Companion plants or Companion planting is a strategy of planting two or more different plant types in close proximity to each other. This strategy makes use of different characteristics of plants and their affinity to each other. There are a number of reasons of doing this some of them are including pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase crop productivity.
We discuss the case by taking example for Tomatoes and Basil Companion planting.
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As humans can’t live in isolation and love to have a company of their best friends, so do plants. Plants do well when in company of a plant for which they have a positive affinity to. Tomato and Basil is one such set of companion plants which is one of the favorite for gardeners and is the easiest to learn companion planting. Not only it is favorite but they swear by it. It is believed and observed that Basil imparts improved taste to Tomato. Let us examine this and various other advantages for growing the two together.
Both Tomato and Basil love warm weather and need at least 6 hours of bright sunshine. Both have similar watering requirements i.e water them well and do not let the roots dry, remember to water thoroughly and only after the top 1 inch layer of soil is dry to touch. Mulch them well to retain moisture and discourage weeds. You need to plant two or three basil plants for each tomato plant.
Basil cares for Tomato
Gardeners swear that Tomatoes taste well when grown near Basil, and this has been observed in new studies that were conducted. But is this the only benefit that we find in this pair?
There are more; Basil acts as a pest repellent and repels thrips, flies and mosquitoes, protecting companion-planted tomatoes from these pests, as well as from milkweed bugs, hornworms and aphids. Basil is also a natural fungicide. Which means there is a good possibility of you not requiring to use synthetic pesticides or fungicides for protecting your tomato plant. Also this means you may get higher yield of tomatoes when grown near basil.
Fertilizing requirements of these companion plants
Fertilizer requirements of both the plants is slightly different and this is a welcome difference as they do not tend to compete for nutrients. Basil (basil fertilizer requirements) on one hand is a leafy herb and loves a Nitrogen, where as Tomato being a Night Shade family plant (Night shade fertilizer needs) will benefit from higher phosphorus and potassium content. However while planting and preparing the soil you need to add a balanced fertilizer like 3-3-3 to give a good starting mix for your plants.