Can you plant a tomato plant with a potato plant?
Tomatoes and potatoes are both members of the Solanum or nightshade family. Since they are brethren so to speak, it seems logical that planting tomatoes and potatoes together would be a perfect marriage. It’s not nearly that easy to grow tomatoes with potatoes. Continue reading to find out whether you can grow tomatoes with potatoes.
Can You Plant Tomatoes with Potatoes?
It seems logical that you could plant tomato plants next to potatoes since they are in the same family. It is permissible to grow tomatoes alongside potatoes. The key word here is “near.” Since both tomatoes and potatoes are in the same family, they are also susceptible to some of the same diseases.
Fusarium and Verticillium wilt are caused by fungus that live in these solanaceous crops and spread throughout the soil. The diseases prevent the plants from absorbing water, causing leaf wilt and death. If one crop gets either disease, chances are the other will as well, particularly if they are in close proximity.
Planting tomatoes on soil that has already been planted with potatoes, peppers, or eggplant should be avoided. Plant potatoes in places where tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants have previously grown. Remove and destroy all infected crop detritus so it can’t reinfect new crops. Look for fungal disease-resistant varieties of both tomatoes and potatoes before considering planting tomatoes and potatoes together.
Again, referring to the “near” in planting tomatoes near potatoes – be sure to give the two crops adequate space between each other. The standard distance between tomatoes and potatoes is 10 feet (3 meters). Crop rotation is also recommended while planting tomato plants adjacent to potatoes to maintain good yields. Crop rotation should be a routine practice for all gardeners to reduce disease transmission and cross-contamination. Use new organic compost and soil when growing tomatoes with potatoes to reduce the risk of sharing disease.
All that said, it is definitely okay to grow potatoes near tomatoes if you practice the above. Simply maintain a safe spacing between the two crops. Planting them too close together risks injuring one or both. For instance, if the spuds are too close to the tomatoes and you try to harvest the tubers, you may damage the tomato roots, which can lead to blossom end rot.
Finally, both tomatoes and potatoes receive nutrients and moisture via the top 2 feet (61 cm.) of soil, so maintain that layer wet throughout the growth season. A drip system will keep the plants irrigated while keeping the leaves dry, which in turn will cut down on the incidence of fungal and bacterial infections and make for a harmonious marriage of tomatoes and potatoes in the garden.