Companion planting is a gardening technique that combines plants with complementary needs so they can help each other grow. By planting basil and tomatoes together, you can take advantage of their complementary needs and get a healthy harvest from your garden.
Basil repels tomato pests like aphids and spider mites, while tomatoes provide nitrogen to basil plants.
What Is Companion Planting?
The term “companion planting” refers to the practice of growing two or more different types of plants together in close proximity. Companion planting has a long history dating back to ancient times, when farmers and gardeners first began to realize that certain plant combinations could positively affect each other.
For example, they may have noticed that when beans were planted next to corn, the beans climbed up the corn stalks and benefited from the extra height. Or, they may have observed that certain plants seemed to repel pests or attract pollinators naturally. So, over time, they began to experiment with different plant combinations to see what would work best in their gardens.
Today, many growers still practice companion planting, both small-scale and commercial. While the practice has evolved somewhat since its early days, the basic principle remains to take advantage of the beneficial relationships between different plants.
What Are Basil and Tomatoes?
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an annual herb in the mint family. It’s native to India and other tropical regions, but it’s now grown worldwide. Basil is a popular culinary herb used for its flavorful leaves. It’s also used medicinally for various purposes, such as treating indigestion and inflammation.
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are a fruit in the nightshade family. They’re native to South America but now grow worldwide. Tomatoes are a popular food, eaten fresh or used in cooking. They’re also used in various industrial products, such as ketchup and tomato paste.
Basil and tomatoes are two plants that are often grown together because they have complementary needs. For example, basil repels tomato pests like aphids and spider mites, while tomatoes provide nitrogen to basil plants.
The Benefits of Companion Planting Basil and Tomatoes
Basil and tomatoes are classic examples of companion planting. The two plants have a symbiotic relationship in which each plant benefits from being near the other.
Basil is known to repel pests like aphids and spider mites, making it an ideal plant to grow next to tomatoes. These pests can wreak havoc on a tomato crop, so having a Basil plant nearby can help keep them at bay.
In return, tomatoes provide nitrogen to basil plants. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, helping them to grow and thrive. Growing basil and tomatoes together allows you to take advantage of their complementary needs and get a healthy harvest from your garden.
How to Grow Basil and Tomatoes Together
When growing basil and tomatoes together, choosing a spot in your garden that gets full sun is important. Both of these plants need plenty of sunlight to produce a bountiful crop.
It’s also important to plant them at the correct time of year. For example, basil is a warm-season crop, meaning it should be planted after the last frost date in spring. On the other hand, Tomatoes are a cool-season crop and should be planted before the last frost date in spring.
To plant basil and tomatoes together, simply sow the seeds in well-draining soil about 12 inches apart. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them out so that there is one plant every 18 inches.
Water your plants regularly, making sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and control weeds.
As your plants grow, you may need to provide support for the tomatoes. For example, they can be trained to grow up on a trellis or cage next to the basil plants.
With a little care and attention, you can easily grow basil and tomatoes together and enjoy a healthy harvest from your garden.
Harvesting Tips for Both Basil and Tomatoes
When it comes to harvesting, both basil and tomatoes are relatively easy to take care of. For basil, you can begin harvesting the leaves once the plant is about 6 inches tall. Then, simply cut the leaves off at the stem, being careful not to damage the plant.
You can continue to harvest basil leaves throughout the growing season. In fact, regular harvesting will encourage the plant to produce even more leaves.
When harvesting tomatoes, wait until they’re fully ripe before picking them from the vine. Depending on the variety, this usually takes about 2-3 months after planting. Then, gently twist the fruit from the stem to harvest and enjoy!
Storing Basil and Tomatoes
Once you’ve harvested your crop of basil and tomatoes, it’s important to store them properly to enjoy their fresh flavor for as long as possible.
You can store the leaves in a glass jar filled with water for basil. Then, simply put the jar in the fridge and change the water every few days. The leaves will stay fresh for up to two weeks this way.
Tomatoes can be stored on the countertop at room temperature or in the fridge. If you put them in the fridge, make sure to take them out about an hour before you plan to eat them so they can reach room temperature. This will help preserve their flavor.
When it comes to storing basil and tomatoes, there are a few different options. You can store them in a glass jar filled with water, on the countertop at room temperature, or in the fridge.
If you store them in the fridge, make sure to take them out about an hour before you plan to eat them so they can reach room temperature. This will help preserve their flavor.
No matter how you store them, basil and tomatoes will stay fresh for 1-2 weeks. After that, they’re still perfectly safe to eat but may not be as flavorful as when they were first harvested.
Tips for Success on How to Care for Basil and Tomatoes
Basil and tomatoes are two of the most popular plants to grow in home gardens. And, when grown together, they can provide a bountiful harvest of fresh produce.
Here are a few tips for success in how to care for basil and tomatoes:
- Choose a spot in your garden that gets full sun. Both of these plants need plenty of sunlight to produce a bountiful crop.
- Plant them at the correct time of year. For example, basil is a warm-season crop, meaning it should be planted after the last frost date in spring. On the other hand, Tomatoes are a cool-season crop and should be planted before the last frost date in spring.
- Sow the seeds in well-draining soil and thin the seedlings once they’ve emerged.
- Water regularly, being careful not to overwater.
- Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and control weeds.
- Harvest regularly to encourage the plant to produce even more leaves or fruit.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to success in growing basil and tomatoes together. And, you’ll enjoy a delicious harvest of fresh produce all season long!