Learning how to plant tomatoes in the ground also means that you are aware that there’s this space around them. That’s so much ground that gardeners often fail to utilize. One way to maximize that is intercropping or growing tomato companion plants.
There are a lot of intercropping benefits, but to reap those, you need to learn and understand more about how it works. Here are some intercropping tips you might want to try out, including some notes on what to plant with tomatoes.
How to plant tomatoes in the ground and grow more in less space
Growing tomatoes can be done in many places throughout the year. However, there might be something tomato growers have been missing.
If you’ve noticed you’ve got bare soil around and under your tomatoes, you’re going to find this info very useful. Plant more plants.
Occupy those blank spaces with food, flowers, and herbs that grow well with tomatoes. The list of plants that fit this bill might just be longer than you think.
According to Wikipedia:
“Intercropping is a multiple cropping practice that involves growing two or more crops in proximity. In other words, intercropping is the cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field. The most common goal of intercropping is to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land by making use of resources or ecological processes that would otherwise not be utilized by a single crop.”
With intercropping, you are not just harvesting more but also protecting your plants from pests, harsh weather, and much more.
However, the process should be done with careful planning because instead of success, you might end up destroying your crops.
Choosing the right plants to intercrop with tomatoes
Chemistry is a huge factor when intercropping tomatoes, so you must select the best plants to mix and match.
Intercropped plants must benefit from each other and not the other way around.
According to Permaculture Research Institute (News):
“For example, tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes are all from the nightshade family, so they don’t work well for intercropping. For one, they use similar nutrients. As well, they attract similar pests and are susceptible to similar diseases. Intercropping with things from the same family is asking for nutrient depletion while promoting troublesome insects and illnesses through a lesser version of, though not far off from, mono-cropping.”
Simply, it is a make-it-or-break-it kind of process so you better do your homework before doing it.
What to intercrop with tomatoes
There is actually a lot to mention, but this guy named Luke from MIgardener mentioned a few plants you can mix with tomatoes.
For the outside area surrounding the tomatoes, you can go with beans.
As he mentions, beans do love the sunlight and do not consume much nitrogen from the soil, instead, they give nitrogen back to the soil.
That means they will not interfere with the tomatoes’ growth and will not compete when it comes to soil nutrient absorption.
For the understory of your tomato plants, you can intercrop thyme, sage, oregano, basil, lettuce, radishes, parsnips, carrots, beets, marigolds, and onions.
Once you know how to plant tomatoes in the ground and know what to grow with tomatoes, you will soon find a luscious garden filled with vegetables and herbs. Just imagine all the pantry staples ready for you when you need them.
Source: MIgardener, Permaculture Research Institute, Wikipedia