How far apart should my tomato plants be from corn?

kurango(10a sunset 22)May 7, 2011

In the book "Carrots Love Tomatoes" it says "Don't plant tomatoes near corn because the tomato and corn earworm are identical."

My question is . . .

1. How far apart should they be? A few feet? Several yards? Not in the same yard? Next county over?

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That is one of the problems I have with such books. You see, the Tomato Hornworm is NOT the same as the Corn Earworm. And the common Fruitworm will infest several different types of veggies in the garden, not just corn or tomatoes.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:23PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Corn worms are corn worms and tomato worms are tomato worms. You may never see either or they may infest each other no matter how close or how far apart you plant the two vegetables because their parents have wings and fly all over the garden to lay eggs.

The school of companion planting isn't all it is cracked up to be and never really caught on because too much of it is misleading and inaccurate information based on assumptions that just don't hold up in actual practice.

The only real concern for most gardeners is if your corn will shade the tomato plants too much or vice-versa. But if you want to experiment with companion planting then I suggest you post your question over on the Companion Planting forum here.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:43PM
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I agree with fusion, corn ear worm & tomato Fruit worm are the same & will eat most any fruit. Or many other then corn & tomatoes. The tomato horn worm ONLY eat Night shade plants: Tomatoes,peppers,egg plant,potatoes & tobacco.
The THW is the larvae of the sphinx,hawk moths.
But I never heard of not planting them together.
I plant tomatoes & egg plant, peppers together, so I will not rotate them into each others beds. This is because the pest for one is the pest for all. Like the Root-knot-nematode which will infest the fig tree, so do not plant night shade plants near fig trees.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:10AM
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Here, let's know what we're really discussing:

On a practical note, when the adult moths will fly a couple of miles to find a mate or an appropriate host crop for their eggs, will 20 or 50 or 100 feet of isolation space make any real difference? Probably not IMHO.

Your best bet is heavy use of Bt powder during the summer. I spread it around my garden on various crops about every 10 days. Alas, I admit that I do not get black swallowtail or monarch larvae in my yard, but I also don't have problems with cabbage worms or corn earworms or tomato hornworms. Unless I forget for at least a month. The beauty of Bt is that it's safe, cheap, and easy to apply. I use my "Dustin' Mizer" and do it on a windy day for maximum dispersal. Biologic warfare at its best.

Here is a link that might be useful: Corn earworm aka tomato fruitworm

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:31AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Just discovered that you posted this same question on 4 different forums here so we are duplicating answers all over the place.

For future reference you might want to make note of the forum use instructions/guidelines. That way you avoid having your posts deleted and/or getting warning emails from admin.

Before posting a message, make sure you have chosen the most appropriate forum from the list. Off-topic posts will be deleted at our discretion. Please do not post the same message to multiple forums.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:30AM
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I get tomato fruitworms, Helicoverpa (Heliothis) zea (zea= corn.) I've never grown corn -- I feel like it is too much of a space-hog for my garden. That doesn't stop the moths from laying their eggs in my yard, though. I also don't regularly use Bt or any other insecticide, organic or otherwise. I grow flowers that are attractive to parasitic wasps, and watch for eggs and signs of the fruitworms (and pick them when possible.) The problem is almost always self-limiting -- I lose some tomatoes, but I see signs of parasitized eggs by early August.

Space your tomatoes as far away from your corn as you want them. Don't make that spacing decision based on this pest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Fruitworm IPM info from UC Davis

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:52AM
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A few feet.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:30PM
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Corn is a super heavy feeder and leaves the soil drained depleted of nutrients. I gave up corn for this reason. I rather have good soil for other veggies.

Tomatoes also feed heavy. both also drink a lot of water. I would not want the roots close together.

Once you grow corn on an area it is best to do a 4 year cycle. that means very little push on that land the next 3 years to build it back up with green manure cover crops.

Corn is not suitable for a back yard garden.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Last year my tomatoes grew into my corn and used it for support. My neighbour couldn't figure out what I was growing. It worked out well for the tomatoes. The season was too short for the corn.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 10:06AM
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