Why You Shouldn't Plant Cucumbers And Tomatoes Together In The Garden

Whether it's your first time creating a flourishing vegetable garden or you're a seasoned pro, chances are your planting plan will include both cucumbers and tomatoes. Indeed, tomatoes make good companion plants for cucumbers because they share similar requirements when it comes to sun and soil. However, this natural symbiosis may also prove harmful as they can share diseases and compete for resources.

Beyond wrestling for the same nutrients and resources, both veggies require plenty of sunlight to thrive, so you'll need to ensure that neither one is casting shadows on its garden mate. Yet another factor to consider is that plants that aren't spaced far enough apart can cause water logging, which will be detrimental to both cucumbers and tomatoes, as they require well-drained soil.

Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is that the two plants are vulnerable to some of the same diseases, like mosaic virus. That means that if one gets sick, the other is likely to become infected as well and you'll lose more of your crop. So, if you'd like to grow both cucumbers and tomatoes in your garden, you certainly can, but there are a number of rules you'll need to follow to ensure they flourish independently.

How to properly space cucumbers and tomatoes in your garden

If you have your heart set on growing cucumbers and tomatoes in your backyard, honing in on proper spacing is the key to growing a healthy garden. Ideally, plant your tomatoes 18 to 24 inches apart in rows that have between 3 and 4 feet between them. As for cucumbers, leave 12 to 15 inches between your plants and 4 to 6 feet between each row. This will ensure that every single plant receives the water, light, and nutrients it needs without having to deprive any of its neighbors of these essentials.

If you're low on planting space and want to maximize vegetable output, another viable option is to mix vining cucumbers with the smaller, more compact determinate tomato variety. For ideal results, plant the cucumbers next to a fence or specialty trellis to form the back edge of your garden bed. Then plant your tomatoes directly in the soil, but place them way out in front of the cucumbers, so they're at least 2 feet apart. When gauging the appropriate distance, always double check that both plants have plenty of access to sunlight and that the tomatoes aren't in the vines' shade.