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Can I Plant Tomatoes With Beets?

Miss Chen
2018-03-25
Gardeners have long known that some plants seem to grow better when grouped together, while others seem to conflict. Companion planting is a gardening technique that emphasizes plant compatibility; for instance, climbing vines and tall plants, such as tomatoes and corn, work well when paired with low-growing crops, such as beets and cucumbers, since they do not compete with each other for space.

Companion Planting
Choosing plants that are able to share space harmoniously allows gardeners to place different specimens close together, maximizing the productivity of a given area. The secret to successful companion planting is choosing vegetables that balance each other and have similar environmental needs. Vegetables that compete for nutrients, sunlight, or root space make poor companions. For example, tall, heat-loving, long-season plants are complemented by short-season, ground-hugging plants or small, below-ground crops.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a vegetable garden favorite, but they are also heat lovers that require full sun. As such, they cannot be planted beneath other garden plants. However, the area around the base of a tomato plant is often an ideal location for shallow-rooted, shade-tolerant plants, or bite-sized root vegetables. Surround tomatoes with beets, baby carrots, garlic, green onions, sage, chives and marigolds for the best results; not only to these plants grow well in the shade provided by towering tomato plants, they seem to improve the productivity of the tomato vines.

Beets
Beets are valued for both their flavorsome roots and their leafy tops. They are well adapted to most climates and flourish when set in full sun or partial shade; however, they tend to grow best in temperate regions and flourish when planted near bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, bush beans, cabbage or tomatoes. This mid-season plant can be set out three weeks before the expected date of the final frost. Once the young sprouts emerge, they are ready to harvest 48 to 50 days later. This opens up a small area of the garden that can then be replanted with a short-season vegetable such as radishes or lettuce.

Spacing
Companion plants can be set fairly close together, saving valuable garden space. To determine the appropriate distance between companion plants, combine the suggested spacing for each plant, then divide the total by two. For example, beets should be spaced 4 inches apart, and tomatoes should have at least 24 inches of room between them. Allow at least 16 inches between beets and tomatoes.
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