Tomatoes and Asparagus-Natural Companion Plants

tomato asparagus

Photo Credit: Niina ♥ C on Flickr.com

Tomatoes and Asparagus have three distinct characteristics that make them more than just good companion plants. Tomatoes and Asparagus are beneficial and natural companion plants.

Continuity (or lack of crop rotation)
Chemistry
Offsetting Cultivation and Harvest Season

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Continuity-asparagus is perennial; tomatoes don’t rotate

You may have read my article “Garden Crop Rotation for Abundant Harvests.” This article outlines important and simple crop rotation concepts that can increase your vegetable garden yield. Tomatoes as having a unique property among plants in general. Most crops need to be rotated to either take advantage of nutrients generated by other plants or to use it natural chemistry to combat pests or diseases left by a former crop. Review the article “Garden Crop Rotation for Abundant Harvests” for more detail. However, tomatoes seem to defy that general rule. Many farmers insist that tomatoes do better year after year in the same soil.

Asparagus is a perennial. It is one of the first plants to emerge in the spring, and asparagus plants may last up to twenty years. You may want to read my article, “Growing Asparagus for Home or for Profit.” It takes 2-3 years to plant to grow asparagus from seed to production, but if you care for the plants as described in my article, these will become healthy, vibrant plants which will last for year.
Because asparagus is a perrennial and because tomatoes have the natural characteristic of enjoying the same soil year after year, they make a perfect pair. . . if you combine them with their native chemistry and the offsetting harvest seasons.

Chemistry-Solanine from tomatoes is a natural insecticide

The chemistry of these to plants makes them particularly suitable for each other. Tomatoes produce a chemical substance called solanine. Solanine is responsible for that “tomato smell” that tomato lovers love. But solanine is also a volatile alkaloid that at one time was used as an agricultural insecticide. This natural substance will largely protect asparagus from the damaging asparagus beetle. But even if asparagus beetles are present in great numbers, they will attract and be controlled by their natural predators, making spraying unnecessary.
Conversely, a chemical derived from asparagus juice also has been found effective on tomato plants as a killer of nematodes, including root-knot, sting, stubby root, and meadow nematodes.

Offsetting Cultivation and Harvest Seasons

Because asparagus is a perennial and one of the first plants to emerge in the spring, asparagus will be harvested by mid to late spring when it is time to transplant your tomatoes. Cultivating the tomatoes will naturally keep the weeds down within the asparagus for the season. Both tomatoes and asparagus respond very well to plenty of compost and mulch. I find that by covering the soil around both the asparagus and tomatoes with 3-6 inches of clipped grass (which has not been chemically treated!) control the weeds all summer long. The more the better. By the end of the summer, the grass has pretty much been absorbed into the soil and turned.
Important. The asparagus fronds should never be cut, if at all, until late in the fall. the roots need this top growth to enable them to make spears the following spring.
Isn’t it interesting how Tomatoes and Asparagus make amazing companion plants? Set one portion of your garden aside for both of these delicacies.
Did you know that parsley gives strength to both asparagus and tomatoes. You might think of adding a random parsley plant within your tomatoes and asparagus.
Now read more articles at The Living Garden. Our articles and video training will show you more about fall garden tasks that eliminate garden diseases

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