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Carrots do Love Tomatoes

Fri, Jul 20th, 2001
Posted in

Virginia CooperMonday, July 23, 2001

This week I would like to share some excerpts from the darling of companion planting, Louise Riotte's great book Carrots Love Tomatoes. This is the sequel to her very popular Roses Love Onions.

On Tomatoes: ' Tomatoes and all members of the Brassica (Cabbage) family repel each other and should be kept apart. Tomatoes also dislike potatoes and fennel.

Tomatoes will protect asparagus against the asparagus beetle. Since they are tender plants, put tomatoes in during late spring after the early crop of asparagus spears has been harvsted. Tomatoes protect gooseberries against insects.

Tomatoes are compatible with chives, onions, parsley, marigold, nasturtium and carrot and for several years I have planted garlic bulbs between my tomato plants to protect them from red spider mites. Stinging nettle growing nearby improves their keeping qualities and redroot pigweed, in small quantities, is also beneficial.

Though not containing fungicidal elements, tomatoes will protect roses against black spot. The active principle of tomato leaves is solanine, a volatile alkaloid that at one time was used as an agricultural insecticide. To make a spray for roses: Make a solution of tomato leaves in your vegetable juicer, adding four or five pints of water and one tablespoon of cornstarch. Strain and spray on roses where it is not convenient to plant tomatoes as companions. Keep any unused spray refrigerated.

Root excretions of tomatoes have an inhibiting effect on young apricot trees, and don't plant tomatoes near corn, since the tomato fruitworm is identical with the corn earworm. Don't plant near potatoes, either, since tomatoes render them more susceptible to potato blight.

Unlike most other vegetables, tomatoes prefer to grow in the same place year after year. This is alright unless you have a disease problem, in which case plant your tomatoes in a new area. Since they are heavy feeders give them ample quantities of compost or decomposed manure. Mulch and water in dry weather to maintain soil moisture and stave off disease and blossom end rot. But never water tomatoes from the top. Water from below and water deeply.

If you smoke, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you work in your garden, for tomatoes are susceptible to diseases transmitted through tobacco.'

Fillmore County Fair

This year Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions. Our booth will be staffed with local experts ready to think! So bring your question down or stop by just to say hello. We can't wait to check out the entries in the flower and vegetable section of the Fair, I know someone will have red tomatoes, I may corner them to get their secrets and publish in an upcoming article!

Still waiting for red tomatoes, Virginia Cooper gardens and writes in Mabel, send gardening questions to virgcoop@ or send them directly to the Journal.

Virginia Cooper

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