If you are wondering should you plant tomato with basil, the answer is yes. Basil is a herb that you can eat and it comes in many different varieties and is grown in tropical regions from Africa to Asia. It gets used a lot, especially in Italian cooking. When grown with tomatoes it is known as companion planting.
Basil not only repels harmful insects but attracts useful insects like butterflies into your garden and it is a good idea to plant your tomatoes and basil together.
This is because basil repels flies, mosquitos, and aphids, making it a natural pest control and means that you don’t have to spray your plants with harmful insecticides. You will be eating your tomatoes quite soon, and not having to spray them for pests is the best outcome for the health of your family.
How to Plant Your Tomatoes and Basil
You will be placing your tomatoes and basil together because the tomato is very vulnerable to pests. According to the University of Arizona’s Moses Thompson who coordinates the college’s community school garden, basil actually improves the flavor of tomatoes when the two are planted together.
Companion planting works by confusing pests with competing fragrances present in your vegetable garden. You can either plant one row of tomatoes and one row of basil, or you can alternate the plants.
Your Basil is an upright annual herb, aromatic and green with oval soft leaves growing to about 60 cm. In late Summer white flowers appear, it grows quite quickly and you can keep picking and using it up until late Autumn when it dies back. Plant out your seeds in late Spring as this is a plant that does not tolerate cold weather.
The plant prefers full sun and moist soil, plant with your tomatoes in the most sheltered position in your garden, as neither plant tolerates wind. The top flowers should be pinched out of your basil to encourage it to become bushier and supply you with plenty of fresh basil. In colder climates the season is short, and it is better to buy new seeds every year.
Planting Your Basil and Tomatoes in Rows
To achieve the best companion planting results, plant your tomatoes in rows with the sweet basil in between. The two plants thrive in the same conditions. The only warning is, not to use too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer, or you will end up with bushy green tomatoes and no fruit.
Your tomatoes will grow quite tall, so you will need some stakes to stop them from falling over. Many gardeners say that planting basil and tomatoes together results in larger tastier tomatoes full of flavor. If you have a warm, sunny Summer, your tomatoes will ripen earlier and be much sweeter, as they need the sun to grow, ( about 6 hours per day).
If you live in an area with a short growing season, select a fast-growing tomato to plant with your basil.
Basil won’t grow until the soil has warmed through to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, basil also needs good sunlight.
If you have your tomatoes and basil growing together in pots or planters don’t allow them to dry out.
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Establishing Basil and Tomato Plants
Once your plants are in the earth, give them a shot of fish emulsion, to get them growing, then no further fish emulsion as it is too nitrogen-rich.
High potash tomato feed can be used during mid Summer to toughen up your basil, as this will help it to withstand hot dry days. It is probably best not to add any other fertilizer, especially in rich soil.
If your plants are in pots feed every 4-6 weeks with a weak water-soluble fertilizer. Following fertilizing water your plant deeply.
If your plants become withered or distorted, this can be caused by a virus. Don’t prune your tomato with bare hands, as this can spread the problem.
Totally remove the plant and put it in the rubbish bin, basil plants should remain unaffected.
Can you Grow Tomatoes and Basil in a Suburban Garden?
The best space is about 1-2 feet apart with 2-3 feet between each row. So not too much room is required, and you will need a support structure around your tomato plants, to enable them to grow up their stakes. If you have a sunny wall or fence in your garden, put the tomato plants against the wall, with the basil in front of it.
Being against a heat-retaining wall will lengthen your tomato, basil growing season by a few weeks. Bigger tomatoes have larger roots, so in the home, garden try to stick with smaller plants, as you will still get a good harvest from a small plant.
Basil is believed to have originated in India, and it has been cultivated for the last 5,000 years, and some records of basil go back to 807 AD.
If you use basil in cooking there is Thai basil and lemon basil both popular in Asian cooking and culture. Basil was also used in ancient Greece, often for embalming, and in fact, it is hard to find a country that it wasn’t used in. When we are planting out with tomatoes, usually the easiest basil to grow is the sweet basil known as (Ocimum Basilicum).
Basil was bought to the western world by merchants, and the Egyptians and Greeks were already aware of its healing properties and its flavors. It was often used as a medical treatment for various ailments including to promote blood circulation.
When you pick your tomatoes and basil, you can eat them raw, just chop them up as a salad, as they can be either cooked or eaten straight from the garden. Once you start to grow basil, you will always grow it, and there is nothing nicer than fresh homegrown tomatoes.
A recent article said that basil reduces oxidative stress, and lowers high blood sugar. This means that basil is an antioxidant, supporting cardiovascular health and that it is very good for us.