If tomatoes and cucumbers are among your favorite veggies you might be thinking about planting them in your garden this year. As you plan out your garden and do research you might wonder if you can plant tomatoes and cucumber next to each other.
Tomatoes and cucumbers can be planted near each other, as both have similar soil types and drainage needs and both will reach maturity at similar times. As a downside, both cucumbers and tomatoes have shared diseases including root rot, and cucumber mosaic rot. Cucumbers and tomatoes are compatible plants when you are looking at space in your garden, but there are also some disadvantages to planting them together.
Continue reading to learn more about planting your tomatoes and cucumbers together and about companion planting in your garden.
Can I Plant Tomatoes And Cucumbers Next To Each Other?
Tomatoes and cucumbers are popular choices for gardeners just starting out. They are commonly used in summer dishes and if well cared for, will produce a large crop for the gardener.
Whether you are trying to save space in your garden or are taking a closer look at companion planting, you might look at planting your tomatoes and cucumbers next to each other.
These plants do like a lot of the same things, like a consistent supply of water to develop their fruit. The soil pH for both plants should be between 5.8 and 6.5. Additionally, the both require soil with good drainage.
Cucumbers can also be beneficial to tomatoes when they are allowed to grow freely on the ground. Cucumbers and tomatoes can both sprawl out and require a fair amount of space.
When cucumbers are allowed to freely crawl out on the ground, rather than climbing a fence or trellis, their leaves block out weeds coming up in between tomato plants.
This helps reduce the amount of time you have to spend weeding and with fewer weeds, your plants have less chance of being choked.
Why Should You Not Plant Cucumbers Near Tomatoes?
While it makes sense in many ways to plant cucumbers and tomatoes together, the pairing isn’t completely perfect. Cucumbers and tomatoes share a few diseases that can be devastating when passed between them.
When the two are planted so close together, they could wipe out both your cucumber and tomato plants at one time, but if they are planted in different sides of the garden, you won’t face the same loss.
Some of these diseases include cucumber mosaic virus and root rot, or Phytophthora blight, to name a few.
To prevent infection year to year, crop rotation should be implemented. This means not having the same plants in the same location year after year. There are many benefits to crop rotation and reducing disease is just one.
What Is Companion Planting?
We have talked a little about something called companion planting, but you might not be sure what exactly this practice is. Companion planting simply means a gardener puts two or more plants species in the same area in order for the plants to benefit each other.
The benefits might be seen in the growth of the plant, or an improved flavor of the harvest. Other benefits help with pest and disease control. Some plants may also invite good insects you need in the garden. These insects are often crucial to pollinate plants.
Think of it like having a friend that helps you out in a jam. You and your friend, or companion, can be better together than you are apart. They might protect you or help you become a better person.
Aside from plants having friends, or plants they like to be around, they also have foes or in this case a list of plants they don’t get along with. Some gardeners think of it as one plant bullying another. Bad companions may grow too quickly, crowding and blocking out their neighbors.
They will take in all the available nutrients, water and sun, leaving other plants without. In some cases a plant will also give off toxins that may stunt or kill other plants.
When you are planning out a garden, it is really important to employ companion planting not only to increase the overall health of your garden but to also reduce the spread of disease and pests. You want to make sure you are planting friends not foes around your plants.
Benefits of Companion Planting
As we discussed above, companion planting is done in an effort for one plant to help another just by being planted together. Some plants will grow stronger and better.
The fruits or vegetables they produce will often taste better. As an added benefit, companion planting also helps control diseases from spreading throughout your garden, and prevents or reduce pests from ruining your crop. But as we know, not all bugs are bad in gardens and sometimes certain plants bring the insects you need to their garden companions to help with pollination.
Companion planting isn’t limited to just vegetable plants being planted together. The practice might see an herb or flower planted near a vegetable. As an example marigolds are often placed in the same bed as potatoes in an effort to discourage Colorado potato beetles.
Garlic bulbs planted among tomato plants help to protect the tomatoes from red spider mites. Some herbs like rosemary and sage repel carrot flies when planted near a carrot patch.
Corn benefits from being near vegetables that fix nitrogen in the soil. Many gardeners will plant green beans near their corn for this reason.
Some plants will also help reduce the growth of weeds. Cucumbers, when not staked and trained to climb, will spread on the ground blocking out other weeds that may choke the plants you actually want to grow.
In reverse, some plants should not be planted near each other as they do more harm than good. In some cases the harm is minimal, like with dill altering the taste of cucumbers if they are too close.
Other times, the harm can be great with some plants killing others near them. Be sure to fully explore what plants should grow next to each other and the benefits of companion planting will be great.
What Is A Good Companion Plant For Tomatoes?
If tomatoes are your main priority in the garden, there are several options when it comes to finding good companion plants for your tomatoes. Companion plants will help your tomatoes or will be helped by near them.
Roses for example may not give your tomato any direct benefit, but they will be benefitted. Tomatoes protect rose plants from getting blackspot, a fungus that can over time weaken the plant and make susceptible to winter damage and other disease.
Basil is one of the best options when it comes to selecting a companion plant for tomatoes. This herb improves the growth of the plant and the flavor of the tomatoes you pick. It also repels flies and mosquitos. Other herbs like bee balm, chives, and mint will similarly help with the growth and flavor of the tomato.
Asparagus and tomatoes are a great combination helping each other by their proximity. Tomatoes will ward off asparagus beetles and asparagus repels nematodes that can attack your tomatoes.
Another way to deter nematodes, along with tomato worms and garden pests, including rabbits, is the use of marigolds in the garden. Marigolds are a great companion to tomatoes. Plant marigolds on the edge of your tomato patch to help ward of rabbits. They don’t like the taste of these flowers.
Try these plants as companions for your tomatoes:
What Not To Plant With Tomatoes
Tomatoes don’t get along with every plant. There are some plants that will harm tomatoes or be harmed by being in close proximity to your tomatoes. Whether the issue is being susceptible to the same pests, or disease or other plants stunt the tomato’s growth, there are a few plants you need to keep far away if you want your tomatoes to live up to their full potential.
One such plant you should keep away from tomatoes would be corn. Both are susceptible to corn earworms. Giving them space will minimize the spread. When it comes to disease, potatoes and tomatoes are both at risk of being attacked by blight. By putting some distance between the two, you will guarantee one crop is not lost if the other gets the blight.
The herb dill is another example of plants that should not be grown near tomatoes. Once dill is mature it retards the growth of tomato plants.
Other plants that should not be planted with tomatoes include:
- Cole Crops (vegetables in the mustard family like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, and kale)
A well organized and cared for garden will produce an abundant crop. Companion planting is a great way to help your plants as sowing them near their friends will benefit them in growth, flavor and disease and pest control. Adversely, plants that don’t do well together will only hurt each other and the overall health of your plants will diminish.
Tomatoes and cucumbers do benefit in some ways from growing together and can be planted next to one another. There are better options when it comes to companion planting for these two plants.