How to grow dry-loving herbs and planting companion plants round our tomatoes

Growing dry-loving herbs
  • Thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and tarragon do best in dry, warm conditions. They’re also known as aromatic or Mediterranean herbs.
  • They like completely opposite conditions to the wet-loving herbs like coriander, chervil, mint, dill and sorrel. It’s best therefore to plant them in completely differently places in the garden (or in separate pots or planters) so you can look after them differently.
  • Parsley and chives straddle the two types as they can handle warm and cool conditions, but they need lots of watering.
  • Basil has its own set of requirements. It only thrives in warm soils and hot, sunny weather but likes lots of moisture and lots of nutrients in the ground.
  • Dry-loving herbs don’t like a high-nutrient soil. They like an alkaline soil, so a good dressing of lime on the soil before planting will set them up well.
  • Dry-loving herbs are perennial plants so will last at least a couple of years in the garden, and longer if well looked after. In spring when they’re looking woody, give them a hard trim back and they’ll reward you with strong, new growth.
  • They have a lovely flower that attracts beneficial insects and is also edible.
Planting companion plants round tomatoes
  • Basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes because it likes the same slightly acidic soil that tomatoes do. As a rule of thumb, if things taste good together, they’re a good companion plant.
  • Some of the different basil types:

    Sweet Genovese – general, all-round basil
    Lettuce – larger leaf variety and good for making pesto
    Greek Mini – works well in a pot on your windowsill; the smell of basil is a fly repellant
    Purple – adds colour to a summer salad
    Lemon – adds zing to salads; works well with fish
    Thai – suits Asian cooking; spicy, anise-clove flavour

  • Flowers of the basil plant are edible and taste like their leaf.
  • Plant two basil plants per one tomato plant. Slugs and snails love basil. See here for how to get rid of slugs and snails.
  • Beneficial flowering plants bring in parasitic wasps and hoverflies and repel unwanted bugs. Companion flowering plants for tomatoes need to be low-growing. We suggest marigold, catmint, nasturtium and phacelia.
Tying up our tomatoes
  • Use a soft T-shirt ribbon so as not to damage the stems.
  • Delateral tomatoes only when the sky is blue and there’s a gentle breeze (ie when it’s not humid) as infection can occur when you break stems off your tomato plants in humid conditions.
Planting out early season potatoes


Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
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