Great Share from "Frizzled Farm" SRNBy
Tomatoes are among the most popular plants grown in gardens across the country, so finding new ways to protect and nourish your tomato plants is always necessary. Tomatoes and basil are often paired in fresh-from-the-garden salads, dressings, sauces and even on pizzas, but the two plants are well-matched in the garden as well. Planting basil herb seeds when planting your seasonal tomato plants will benefit your tomato crop immensely and give you a ready supply of the herbal culinary delight at the same time.
Any tomato gardener knows that a single bug can ruin an otherwise lovely tomato, but planting basil plants as an addition to your tomato garden will keep harmful bugs of all varieties off your tasty tomatoes. The rich basil aroma that is so pleasing to us acts to repel destructive bugs such as flies, aphids, mosquitoes, horn worms, mites and fruit flies from your tomato plants.
Without bees to pollinate your tomato plants, there will be no tomatoes to pick, dice, slice, can or stew. Basil plants attract bees, so planting basil alongside your tomato plants will not only deter other unwanted bugs, but attract the helpful pollinating kind. Recent studies by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation concluded that "tomatoes pollinated by native bees produce larger and more numerous fruits." According to a study Xerces performed on cherry tomatoes, the average weight of tomatoes doubled when pollinated by native bees, and if basil is among the bee attractors, then the tomatoes and your garden benefit.
Tomato and basil plants are both relatively easy plants to grow and have similar needs during their respective growing seasons. They are, therefore, a logical pairing in your summer garden. Hardiness zones two through 10 are best for growing tomatoes and basil plants. Both prefer rich soil but have strong, seeking roots that can go beyond sub prime soil to find the nutrients each plant needs. Both basil and tomatoes enjoy deep, soaking watering and loamy, well-drained soil with acidic pH levels. Both plants also require hot weather and full sunshine for peak production.
Tomatoes and basil go beautifully together in sauces, salads, with Parmesan cheese crumbled over the fresh mixture and other tasty recipes, so it just makes sense that growing the two plants near one another would also have some flavor-enhancing benefits. Tomatoes grown near basil may take on some of basil's rich herbal flavors and make tomatoes burst with rich flavor.