Friday, June 26, 2015

Tomatoes: companion planting and harvest

Last year I wrote about companion planting with tomatoes and I’d just like to reiterate here how great it is to be aware of how plants can help or hinder each other. Tomatoes love herbs like basil and oregano and dislike many cruciferous veggies, such as kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. Yet it does fine near broccoli. Go figure!

Many of these plants improve the health of the tomato plant and a few aid in the flavor of the fruit. Here’s a handy list of companion plants you might want to grow near your tomatoes:
  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Nasturtium
  • Onions
  • Chard
  • Hot peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Marigold

When it comes time to harvest, the tomatoes should easily pop off the stem without being twisted. Tomatoes don’t have a long life after being gathered and the best way to keep them for as long as possible is to set them in a shaded room temperature spot. Don’t place the tomatoes in the refrigerator because they will quickly lose their flavor.

What do you do with all those green tomatoes? Wait until after the first frost and harvest all of your healthy green tomatoes. Some of these tomatoes will ripen indoors. One way to do this is to place them in a box until ripe. Remember to keep the tomatoes away from sun and heat.

Image: Bill Benzon

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