Sunday, March 12, 2023

12 Companion Plants For Tomatoes

1. Herbs

Growing herbs with your tomatoes is a smart choice. Many herbs not only require minimal space to grow (both in terms of height and root coverage) but they also are easy to care for. They won’t take a ton of nutrients from your soil and they won’t compete with your tomatoes for water, sunlight, or airflow, either.

Some of the best herbs to grow with your tomatoes include:

  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Lemon balm
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Dill (harvest early so its tall, bushy growth doesn’t interfere with your tomatoes)

Many of these, like basil, can help to repel disease and insects, too. Some gardeners report that basil improves the growth and flavor of your tomatoes, too.

2. Groundcovers

Just about any groundcover plant can be grown with tomatoes. Many of these are also herbs, like marjoram and oregano, but you can grow any plant that grows low to the ground with tomatoes. They won’t take up much space or compete for nutrients.

3. Lettuce

Grow leaf lettuce and other leafy greens (with the exception of spinach, a heavy feeder) beneath your tomatoes. Not only will the lettuce act as a living mulch to keep the soil cooler, but it can reduce the spread of disease in the garden, too.

Plus, lettuce likes to be kept cool, so growing it in the shadow of your tomatoes is a good way to extend the amount of time before it goes to seed, too.

4. Beans

Many people don’t think of growing beans next to or underneath their tomato plants, but it’s actually a smart choice. Beans are not heavy nitrogen feeders, and instead, add nitrogen back to the soil. Tomatoes, on the other hand, consume heavy amounts of nitrogen. Growing these two plants together is a smart choice that will maximize the space you have a labile. Choose bush beans instead of pole beans for the best results.

5. Radishes

Radishes love the shade, so growing radishes under tomatoes is a smart choice. Your radishes will stay cool, which can prevent them from bolting.

6. Root Vegetables

Most root vegetables grow well in the shadow of tomatoes, too. Some good options include parsnips, carrots, beets, and rutabagas. All of these crops grow best when they are exposed to soil that is high in phosphorus but not quite as high in nitrogen. When these root vegetables are provided with too much nitrogen, they produce bushy tops at the expense of their roots.

As a result, you’ll be left with small, inedible tubers.

Growing these crops beneath your tomatoes is a great way to ensure that they don’t receive too much nitrogen – but your tomatoes will love the nitrogen instead!

7. Flowers

Flowers not only increase pollination from beneficial insects but also reduce the likelihood of pests being drawn to your tomatoes, too. Marigolds can reduce the likelihood of soil-based nematodes as well as pests that target tomatoes like hornworms and

The viola is another good choice. Violas don’t need a lot of sun and can be planted right inside the bed. Lavender, technically an herb, is a great choice, too. It forms a low-to-the-ground cover and doesn’t need a lot of nutrients or sunlight in order to be productive

One flower that many people don’t think of growing with tomatoes is the rose. Although roses can compete with tomatoes for space if both plants aren’t pruned properly, tomatoes can actually help roses in that they can protect them from a disease named black spot.

8. Onions

Onions are great to grow beneath tomatoes because they don’t take up a lot of space and produce minimal foliage. They won’t restrict airflow and they also don’t absorb too many of the nutrients in the soil that your tomatoes need.

9. Garlic

Like onions, garlic also takes up minimal space and won’t compete much for nutrients. It can control late blight and also helps to repel red spider mites. Another benefit of growing garlic near tomatoes? You’ll have everything you need growing together to make a homemade spaghetti sauce!

10. Amaranth

Amaranth is a grain crop that grows surprisingly well next to tomatoes. It can help repel insects and won’t compete for space or water.

11. Borage

Borage grows in a fashion similar to lettuce, so you can plant it beneath your tomato plants without having to worry about it competing for space or nutrients. It can supposedly protect your plants from tomato hornworms, too. You can harvest the leaves young and enjoy them in salads.

12. Asparagus

Asparagus is another crop you can grow under your tomatoes, but you’ll have to be a bit careful about how you do it. Asparagus is a perennial, which means it will come back year after year.

You will just need to be mindful of where your plants are growing when you plant your tomato seedlings in the spring – that way, you won’t disturb the developing shoots.

Harvest the asparagus shoots young so they don’t interfere with the foliage of your tomatoes. Then, you can reap the many benefits of both.

Asparagus helps clear the soil of nematodes, which tend to be drawn to tomatoes, while tomatoes will help asparagus in return by getting rid of asparagus beetles. It’s a win-win for everyone!


Sunday, February 12, 2023

12 Health Benefits of Thyme


Thanks to its distinctive taste, thyme has remained a culinary staple to this day. But thyme also boasts a slew of helpful medicinal qualities.

Thyme’s benefits include:

  • fighting acne
  • lowering blood pressure
  • helping to alleviate cough
  • boosting immunity
  • disinfecting
  • repelling pests
  • aromatherapy
  • boosting mood
  • culinary uses
  • preventing bacterial infections
  • helping to treat yeast infections
  • possibly helping against certain types of cancer

Want to learn more about how this humble spice does so much? Dig into the research below.


If you’re tired of buying and trying over-the-counter acne medication with no good results, you may be in luck. Thyme is known for its antibacterial properties, and it might have a future as an acne-fighting ingredient.

When thyme is steeped in alcohol for days or weeks, it turns into a solution known as a tincture.

In an older 2010 study, thyme essential oil was found to have antibacterial activity against P. acnes, the bacteria thought to cause acne. However, we still don’t know if thyme oil actually reduces pimples.

Blood pressure

Thymus linearis Benth. is a species of thyme found in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A 2014 study found that an extract was able to significantly lower heart rate in rats with high blood pressure. It was also able to lower their cholesterol.

Still, we need human studies to confirm these effects.


Thyme essential oil, which is obtained from its leaves, is often used as a natural cough remedy.

In one older 2006 study, a combination of thyme and ivy leaves helped to alleviate coughing and other symptoms of acute bronchitis.

A 2018 study found a combination of thyme and primula extracts to reduce inflammation and mucous in an animal model.

Next time you’re faced with a cough or sore throat, try drinking some thyme tea.


Getting all the vitamins your body needs every day can be challenging.

Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that thyme is packed with helpful nutrients, including:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • copper
  • fiber
  • iron
  • manganese

However, thyme isn’t a great source of these nutrients unless you consume it in excessive quantities. For example, 1 teaspoon of thyme has 1.28 milligrams of vitamin C — according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that’s only 1 percent of your daily needs.


Mold is a common yet potentially dangerous air pollutant that can lurk in your home. Once you identify it, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to get rid of it once and for all. In some cases, thyme oil may be the answer.

A 2017 study showed that thyme may be effective at controlling gray mold rot in guava fruit.

These effects may translate to mold in the home as well.

An older 2007 study suggests thyme can be used as a disinfectant in dwellings where there’s a low concentration of mold.

Still, if you find significant mold in your home, it’s best to hire a professional to remove it.


The Environmental Protection Agency says that thymol, a kind of thyme oil, is also an ingredient in many pesticides — both outdoor and indoor — and is commonly used to target:

  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • rats
  • mice
  • other animal pests

A 2021 study showed thyme essential oil to be effective against adult mosquitoes and their larvae.

You can make a homemade repellant by mixing 4 drops of thyme oil for every teaspoon of olive oil, or mixing 5 drops for every 2 ounces of water.


You can now find organic and natural skin care products at most retailers, and many contain thyme.

Thyme is also a popular ingredient in natural deodorants and is often included in potpourri.

You can use thyme essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser to potentially reap the benefits of its mood-boosting properties, though more research is needed.


Thyme essential oil is often used for aromatic and therapeutic purposes because of its active substance, carvacrol.

In a 2013 animal study, carvacrol was shown to increase concentrations of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that regulate mood.

If you use thyme or thyme oil regularly, it might have a positive effect on your feelings and mood. Still, more human studies are needed.


Thyme is a wonderful ingredient that’s used in cuisines around the world, particularly in France, Italy, and across the Mediterranean.

Thyme is a main ingredient in this tasty take on pesto sauce, which you can use as a condiment or add to pasta or rice.

Fresh leaves or whole sprigs can be used while preparing meat or poultry. Thyme is also an excellent ingredient to use with fish, like in this heart-healthy white fish recipe.

This whole wheat macaroni and cheese with mushrooms and thyme is a grown-up spin on a childhood favorite, and it’s a great way to add some thyme to your diet.

Thyme may also have a positive effect on the safety and longevity of cooking oils. A 2012 study indicated that thyme extract might prolong the stability of sunflower oil at different temperatures as well as provide antioxidant effects.

You can make your own thyme-infused oil by following this recipe. Still, there’s no guarantee that this homemade version will affect your oil’s stability.

Bacterial infection

Ever had food poisoning? Thyme may be able to help prevent it.

A 2013 in vitro study found that thyme oil showed potential as a natural preservative of food products against several common foodborne bacteria that cause human illness, even at low concentrations.

In addition, a 2011 in vitro study found thyme oil effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas bacteria.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that ingesting thyme oil will prevent you from getting food poisoning. Plus, if you were to take thyme supplements on a regular basis, you’d also likely be killing a lot of the good bacteria in your gut.

Yeast infection

Thyme isn’t just potentially effective against bacteria. It may pack some punch when it comes to fungus too.

A 2021 in vitro study found very low doses of thyme essential oil to be fungicidal against Candida albicans, a common cause of yeast infections, even when the fungus was resistant to the prescription medication fluconazole.

Still, human research is needed to know whether ingesting thyme oil can treat Candida.


A 2018 in vitro study found both thyme and clove essential oils to inhibit breast cancer cell lines. A 2021 study replicated these results.

These studies only provide very weak evidence of a potential benefit of thyme for cancer, and human studies are needed to confirm any potential benefits.


Thyme is a versatile herb with a broad wheelhouse of beneficial uses. Still, most of the research has been in lab or animal studies, so the scientific evidence to support these beneficial uses is fairly weak. Using thyme shouldn’t replace medical care and treatment.

If you’re interested in diving into the benefits of thyme, you may want to explore complementary and alternative medicine by finding a qualified professional, like a naturopath or osteopath, in conjunction with conventional treatment.

It can enhance your cooking, your health, your skin, and even the scent of your space. It might be about thyme to add this multipurpose plant to your toolkit.