Marigolds & 'Maters
Some years are just better than others for tomato plants. We’ve probably all watched that awful brown, blight creep over what looked to be promising, plump fruit. So this year, my husband walled off a new garden and lined the edges with marigolds – the well-known companion plant of tomatoes.
He may have put a few too many of those autumn beauties in, but all of a sudden both fruit and flower have taken off. It’s as though they’re Thelma and Louise – headed right for my kitchen table.
But what are the benefits of growing these two together? Gardeners have always sighted the pungent smell of marigolds to ward off bugs and critters. Recent research studies confirm another reason for companion planting marigolds between tomatoes - the pretty flower protects the tomato plants from harmful root-knot nematodes in the soil. (It is recommended to chop the marigolds with a shovel and work the chopped plants into the soil when the season has ended. This is an effective way to use marigolds for nematode control.)
Science aside, these two are what is known as “compliments” in the garden. Can they survive without one another – yes. But taking the journey together adds an element of help that shows up in the results. At the very beginning of the Good Book, it states: “It is not good for man to be alone.” Did God give him a mate exactly like him – no. Quite the opposite. God made for him and from him – the very thing he was lacking, and visa versa. Isn’t that interesting? Yin needs yang. Sunny days need rainy days. Positive needs negative – to thrive.
I know I have found in my husband (and in many of my friends) that the differences we face challenge me and help me to grow stronger. And I truly believe that is the key to our country’s strength – the very confrontational two-party system, where nobody has total control, keeps us in check.
So the next time you bite into a delicious tomato, remember that relationships don’t always have to be smooth sailing to be beneficial. Political parties don’t have to agree on all issues. Bosses don’t always have to applaud your every effort. It takes a little rain to make a rainbow.
(If you’d like to read what NOT to plant beside your tomatoes: click here. )