Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes

Vego Garden
Vego Garden

Planting companion crops under tomatoes in an organic garden can provide several benefits. 

This technique works especially well if you are training your tomatoes up a trellis and pruning the lower branches. This will provide more light and airflow to the crop below.

Benefits of planting companion crops under tomatoes:

  • Living mulch: We recently discussed the importance of keeping the soil covered with mulch. Did you know you can plant a living mulch? That’s right, you can use living plants as a mulch if they’re planted densely enough to cover the soil.
  • Pest control: Certain plants help repel or distract pests that commonly affect tomatoes, reducing the risk of infestations.
  • Disease prevention: Some companion plants have natural properties that help prevent or suppress diseases that may affect tomatoes.
  • Enhanced pollination: Flowers from companion plants attract pollinators, increasing the chances of successful tomato pollination.
  • Improved soil health: Companion plants can enhance soil fertility, nutrient availability, and overall soil structure.
  • Efficient space utilization: Growing complementary plants under tomatoes maximizes the use of garden space and promotes overall garden diversity.

Options for companion planting under tomatoes:

  • Alyssum: A low growing, flowering, fragrant living mulch. Attracts pollinators and predatory wasps that go after caterpillar pests like hornworms!
    Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes | Vego Garden
  • Clover: White or red clovers fix nitrogen in the soil, act as a living mulch and attract pollinators.
    Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes | Vego Garden
  • Basil: Repels tomato hornworms and whiteflies while enhancing the flavor of tomatoes.
    Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes | Vego Garden
  • Marigold: Known for deterring nematodes and repelling aphids and other harmful insects.
    Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes | Vego Garden
  • Nasturtium: Acts as a natural trap crop, attracting aphids and other pests away from tomatoes.
    Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes | Vego Garden
  • Borage: Attracts bees for enhanced pollination, and its flowers repel tomato hornworms.
  • Garlic: Acts as a natural pesticide, deterring various insects and pests.
  • Chives: Repel aphids and deter fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew.
    Best Plants to Grow Under Tomatoes | Vego Garden
  • Calendula: Attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs, which help control pests.
  • Carrots: Their roots help break up soil and improve soil structure, benefiting tomato plants.
  • Radishes and other root vegetables: They repel pests and help loosen compacted soil, allowing better root development for tomatoes.
  • Lettuce and other greens: Provides shade to tomato roots, conserves moisture, and prevents weed growth.

Remember, these companion plants should be chosen based on your specific climate, local conditions, and the pests or diseases prevalent in your area.

This list is by no means exhaustive. You can grow a number of different vegetables, herbs and  cover crops under tomatoes, so be sure to experiment and get creative! 

There are a few crops that would not be recommended to grow under tomatoes:

  • Other Solanaceae family plants.
  • Heavy feeders like broccoli, cauliflower, corn or cabbage which could compete with the tomatoes.
  • Tall crops like corn or okra.
  • Fennel. Fennel is said to inhibit the growth of nightshade plants, including tomatoes. It produces chemical compounds that can negatively affect the growth and development of nearby plants.

Let us know in the comments what you like to grow under your tomatoes!


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