Companion Planting Tomatoes and Other Gardening Tips

Like many of my fellow gardeners in western Kansas, last year I didn’t get any good, ripe tomatoes until October. Of course, the frost hit, and then they just rotted in my garden beds. A family member of mine mentioned that she had picked plenty of green tomatoes, but since I didn’t know any better, I didn’t.

This year, I am determined to have a good tomato crop. I’ve got plans to learn how to can my vegetables properly and make some sauces and salsa to get us through the fall and winter. Pinterest research yielded plenty of results for a good tomato crop, along with asking experienced gardeners.

I discovered that there is a plethora of plants that make excellent companions for tomatoes.

  • Basil – For improved growth and flavor and repelling spider mites and aphids
  • Lettuce – Acts as a living mulch that doesn’t compete for the same nutrients; tomatoes provide shade, so lettuce has a cooler spot since it doesn’t like heat all that much.
  • Borage – I’ve never even heard of this herb, but it is supposed to provide similar benefits of basil.
  • Peppers – same plant family as tomatoes, so nutrients and care requirements are the same, saving you work and time.
  • Nasturtium – This flower works for several plants, but in regard to tomatoes, it acts as a trap crop for aphids and attracts beneficial insects for pollination.
  • Carrots – They will help loosen the soil around your tomato roots which will allow more water and nutrients in

And that’s just a small sampling for companions for tomatoes! There’s a flip side to this list of what shouldn’t be planted next to them either.

Don’t plant nearby:

  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli (all part of the same plant family)
  • Fennel
  • Corn – they share the same pests and will attract those pests if planted together.

Another great tip I found and have implemented? Dropping a Tums calcium tablet in the hole before you plant, then after planting, sprinkling the soil with some Epsom salt.

My tried-and-true method? Banana peel water. Soak a banana peel in a mason jar full of water overnight, water your plants with the water (after removing the banana peel) and watch them grow and flower! I’ve done this with all my house plants as well and have seen a huge improvement in plant health.