I always heard that tomatoes and peppers shouldn’t be planted together. The one time I did plant them next to each other, they failed miserably. Maybe it was just a bad year. Still, I’m keeping them on my possibly incompatible list. But are tomatoes and peppers actually friends or enemies? What else can be planted with tomatoes to keep disease and pests away?
Tomatoes and peppers do not appear as combative on any list I’ve seen.
I’ve seen a lot of lists over the years. I often consult them to plan my garden. I even wrote one based on all the others I’ve seen, along with personal experience. Not one list that I’ve ever seen said anything about not planting tomatoes and peppers together. I did, however, have a friend tell me she ended up with spicy tomatoes when planting hot peppers and tomatoes in the same bed.
Can peppers make tomatoes taste hot?
Can the hotness of strong peppers transfer to tomatoes growing next to them? My friend had planted habeneros next to her tomatoes. I would imagine that anything planted next to habeneros might pick up a little capsaicin. Milder peppers wouldn’t be as likely to have the same effect. Certainly, it would be safe to plant sweet peppers with tomatoes, at least as far as hotness goes.
Benefits of planting tomatoes and peppers together
As I said, hot peppers do discourage many diseases, pests and insects. There’s also at least one good reason to plant peppers and tomatoes together. Peppers can discourage some fungus. If you continually lose tomatoes to fungus, planting peppers next to them just might help. I don’t expect to have any fungus issues this year. That’s only happened to me once before here in dry Denver. Still, it certainly couldn’t hurt to do a little early prevention with companion planting. Or could it?
But wait, there’s more.
Unfortunately, there’s also one huge reason peppers should not be planted with tomatoes. You see, while peppers do discourage some fungus, there are certain plant diseases, such as bacterial spot that are common to tomatoes and peppers. By planting them together, you risk losing them both, should one of them become infected
Herbs and marigolds
We all know that planting certain herbs next to tomatoes gives them a nice flavor. Once the tomatoes get going, they also provide shade for herbs like basil, which tends to wilt in direct sun. Planting marigolds next to tomatoes repels bunnies and traps some insects too. So, as far as the peppers go, my conclusion is that they shouldn’t be planted next to tomatoes. I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially when there are so many alternatives.
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