I am Beefmaster, and it takes me 80 days from transplant to set my giant 1+ lb. fruit. Please surround me only with friends!

I am mighty Beefmaster, and it takes me 80 days from transplant to produce my giant fruit. Please surround me only with friends!

Last time we identified great companion plants for your tomato patch. Now we’d like to mention a few types of plants that, while they might not actually have a vendetta against your tomatoes, certainly won’t do them any good.

Though there may be many reasons to separate two particular types of plants in the garden, two stand out when it comes to tomatoes:

  • The plants are competing for nutrients and other resources.
  • The plants attract the same pests or diseases.

Here are some plants generally considered to be unfriendly in the tomato patch:

You say, "tomato," I say, "potato." Let's call the whole thing off!

You say, “tomato,” I say, “potato.” Let’s call the whole thing off!

Corn

Both corn and tomatoes attract the same predatory worm, so when they are placed together, your crops can become a feast for undesirables.

Potato

Like corn, the potato shares a potential problem with tomatoes. In this case, it’s both early and late blight — a disease to which both potato and tomato are very prone. Keep them apart to prevent blight from getting a foothold in your garden.

They don't call me Megaton for nothing. I will grow to be as big as a bowling ball, gobbling soil nutrients every step of the way!

They don’t call me Megaton for nothing. I will grow as big and heavy as a bowling ball, gobbling soil nutrients every step of the way!

The Brassica Family

Many gardeners report that their cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and/or kohlrabi do just fine near tomatoes, but the conventional wisdom is that this family — the Brassicas — should be grown apart from tomatoes. Seeral reasons are given for this: Brassicas share a tendency toward the same fungal diseases as tomatoes, so it is unwise to concentrate them all in one place. Also, the Brassicas are heavy feeders, and may compete with your tomatoes for resources.

Rosemary

More evidence of the Brassica family’s incompatibility with tomatoes: rosemary grows beautifully with cabbage, broccoli, and all the rest, but is not a friend to tomatoes.

That's okay -- I like my soil a bit drier than you tomatoes do, anyway!

That’s okay — I like my soil a bit drier than you tomatoes do, anyway!

Fennel

Many herbs make splendid companions to tomatoes, but fennel has been found to inhibit its growth. Grow this beautiful licorice-scented plant elsewhere in the sunny garden.

Black Walnut Tree

You probably had no intention of planting your tomatoes around a walnut tree, but just to be safe, we thought we’d mention it: Black Walnut releases a soil-borne chemical that really hampers the growth of tomato plants.

By the time I'm flowering like this, I'm doing you no good.

By the time I’m flowering, I’m up to no good.

Frenemies

These are plants that, when planted beside tomatoes, can do both harm and good.

Dill

Young dill plants are fine friends to tomatoes, but when they grow up, they can stunt their neighbors’ growth. Rather than worry about them “turning” on their old friends, best to just put them elsewhere.

I will still have the fiery color responsible for my name of Atomic Red, but I may be a bit shorter than expected.

My name will still be Atomic Red, but when planted with tomatoes, my size may suffer!

Carrot

Yes, carrot! We have all heard that carrots love tomatoes, but do tomatoes really love them back? Tomato plants can stunt the growth of the carrot root, although it won’t affect the flavor. So the choice is yours: they are good pest-fighting friends together, but your carrots may not reach their full size potential when grown with tomatoes.

 

 

About Sappho Charney

Sappho Charney is a garden writer living in Lubbock, Texas.

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