What To Plant With Tomatoes ~ Companion Planting

heirloom tomatoes, companion planting with carrots, onions, borage, and peppers

When you set a tomato plant in the dirt, gently tamp down the soil around its roots, and water it in, you expect to get a bumper crop of juicy, delicious red fruits. In her classic book on companion planting, Louise Riotte has taught generations of gardeners how to use the natural benefits of plants to protect and support each other.

heirloom tomato, Mortgage Lifter, sweet, spicy, and rich taste.

For a gardener, Carrots Love Tomatoes is so much fun to read. I have read it several times and always learn something new.

Louise Riotte, Carrots Love Tomatoes, book on companion planting

Here are some sound (tried and true) tips on what to plant near your tomatoes for better a crop and less pests all around:

Chives, Onions, and Garlic~ Members of the onion family are beneficial to plant with many types of crops due to the pungent odor they emit. This helps deter many insect pests.

Peppers (sweet and hot) are in the same family (nightshade) as tomatoes and are compatible.

Borage helps deter tomato hornworm.

Marigold help deter harmful nematodes from attacking tomatoes. The pungent odor can also help confuse other insect pests. To deter nematodes, the best practice is to grow the marigolds, then chop and till them into the soil at the end of the season.

Nasturtium help deter white fly and aphids.

Carrots work well with tomatoes because they share space well. The carrots can be planted when the tomatoes are still quite small, and can be happily growing and ready to harvest by the time the tomato plants start to take over the space.

Basil: Growing tomatoes and basil together increases the vigor and flavor of both crops.

Spinach, Lettuce, Arugula: These are also helpful crops for tomatoes. They stay fairly small, and will grow better in the heat of summer when shaded by the growing tomato plants. Although I have not read it anywhere until recently, I always have had good success planting lettuce (Romaine, particularly) in the shade at the side of tomatoes as seen below. Both seem to benefit nicely.

What Not to Plant with Tomatoes:

The following crops should not be planted with tomatoes:

  • Brassicas: Tomatoes and all members of the brassicas family repel each other and will exhibit poor growth when planted together. This includes broccoli and cabbages.
  • Corn: Tomato fruit worm and corn ear worm are nearly identical, and planting these two crops together increases the possibility that you will attract one (or both) of these pests.
  • Fennel: Fennel inhibits the growth of tomatoes (and many other things, too).
  • Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi inhibits the growth of tomatoes.
  • Potatoes: Planting tomatoes and potatoes together makes potatoes more susceptible to potato blight.

Plant in same place or a new place?? Wilt disease and blossom end rot?? Smokers warning.

On page 26 of Mrs. Riotte’s book, it says,”Unlike most other vegetables, tomatoes prefer to grow in the same place year after year. This is all right unless you have a disease problem, in which case plant in a new area. Since they are heavy feeders, give them ample quantities of compost or decomposed manure. Mulch and water in dry weather to maintain soil moisture and stave off wilt disease and blossom end rot. But never water tomatoes from the top. Water from below and water deeply. If you smoke,wash your hands thoroughly since tomatoes are susceptible to diseases transmitted through tobacco.”

This is a page from the book that gave me lots of ideas for approximately how far to space things that were and were not compatible. Such a wonderful potager (garden); I can just imagine walking through it in my mind :-)

A Model Companion Garden, Louise Riotte, book Carrots Love TomatoesAnd Lastly, here is a snippet of other tomato facts:

tomato growing facts, Louise Riotte, Carrots Love Tomatoes book

There are so many wonderful heirloom varieties to try and a taste to suit every palate. I hope you find this helpful in growing the best tomatoes ever. And every year you will get better and better at it. Have fun as a family and grow your own tomatoes. Store-bought can never compare to one you grow yourself!

farmer's market, tomato varieties(Source)


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~ Jacqueline

This entry was posted in Companion planting, Garden, Herbs, Nature, Outdoor Living, Preparedness, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to What To Plant With Tomatoes ~ Companion Planting

  1. I’ve also read that there are things that won’t even grow in the same soil you have had tomatoes growing in for up to 3 years after they are no longer growing there. One being strawberries, too bad I read that AFTER trying.
    I have radish and carrot going with mine right now. But I may move some other stuff into the beds after reading this!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Sara, That is really interesting…I have my strawberry 4′ x8′ right next to my tomato box…makes me wonder b/c the strawberries (an everbearing) is just not as nice as I thought they’d be and slightly mushy. Hmmm…
      Blessings to you!

  2. I have spare carrot tape I didn’t know where to plant – going to set that out between my tomatoes. I also heard that peppers are good next to tomatoes.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Yes, they are. I forgot to mention them (I may just go into the post to add that 😉 they are both nightshades and do well together !

      I am so glad about the carrots…perfect place for the tapes :)

  3. I have enjoyed reading your blog! I am a newbie, and I will be sure to come back and read more. I wonder if you would mind sharing where you get your beautiful Victorian pictures?

    Thank you for your inspiring thoughts!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hello! Thank you so much for your encouraging words.
      For lovely artwork, I just search google for Daniel Ridgway Knight, Bouguereau, or English painters…search around…careful on Bouguereau, though. He paints nudes, as well.

  4. LindaG says:

    I knew about basil, and read about marigolds somewhere earlier this year.
    Did NOT know about potatoes. Perhaps that is why my volunteer plants started dying off…

    I have an old copy of that book that I hope I can find once we get to our retirement property. Not sure which box I packed it in. Pretty sure I did not donate it to the library…

    Don’t forget you can plant beans or peas with your corn, too. The ‘three sisters’ of veggies. :o)

    • Jacqueline says:

      Yes, the ‘three sisters’ method stood the Pilgrims in good stead. I have found that raccoons don’t like to get tangled and won’t generally go into the thicket. Thanks for the reminder.
      I hope you can find your book :)

  5. MIRIAM LUIZA says:

    Tomates faz muito bem à saúde, e deixa o prato colorido e apetitoso. Colhê-los antes de consumir é muito melhor! Seu blog está muito informativo e útil. Abraços!

    Tomatoes do well for health, and makes the dish colorful and appetizing. Your blog is very informative and useful. Hugs!

  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much for this post, Jacqueline! We’re growing tomatoes for the first time ever this year and need all the help and advice we can get! My starts are doing well and we have a new raised bed ready for them. I’ll be sure to plant my carrots all around them. :) We’re following “Square Foot Gardening” as much as is possible this year with our garden layout to maximize our small garden and get the most from it; this companion gardening thing is something we must look into!


    Lisa @ HappyinDoleValley :)

    • Jacqueline says:

      Lisa, I forgot to add that peppers are perfect companions to tomatoes…don’t know why I didn’t add that…going to do it now!! Blessings!

  7. Thanks for sharing–that sounds like a great read–we have toyed around with different companion plantings–I always plant marigolds around my garden edges to keep pests away.

  8. Crystal says:

    I just started reading your blog a couple weeks ago and I am enjoying it so much! In the picture above of the book alongside some seedlings, are those homemade newspaper pots you have your plants growing in? Do you have a post somewhere about how you make those? I have used peat pots before but found that the plant roots had a hard time penetrating through when I put the whole pot in the ground. Newspaper seems like such a great idea!

  9. Pattu says:

    This is visual treat . It also is encouraging me to plan my terrace garden in a better way for next year. Thanks a lot.

  10. Cherry says:

    Coming by for my first visit here on your blog! Looks like a fun and encouraging place! Enjoyed reading of the companion planting ideas. We’re really enjoying having a veggie garden again this summer, after a break of a number of years.

  11. Jacqueline…I didn’t know tomatoes do better by one veggie than another. I always learn something when I come to by to visit. Thank you for your wisdom, friend, and for always sharing at WJIM.

  12. Amy says:

    I know some plants should not be planted in the same soil year after year…is that not the case with tomatoes? I’m wondering this because of the marigold suggestion. If you till it into the ground at the end of the season, you’d have tomatoes growing the same spot two years in a row, right? (I’m new at this, please forgive my ignorance =)

    • Jacqueline says:

      I got out Mrs. Riotte’s book again (I do this often), and I looked to verify and clarify. I went into the draft of the post and typed in the paragraph where she speaks to the practice of planting in the same place. We have planted in the same place for 3 years and have not had problems, but we use borage and chives in the same boxes. We just put the cages on yesterday …if we waited a day longer it would have broken the branches! They are getting so big! You are NOT ignorant; there is not a dumb question :) Blessings!

      • Amy says:

        Thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for =) I’m so excited to give this all a try! I’ll make sure to plant some chives or onions (etc.) along with tomatoes next spring. Thanks again for taking the time to answer!

  13. Chris says:

    Very helpful, keep posting such great, informative tid bits. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading of this posting. I will be checkin in from time to time.

    Take care,
    Eastern NC

  14. Chris says:

    just a comment so that i could include the appropriate associated link with my profile picture – sorry about the prior post that includes a link to a site that is not associated with gardening. It’s called being a blog owner of a wide array of topics. (laughing)

    Majestic Adventures in Backyard Homesteading

    take care, Chris

  15. Penny Lane says:

    By a streak of pretty dumb luck, I think we did really good on this. We’ve got basil, garlic, and the only one I knew was a good idea, marigolds, near our tomatoes. I’ll have to try the carrots idea next year! Thanks for sharing, I’ve got so much to learn about gardening!

  16. Eve says:

    Hi there.

    Just came across your blog whilst looking for some info on sweet potatoes…..so glad I found you. Great blog with really informative information. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.


  17. Monty says:

    When you say corn and tomatoes should not be planted together, just how far apart do you advise? I do a lot of square foot gardening, and tomatoes and corn are about the only two crops I do not plant in raised beds. This spring, I’d like to plant my tomatoes along the border of a 10×25 rectangle with corn in the middle. I was thinking of growing from straw bales zucchini and mellows, then some pole beans, bush beans, between the two. Am I on the right track?

    • Jacqueline says:

      Yes, and I think that is a wonderful plan, Monty. From my reading that should be far enough apart. I just went to the photo from the book by Louise R. in the post, and her corn and tomatoes are about that far apart, so you should be good to go! Hope you have marvelous crops!

  18. Jeff Bushman says:

    Found your blog after searching for companion planting ideas. Very nice. This year I am trying it out in my raised tomato beds. Going with bunching onions, chives, basil, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, radishes, carrots and then some annuals like marigolds and petunias. I’ll keep the tomatoes pruned up high for space underneath. Should be fun I hope

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