By Vanessa Richins
Companion planting is the art of placing certain plants next to others.
These combinations offer benefits to one or both plants.
One such pairing is the herb Borage with our lovely tomatoes. Borage is an annual, edible herb with lovely blue star-shaped flowers. The leaves can be used in salads. It improves tomato plant health and even makes them taste better. Borage also repels the tomato hornworm, the bane of many a tomato grower.
Another pairing is young dill and tomatoes. Young dill also improves the health and growth of tomato plants. Be sure to remove the dill before it is mature, as then it will actually have the opposite effect and stunt tomato growth.
Basil is not just great in tomato sauce. The plant is also able to ward off spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies. You will have better pollination results, as it attracts bees.
Try planting any member of the Umbilliferae family near your tomatoes. Members are, among others : parsnip, carrots, Queen Anne’s Lace, and parsley. These plants attract hoverflies, which go after many tomato pests.
You can drive away aphids and Green Shield beetles by planting nasturtiums with your tomatoes. It can also ward off fungal diseases. As an added bonus, the flowers are edible and add a peppery flavor to any salad.
A famous pair is tomatoes and French marigolds. The marigolds repel whiteflies and nematodes.
Other beneficial plants include: lavender, garlic, asparagus, thyme, foxglove, and lemon balm.
Now you know some of the plants that will help make this year’s tomato crop the best ever. In the second installment, I will show you what plants you DON’T want to plant next to your tomatoes.