Tomatoes make a superb Summer crop in a Mini greenhouse, as they are quite small early on, when the Mini greenhouse is full of more tender plants waiting for the danger of frosts to pass. As these plants are taken out at the end of May, the tomatoes then have room to grow.
As tomatoes are in the same family as vines, they tend to grow very tall. In a Mini greenhouse this can be a problem as they will quickly reach the roof. Either try dwarfing varieties or pinch out the shoots when they have reached the desired height. As the first few trusses of the plant tend to be pruned off to encourage fruit development, this presents an opportunity to plant lower growing plants such as chillies, peppers or even a cucumber in front of the tomatoes in the mini greenhouse. These then can take advantage of the light at the lower levels.
Companion planting is the concept of adding plants to the Mini greenhouse that will keep pests away from the crops being grown. As a mini greenhouse will provide warmth and shelter for both pests and beneficial bugs, it is a good idea to encourage the latter so that damage from pests is minimised.
Suitable companion plants for tomatoes
When it comes to complementing tomato plants in a greenhouse, several compatible plants offer both practical benefits and culinary advantages. Here is a list of plants to compliment tomatoes in a Mini greenhouse:
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Basil is a classic companion for tomatoes. Its aromatic leaves help deter pests like aphids and whiteflies while enhancing the flavour of your tomatoes. Plant it alongside your tomatoes to enjoy delicious Caprese salads and pasta sauces.
- Marigolds (Tagetes spp.): Marigolds are excellent for deterring nematodes and aphids in a tomato greenhouse. Their bright flowers add a pop of colour, and their scent can help repel insect pests.
- Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus): Nasturtiums serve as trap crops, attracting aphids and drawing them away from your tomatoes. These edible flowers also add a peppery kick to salads and garnishes.
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): Chives deter aphids and other pests while promoting pollination in your greenhouse. Their mild onion flavour complements tomatoes in various dishes.
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare): Oregano helps deter spider mites and aphids. Its robust flavour enhances tomato-based sauces and pizzas.
- Borage (Borago officinalis): Borage is a great companion for tomatoes as it attracts beneficial pollinators like bees. Its edible flowers make for a decorative addition to salads.
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): Parsley not only adds flavour but also helps improve the flavour of tomatoes when planted nearby. It also attracts hoverflies, which prey on aphids.
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis): Calendula flowers attract pollinators while deterring aphids and whiteflies. They can also be used in salads or as a saffron substitute in cooking.
- Peppermint (Mentha × piperita): Peppermint repels aphids and ants, keeping your tomato plants pest-free. It can be used for tea or as a garnish.
- Lavender (Lavandula spp.): Lavender is known for its fragrance, which can deter aphids and other insects. Plus, it adds a delightful aroma to your greenhouse.
Remember that while companion planting offers many advantages, it’s important to maintain proper spacing and ensure that all plants receive the right amount of light, water, and nutrients. With thoughtful planning and careful care, you can create a harmonious greenhouse environment that promotes the health and productivity of your tomato plants.
In our Plants to compliment tomatoes in a Mini greenhouse we have looked at a range of plants which not only compliment the tomatoes but provide a wide range of benefits.