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Expert gardener reveals centuries-old hack for growing stronger tomato plants: ‘It works every time’

“My grandma back in Greece would do the same 70 years ago.”

"My grandma back in Greece would do the same 70 years ago."

Photo Credit: Instagram

An Instagram user is sharing a centuries-old gardening hack that will keep your tomato plants happy and healthy.

The scoop

Jamie Walton (@nettlesandpetals) posted a video revealing his two best companion plants for keeping tomatoes healthy: marigolds and basil. 

“Marigolds are a flower that I always plant with my tomatoes,” Walton says in the video. “They help to deter pests both in the soil and outside of the soil.” 

He goes on to explain that marigolds also tend to attract ladybugs, lacewings, and other insects that are actually beneficial to the growing process because they eat aphids and other plant-eating critters. 

“And they also add a nice bit of color to the bed wherever you put them,” he adds.

Later, Walton explains how basil makes a perfect match with tomato plants. “They both enjoy the same conditions when growing,” Walton says, and adds that basil’s “strong scent also helps when deterring pests, so they’re a great companion plant for tomatoes.”

How it’s helping 

Companion planting is an age-old technique that keeps your fruits and veggies healthy by reducing the risk of pest infestation without the use of harmful pesticides. Companion plants also help increase biodiversity in your local ecosystem and attract pollinators that keep all your plants lively. 

Other tips that help maximize your garden’s potential include strategic intercropping to make better use of space and attract pollinators and using earth-friendly concoctions to keep pests off of your plants.

Growing your own fruits and veggies in a garden also helps protect you from dangerous chemicals that store-bought produce might contain. A study by the Environmental Working Group indicated that up to 75% of non-organic produce may have traces of harmful chemicals from pesticides.

What everyone’s saying

Commenters shared their own success stories about companion planting. 

“My grandma back in Greece would do the same 70 years ago, and then my mom was doing it and I am also doing it… it works every time!” one commenter noted. 

“[M]y grandfather taught me that when i was 5 years old in the bronx. then we would save the black seeds for the following year,” another user commented.

“I’ve added marigolds into my tomato/basil/pepper/chilli mix too,” a third user shared.

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