Great cooks make it look easy. They pull together a variety of dishes and manage to have everything on the table at the same time. It’s all in the timing.
For three years now, I’ve tried to plant the tomatoes and basil so that they’re ready to go at the same time as well. I love caprese salad, and the novelty of growing two of the three main ingredients is fun.
Here’s one of our salads from last summer.
In prior years, the basil took off, and the tomatoes took a long time to catch up. This year all the tomatoes self seeded in late winter, sending me scrambling for basil. I purchased a small plant from the nursery, and planted it near the volunteer potato. It was about the same size as the tomatoes when it went into the ground, so I patted myself on the back and figured a job well done.
Something devoured my plant! I’m not naming names or anything, but their initials are ‘S’ and ‘S’. Those slippery, slimy garden pests noshed my lovely plant down to the nubs. Boo!
Now here we are three weeks into spring, the tomatoes are taking off and the basil is…well…gone.
I was chatting with my friend Kirra today and she mentioned planting her basil by mistake too close to the tomatoes. Then it hit me. Last year I planted the basil and the tomato side by side without any problems. Since tomato leaves are poisonous, I wonder if the proximity kept the S’s away? It’s worth a try.
Just before hitting the publish key, I searched the term ‘tomato companion planting’ and you’ll never guess what came up: basil! Last summer was a happy accident. So I’ll be headed to the nursery for another small plant, and now I know exactly where it should go.
Do you have a favorite summer salad?