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prairiemoon2

What to plant on the north side of tomato plants?

My tomatoes are planted on the north side of a bed that has perennials in it. They are facing south and get full sun all day. I leave an edge around that end of the bed, that I have chrysanthemums in and last year it was too shady for them by the time the tomatoes on stakes were full grown. Anyone have a suggestion for what I could grown on the north side of tomato plants?

Comments (15)

  • Donald V Zone 6 north Ohio
    last month

    Cabbage, lettuce peas. I only say that because they bolt/crack and tom's are big and provide shade. I got my largest cabbage because of shade from tom's - it got twice as big as usual before cracking and I think shade was why.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked Donald V Zone 6 north Ohio
  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    last month

    Sweet corn. It should get tall enough to still get sunlight.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked cindy-6b/7a VA
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    What about an edging herb? I don't think I have enough room for corn. It's a small strip behind the tomatoes along the edge of a bed. I could do lettuce and peas, for the spring, but in the hot weather....switch to?

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    IIRC, crops that can tolerate some shade are beans, greens like lettuce and coles, and some herbs. I always move my parsley and basil into partial shade during the hotter months, but full sun here is a lot more intense than some other areas.

    This article has a pretty big list - onion family is included as well...

    https://www.epicgardening.com/vegetables-shade/

    Note that it's partial, not full, all day shade.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • beesneeds
    last month

    If you like a peppery green, short stemmed nasturtiums. They behave, can thrive in the heat, tolerate tomato shade.. and die back in the fall for easy removal. Also, pretty flowers :) Dill is a favorite tomato slipper for me- grows great and helps the wasp that likes to prey on things like tomato hornworm. Basil and cilantro have liked the full sun break in the summer too.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked beesneeds
  • sandyslopes z6 n. UT
    last month

    Do you like sunflowers? I grow a row of tall sunflowers that reach higher than the tomatoes and seem to get enough sun because they produce lots of seeds. I grow them for the birds, and I've never had them bother my vegetables, so it could depend on what birds you attract. And the sunflowers add some cheerful color to the vegetable garden!

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked sandyslopes z6 n. UT
  • kevin9408
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I'm about to confuse people but few plants need direct sunlight, they only need the minimum amount of Photons measured in Micro Moles each day that the plant has evolved to grow in. Nearly Everything reflect Photons but the reflection will have less energy then the original, and anything you can see reflects photons to your eyes and also to shade.

    How much a plant needs is measured in Micro Moles and determined by a formula referred to as Daily Light Integral (DLI). Chrysanthemums have a minimum DLI of 14, but at a some point your growing spot didn't get enough reflected light to support Mum growth. To put DLI in perspective optimal DLI for tomatoes is 25 to 30.

    Because some low light plants Can't handle high levels they may die before the tomatoes grew taller, so there is only a window of plants you could put there. Some options would be Caladium (8-30) and Hosta (8-30), both adaptable to a high DLI. I don't know how low your DLI goes but what ever you pick the DLI should be well below 14 but may need to tolerate a high DLI. Chinese Cabbage (10-12) could fit you needs.

    To find a plant's DLI requirements googe the question "what is the DLI requirement for XYZ"

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked kevin9408
  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    last month

    If you want fruit on foliage, you need direct sunlight. For example, tomato plants without much direct sunlight will yield a paltry amount of fruit. But that's true, the foliage will grow without it. That's why leafy greens don't need a lot of sunlight. Root crops are not that demanding of direct sunlight.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks Carol, Yes, here in New England the heat is a whole different ball game than Florida. That link had a lot of ideas! I’ve already got Garlic and chives in other areas. I’m very interested in growing Arugula and we do use a fair amount of Bok Choy. Kale can be very pretty. Especially the red varieties. I have seed for some giant red Mustard that is very attractive. I guess I wasn’t thinking these could tolerate that much shade.

    BeesNeeds - I’m surprised that Nasturtiums can grow in shade. They are pretty. I do have Dill in that bed that reseeds every year. Cilantro is very pretty too. And it does look like an actual edger.

    Sandy - I would never have thought of growing sunflowers over the heads of the tomato plant but that sounds like an interesting experiment. Yes, the birds love them. I also use sunflower seeds in Smoothies.

    Kevin, Micro Moles, huh Kevin? I just finished watching a Steve Martin documentary and I can see him using that as a routine in his act. LoL I will try a few Google DLI searches, thanks. And btw, you mention that the Mums lost too much sun at some point, and when I think about that, they start growing in April and they don't bloom until September, so that is a long time to have to keep going. They did bloom last year, but they were opening up in the middle and flopping over. Most of these ideas are for plants that are not expected to be growing for that long. Cilantro is pretty quick to get to flower, maybe 40 days, And they start eariler than the tomatoes. Very interesting. I'm thinking about this in a new dimension. lol

    Dan, No, fruit is not expected. I just want something that is either useful or pretty. Anything that doesn’t look like it’s suffering from lack of sun. I’m not so sure about Beets doing well in some shade. My veggie beds in my backyard, are 5-6 hrs of sun or less in some spaces and I’ve never managed to grow a good beet. And they were 12” raised beds with soft enough soil to do well with root veggies.

    Thank you all, I really wasn’t expecting much but I am surprised with how many good answers you all came up with. I haven't been spending much time in the vegetable forum only because vegetable growing has had to take a back seat in the past few years. But I am reminded of how smart and helpful you all are!

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    last month

    Mums can benefit from a haircut mid-season. It also increases their blooms.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked cindy-6b/7a VA
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    Cindy, yes, I always cut them back or they get too tall and flop. I have a bed with an eastern edge and a northern edge where I have Mums as part of an edging. They would all be in full sun if the tomato plants weren't south of the Mums along the northern edge. They do fine in the beginning of the season before the tomatoes get taller. The Mums were there first, and I've since needed to add the tomatoes there.

    Great point though. Thank you!

  • beesneeds
    last month

    Nasts can be surprisingly tolerant of a lot. I used to grow them pretty plush at the feet of my toms. I groom my toms so the bottom leaves are cleaned off. Nasts have a nice mounding habit with the leaves that can help keep toms chicken legs drier/less dirt kickup from water. But one year the hornworms started showing up. And nasts aren't really a benny there. So I switched to the herbs like dill and cilantro that promote the wasps that kill the hornworms. I haven't seen hornworms the last two years. I'm not doing a tomato main crop this year, just a snacker tomato. Container on the south side of the kitchen porch. I'll likely tuck nasts in there. I already grow a lot of wasp and other bug friendly herbs in the kitchen garden, so a heap of nasts in the tomato container is nice.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked beesneeds
  • marmiegard_z7b
    last month

    I second the basil, if there’s a few hours of sun, & using transplants. My basil struggles with all-day high summer heat& sun. Plus I need a lot of it to make & freeze lest so I want to make use of less sunny areas& same prime sun for tomatoes & peppers. Chard & other greens. Though I have to do most greens before peak tomato weather. Still, a good way to plan your seasonal planting is to get various types of greens going before tomatoes, or before they’re very tall, so the greens leaf out well and then some have good holding time into early summer & do we with much less sun then.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked marmiegard_z7b
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    Bees needs - Thanks, I usually remove a lot of lower leaves on my tomatoes too, just to keep the soil from splashing up on the foliage. I haven’t had an issue with hornworms. I don’t grow a lot of plants and I’m not sure it would be worth it for them. [g]

    When you switch to Dill…is there a Dill that is short? I usually grow a tall Dill and it does reseed. Cilantro is a great idea - we use it and it grows to blooming size pretty quickly and I think it’s very attractive. Just about the right height too.

    Marmiegard - I’m surprised. Why have I always had the impression that Basil required full sun? You are in z7 though, so I assume your summers are hotter than mine.

    I think I will have to try the basil and cilantro and the Nasturtiums and see which one does best.

    We have a lot of rabbits and the tomatoes are grown outside of a fenced area because the rabbits are not interested. So, I won’t be doing greens in that area, because the rabbits would devour it.

    Thank you!

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