Best Companion Plants for Your Tomato Garden

In all vegetable gardening, it is always smart to find ways to yield a maximum crop with the least amount of effort, time, money, and space.  Growing companion plants in your tomato garden allows you to maximize your yield while repelling insects and pests.  It’s totally a vegetable gardener win-win!

Tomato Garden Companion Plants Repel Pests and Diseases

Many vegetables can be grown alongside tomatoes. Some plants are good neighbor crops. These are easy to grow and harvest between tomato plants because of their spacing and harvesting schedules. Some have a beneficial effect on the tomato plants themselves.

“Good Neighbor” crops are those that can be planted and harvested between the planting, growing, and harvesting time of the tomatoes. They are also good neighbors because they have neighborly qualities by helping each other grow and repel insect pests and diseases. Although the plants my have beneficial qualities, they are still simply plants. Don’t expect a miracle just because you planted two things side by side.

Best Companion Plants for Your Tomato Garden

Tomato Gardening with Asparagus

Some good neighbor plants to keep in mind are the following: Asparagus both benefits and is benefited by tomato plants. Asparagus is ready to harvest by the time tomatoes sprout, and are done producing by the time the tomatoes reach harvest age. Tomatoes also repel the asparagus beetle.

Tomato Gardening with Carrots

Carrots are good planting companions for tomatoes, as they grow small enough to plant in between tomato plants, and they are ready to harvest by the time the tomato plants reach the height of their growth.

Tomato Gardening with Onions

Members of the onion family, such as chives, garlic, and onions, deter insect pests with their pungent odor.

Companion Flowers For Your Tomato Garden

Nasturtiums deter whitefly and aphids, other insect pests. Just as in cooking, basil (flowering herb) helps increase the flavor and vigor of the tomato plants. Marigolds help with their pungent odor, which deters most insect pests, especially the nematode.

Best Companion Plants for Your Tomato Garden

Tomato Gardening with Leafy Greens

Finally, spinach, lettuce and arugula are good neighbor crops because they stay small in between the tomatoes. As the tomatoes grow and the weather gets hotter, they provide shade for their small, shade loving companions.

What Companion Plants Should You Avoid in Your Tomato Garden?

In addition to the good neighbors of tomato gardening, there are also bad neighbor crops that you need to avoid from planting with your tomatoes. These plants are detrimental either to the health of your tomatoes, or for their own sake.

Tomatoes suffer from a common pest, the tomato fruit worm. Corn has a nearly identical pest, the corn ear worm. Growing both corn and tomatoes together increases the probability that you will attract either, or both, of the pests. All members of the cabbage family, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, rutabaga, and kohlrabi, all stunt the growth of tomatoes. Fennel does the same.

Potatoes, eggplant, and red peppers, which are all in the same family as the tomato, are also detrimental to each other. The tomato makes the potato more susceptible to potato blight, as well as the eggplant and red pepper to blight.

Tomatoes have many companion plants, and planting them together can save you time, energy, and money in the garden. On the other hand, be careful to avoid the bad neighbor plants, which can have a detrimental effect on your vegetable garden. Get creative with your gardening and discover new ways of planting these companions together in order to have a happier garden and better yield.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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