Foes in the Garden: Don't Plant These Next to Tomatoes

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Foes in the Garden: Don't Plant These Next to Tomatoes

Tips for Tomato Growing Harmony - Don't Plant These Next to Tomatoes

There are certainly plants that should be grown together, known as companion plants. They help each other thrive by either protecting each other or providing a need of its partner plant. However, just as there are good partners in your garden, there are also bad partners. 

After spending the time and effort to start tomato seeds and other longer growing vegetables indoors, it would be a shame to sabotage those efforts just by planting them next to the wrong plants.

The problem can be as simple as placing two heavy feeders next to each other. There is only so much nutritional value to the soil you are planting in. If two plants that need a lot of nutrients to thrive are planted together, there may not be enough for both. 

The other problem you can run into is disease and pest resistance. Every plant has a weakness — whether it is the favorite food of a certain pest insect or it is susceptible to a certain disease. Placing plants with similar weaknesses next to each other will make both more vulnerable. Tomatoes are no exception to this rule.

What Not to Plant with Tomatoes

There are plenty of garden plants and vegetables that will grow just fine in the proximity of your tomato plants.  That said, there are some plants you should avoid placing near your tomatoes in the garden, including:

1. Dill — Dill and tomatoes are often considered good companion partners. Dill seems to encourage tomato growth and dill also repels aphids. However, many gardeners feel that mature dill plants have the opposite effect on tomatoes and inhibit growth in their tomatoes. You’ll have to make a decision if the benefits outweigh the negatives, or plant them in different parts of the garden.

2. Carrots — This is another plant that brings plenty of great benefits for the tomato, but may not be so good for the carrot. Carrots repel some of the pests that attack tomatoes; however, the carrot’s growth may be affected by the tomato and the result could be stunted carrots.

3. Potatoes — Potatoes and tomatoes are both prone to the diseases of early and late blight. If planted next to each other, when one is infected, it is very likely to infect the other and you will lose both crops. Keep them separate to minimize the damage should one of your crops be unfortunately infected.

4. Eggplant — Eggplant and tomatoes are both susceptible to early and late blight. Just like the potatoes, keep eggplant in a different part of the garden to minimize the damage.

5. Fennel — Fennel is said to reduce plant growth in most vegetables that it is planted near, including tomatoes. Some gardeners confine fennels in a pot to completely prevent its negative effect on other vegetables.

6. Corn — Corn and tomatoes both have a common enemy, the corn earworm, also known as the tomato fruit worm. These worms grow from eggs laid by a moth and start eating the ear of corn or they will tunnel into your tomato and eat the fruit from the inside out.

If you plant corn and or any other tomato variety next to each other, the result could be a feast for the worms and a disaster for the gardener.

7. Walnuts — While you probably would not place a garden by a walnut tree, it is important to know that these trees release a chemical that will stunt the growth of many plants, especially tomatoes. The walnuts drop from the tree encased in a green husk that will open to release the hard-shelled nut. Never put any part of the black walnuts, including the husks, in your compost.

8. Brassicas — It has long been passed down to gardeners that you never plant tomatoes next to brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale or kohlrabi). The brassicas, such as delicious cauliflower, are known heavy feeders, even more so than tomatoes, and will use up more than their fair share of the soil nutrients. The result will be stunted tomato plants and could even result in no fruit.

As you can see, it is a simple matter to plan your garden to avoid placing these not so friendly plants apart from each other. Giving your plants the best chance for a healthy life will result in strong and productive crops for you and your family to enjoy.