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Ask a Gardener - Tomato and Basil

April 4, 2014


Question: I see tags on some tomato plants that say, "plant with basil," does that mean plant in the same hole, within 6", or just the general area? Also just what good does it do? -Ed

Basil is a great partner for tomatoes.  It not only enhances the flavor of tomatoes, it also repels aphids, whiteflies, hornworms, mosquitoes and other insects.  The art of planting different plants together for their mutual benefit is called companion planting. By planting complimentary plants next to each other, you can intensify the flavor of vegetables, enrich the soil, attract beneficial insects and repel pests. Just plant basil next to your tomatoes (6 inches to 12 inches) in the same garden or container to see the results.  And try some of these other companion plants, too!  

  • Onion repels cabbage butterflies and helps all members of the cabbage family.  

  • Chives are good companions for tomatoes and fruit trees  

  • Garlic helps repel fruit borers  

  • Chrysanthemums help protect strawberries  

  • Japanese beetles can be lured by marigold, evening primrose, four-o'clock and woodbine  

  • Garlic also helps deters Japanese Beetles  

  • Marigolds discourage nematodes from attacking potatoes, strawberries, roses and bulbs

  • Nasturtiums help keep away squash bugs and benefit potatoes, radishes, cucumbers and cabbages  

  • Hot peppers can discourage insect pests  

  • Marigolds promote growth keep insects away.  

  • Radishes attract leaf miners away from spinach.  

  • Nectar from dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and other predators can help to protect cauliflower from cabbageworms  

  • Dill protects all members of the cabbage family by attracting wasps that kill cabbageworms

  • Rosemary protects cabbage, beans and carrots


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