The Benefit Of Planting Onions Next To Your Tomatoes

Everyone needs a friend that'll stand by their side... even the plants in your garden. When it comes to tomatoes, planting onions next to and around them is like a natural pest repellent that deters harmful insects from attacking those precious red fruits. Companion planting is like the buddy system of gardening. It's when you grow different plants close together, so they help each other out and keep the whole garden happy and healthy. This practice is based on the idea that certain plants can work together to support each other's growth, deter pests, improve soil quality, and increase overall yield.

When it comes to plant buddies, onions aren't anything to cry about. They're like the MVPs of companion planting because they excel at repelling all sorts of pests. Thanks to their strong odor, bugs like aphids, thrips, and gnats will make a b-line away from these odoriferous, globular vegetables. This onion superpower doesn't just protect the onions themselves. They create a force field that keeps nearby plants safe, including your delicate tomatoes. Besides, onions and tomatoes go great together in meals, so why not wouldn't they pair up well in your garden?

Onions have multiple superpowers

Companion planting onions and tomatoes is surprisingly easy and will allow you to reap the bountiful rewards without a ton of work. You'll need to have your tomato plants and onion seedlings on hand, as well as a nice sunny spot scoped out in your garden. Always make sure to check your soil before planting to make sure that it's balanced and nutritious. If it's lacking in any vital elements, it'll be necessary to fertilize before planting. Plant the onion and tomato seedlings close together, giving them some room so that they don't grow into each other's business. 

The science behind this buddy system is about playing to each other's strengths. Both onions and tomatoes are like the bouncers of the garden world. Onion's sulphuric smell kicks out bugs like aphids and thrips, while tomatoes release a chemical compound called methyl jasmonate that wards off other types of pests. On top of that, onions aren't just great bodyguards. They're also like soil masseuses. Onions have a shallow root system that naturally aerates the soil, and the sulfur they absorb also turns that same soil into nutrient-dense food for their tomato friends.

Everyone needs their personal space

The best thing about this dynamic pairing is that you're not just stuck with using one type of onion. That's because all varieties emit that well-known pungent smell that protects them against bugs and pests. So feel free to plant your scallions, leeks, Maui sweet, chives, and even throw in a garlic bulb or two. All the above are part of the allium family. You can even boost protection even further by sprinkling in some marigolds, flavorful basil, or even spicy nasturtiums, which all help keep each other safe from unwanted party crashers. 

That being said, you don't want to turn your garden into a chaotic veggie party. Make sure that you give your tomato and onion plants enough space to grow and do their thing. Tomatoes and onions have different watering and nutritional needs, so you'll want to try to plant them in an orderly fashion, otherwise, they'll start competing for food and possibly choke each other out. That's why the recommended spacing is one to two feet between each plant, and growing them in alternating rows.