Perfect pairs in the garden: tomatoes and basil

Did you know that basil and tomatoes go together just as well in your garden as they do on your plate? Like a caprese salad, the two plants benefit one another and when grown together create – shall we say – a beautiful relationship.

Basil and tomatoes provide each other many benefits. And they’re not alone. Many of the herbs, flowers and plants that we love to grow make great garden companions. This system of growing is called “companion planting.” There are many ways to do and many different companions. Basil and tomatoes just happens to be one of my favorites.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard or thought that basil cannot survive full sun, I’ve never had luck with it in full sun on its own, but when interspersed with my tomato plants it grows like a weed. Last year, I planted all types of basil – from Genovese to purple to lemon – among my tomatoes. The primary reason to do this is pest control. It helps repel certain insect pests – such as thrips which causes spotted wilt virus in tomatoes, and the tomato hornworm.

It has also been shown that by planting basil alongside your tomatoes, increases the yield in tomatoes because basil helps improve the nutrients in the soil.  Some believe that it also improves the flavor of the tomatoes but there’s no actual research to support that claim. I also believe that the tomatoes plants provide some shade for the basil, which is one more reason it flourishes in its shadow.

At B’z Kneez Farms, we have many varieties of basil for your gardening and cooking needs. Now is the time to get them – while supplies last. We currently have lemon, lime, Genovese, Pesto, Thai, Cinnamon and two types of purple basils. They can be used for cooking, drying, freezing and canning (in your sauces, jellies and more).

Some other great companion plants we have include borage, which repels many insects and helps with disease resistant for any crop its planted next to. It’s also one the best attractors of bees and beneficial wasps. Chamomile – hosts hoverflies and weeds, improves soil, increases oil production in other herbs and of course, makes great tea.

All plants are $4/ea. We also have basil trios, which feature three varieties of basil in one pot for $6/ea. Purchase by calling calling 805-286-6529 or stop by Fridays and Saturdays between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.