good or bad idea to plant strawberries between tomatoes, grapes, etc.?

ahappy camper zone10
3 days ago
last modified: 3 days ago

a friend of mine has a little plot of land outside his apartment complex that hes trying to make the most out of. he has already put down some tomatoes, berry plants, and other perennials. hes giving these plants the advised spacing...such as the 3 feet between the tomato plants but he wants to sandwich smaller plants between these larger ones because it appears like theres a lot of wasted space to him.

originally he was going to put basil or some other herbs to fill in gaps next to tomato plants but i said it doesnt seem like the best idea because the nitrogen that hes going to fertilize the herbs with is likely going to result in too much greenery on the tomato plant. he asked about strawberries?

beyond the issue of fertilization, differing water and soil requirements between different types of plants placed next to each other, is it still inadvisable to put something next to a tomato, grape or larger plant due to the surface root disruption and competition? to the eye, it looks like theres a wasted 3 feet of space between the tomato plants, but i imagine theres actually tons of surface roots not easily visible to the eye in throughout these 3 foot gaps between the tomatoes ?

so even if a strawberry plant had the same watering and soil requirements as the plant it is being put next to, is it safe to assume that putting the strawberry plant anywhere within the 3 foot radius of the tomato is still stifling the tomato plants success somewhat because its occupying space where all the surface roots should be?

would a better idea be sandwiching containers of strawberries between the larger plants? so that way the tomatoes, etc. could still throw out their surface roots through the entire area without being overly disturbed since a container on top of the surface roots of the tomato shouldnt be *as* bad right? probably a better step up from this would be to make sure the containers dont even touch the ground so that they are hanging above the soil somehow

of course if he were to put these smaller plants between the larger ones, he knows he needs to trim the lower foliage to allow sunlight and air flow

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