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Expert gardener converts viewers to centuries-old gardening trick for growing stronger tomato plants: ‘I won’t go back’

“My mom did it, so I did!”

"My mom did it, so I did!"

Photo Credit: TikTok

Growing your own tomatoes that are worth the squeeze can be achieved through an age-old practice. Thanks to one TikToker, however, the trick is not being kept an age-old secret. 

The scoop 

Self-proclaimed “hobby gardener” Jacob (@pt_gardener) posted a video sharing a hack for keeping your tomatoes strong and pest-free: companion planting. The practice dates back thousands of years and is still used by farmers and backyard gardeners today. 

@pt_gardener The poor marigolds were just a decoy #gardening #gardeningtips #companionplanting #marigold #tomatoes ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

“Here’s why I plant my marigolds next to my tomatoes,” Jacob says over a video of a tomato plant guarded by the orange flowers.

“You can see this marigold is covered in all this webbing,” he continues, “That’s from spider mites. Now, they prefer the marigolds over the tomatoes, so these are just sacrificial plants, and the tomato is untouched by the spider mites.” 

How it’s helping 

Gardening and growing your own food bring many benefits, but they are decreased if pests destroy your crop. Using toxic pesticides isn’t a welcome solution for many, so helpful hacks like this help save plants that may otherwise wither on the vine.  

When you grow your own food, you save money you may otherwise spend on expensive produce, eat healthier by avoiding pesticides, minimize waste by only growing and harvesting what you need, and reduce your pollution footprint — a single pound of transported food creates 0.18 pounds of planet-warming pollution. Plants, on the other hand, help soak up carbon dioxide. 

Wasted food is also the largest component in landfills in the United States, accounting for 22% of trash. Around 160 billion pounds of food is tossed out annually in the U.S., and 42 billion pounds come from homes. 

Further, gardening has been proved to help both physical and mental health. A study out of the University of Colorado found that people who garden get more fiber and physical activity than those who don’t, and they also feel less stressed and anxious. 

What everyone’s saying 

As far as Jacob’s specific hack, commenters were quick to co-conspire. 

“I’ve been planting marigolds with my tomatoes for decades and I never knew why! My mom did it, so I did!” said one. 

“I planted marigolds with my tomatoes for the first time this year and it is dramatically better. Will always do this,” added another. 

“Absolutely!” Jacob responded. “I won’t go back and now they self seed so it makes it so easy.” 

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