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Apr 16, 2009 03:12 PM

Growing Rome Tomatoes

I'm gonna try growing Romas this year.. Is it true they grow the best when they grow close to basil? Any other tips would be appreciated.

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  1. I'm sure someone will disagree, but basil does not make tomatoes grow better, or vice versa. They are just compatible, and taste good together. Some plants actually interfere with the growth of other plants. Tomatoes and basil do not.

    And don't plant them too close, or the tomatoes will overwhelm the basil.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Zeldog

      Interesting, Zeldog... I've always heard that basil and tomatoes DO like to grow together. But last year I staggered all my tomato and basil plants, interspersed with marigolds, which tomatoes like (or, at least, certain tomato-loving bugs will go for the marigolds instead, if available), and my basil was all junk- never grew much, was clearly very unhappy and a bust. So my experience confirms that you could be right- I figured I'd do something else with my basil this year- we'll see how it goes.

      Other than that, I haven't found any difference between growing paste (romas, etc) tomatoes and regular slicing tomatoes- I do 3-4 varieties of each every year, along with cherry toms. As long as they get plenty of sun and decent staking, I've always had good luck. Enjoy!

      1. re: Zeldog

        Jfood basil grew much better last year than his romas and they were about 10' apart.

      2. They taste good together but they aren't good buddies in the garden. The tomatoes will shade the basil for at least some part of the day as the sun moves across the sky and that will decrease the potency of the basil. The more sun it gets, the better it is. Give it as much open sky as you can.
        Watch that basil like a teenager with raging hormones. As soon as it even hints at setting flowers, pinch them off. Flowers and seeds sap the energy of the basil plants and decrease the flavor.
        Keep cutting the basil back to encourage it to branch out. This will produce very bushy and strong plants. Always nip it just above where the leaves are and it will grow two new branches. Soon you will have a thick hedge of basil that will provide you with all you need and enough to give away.

        If you have more basil than you can possibly use, chop it in the food processor and drizzle in olive oil with the machine running. You can put the olive oil/basil paste in the freezer and use it next winter to make fresh-tasting pesto by adding garlic, pine nuts and cheese. It will taste like you just picked the basil. It even stays green.