider growing in the same space as your tomatoes include basil, oregano, parsley, carrots, marigold, geraniums, petunias and any type of onion or chives.
- Basil repels whiteflies, mosquitos, spider mites, aphids, and hornworms. It also improves pollination because it attracts bees and can therefore increase the yield as well. Bail also will help improve your tomatoes' health and flavor. For best coverage, plant three basil plants per tomato plant and do not plant near rue or sage.
- French marigolds have roots that release a substance that spreads into their immediate vicinity and kills nematodes. Studies have proven that the deterrence of nematodes lasted several years after the plants died back. French marigolds also repel whiteflies, tomato worms, slugs and other general garden pests. To deter nematodes even further, till marigolds into the soil at the end of the season.
- Borage is an edible flower that is a nice companion plant for tomatoes because when it is planted nearby, it deters the tomato hornworm (a type of caterpillar) and cabbage worm. Many consider borage to be the magic bullet of companion plants, and it might self-seed itself from year to year. As an additional bonus, you can use the leaves in salads.
- Carrots benefit tomatoes by breaking up the soil around the tomatoes, which allows more air, nutrients, and water into the roots of the tomato plant. Tomatoes return the favor by secreting a natural insecticide, solanine, that carrots can absorb.
- Chives are a great companion plant for tomatoes because they keep aphids away while improving the growth and flavor of tomatoes.
- Parsley helps produce healthier tomato plants by attracting hoverflies, which feast on tomato pests.
- Garlic is also helpful because it repels spider mites. Bury garlic cloves one inch into the ground around tomato plants for a natural insecticide.
- Mint will help your tomato plants by deterring white cabbage moths, ants, rodents, flea beetles, fleas and aphids. Due to the invasive nature of mint, plant it in a submerged container so it doesn't overtake the garden.
- Nasturtium, which is an annual flower, deters aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs and beetles. It can also ward off fungal diseases that can negatively affect tomato plants.
On the flip side, some of the worst companions for tomatoes include black walnut, brassicas (such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts), corn, fennel and potato.
If you are a big fan of tomatoes, growing and harvesting your own is substantially more beneficial to you and anyone else who eats them. Tomatoes on the shelves are often GM, picked too early, and not grown with the care that you would give them. This results in a toxic, tasteless and nutritionally inferior fruit.
You can plant your own tomatoes using organic heirlooms seeds, and use a natural, mineral-rich fertilizer to give them a great start. The companion plants will ensure that you take care of many pests naturally and improve the flavor of the final product.
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