If you consider growing your own small salad garden to have fresh ingredients ready at the snap of a finger, you might consider an Aerogarden. The most common salad ingredients are tomatoes and, of course, lettuce. So the last question you might ask is can you grow Tomatoes and Lettuce Together in an Aerogarden?
Tomatoes and lettuce make great companions in Aerogardens; however, one can still over-dominate the other if you don’t keep up on trimming and pruning. Crowding and growth speeds are the main issues with pairing these two plants together in an Aerogarden.
Continue reading to learn how to combat the growth speed predicament and why this pair is an excellent choice for your Aerogarden.
What is An Aerogarden?
An aerogarden is an indoor garden, but more specifically, it’s an indoor gardening system that you fit on your table. It uses a unique system of hydroponics and adjustable grow lights to provide you with the perfect environment to produce fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Different kinds of plants require different variations of aerogardens. You want to be smart about what you combine in your aerogarden. Use plants that have the same light, watering, and nutrient needs.
Why Do Tomatoes and Lettuce Work Well Together in an Aerogarden?
Tomatoes and lettuces grow very well together in both outdoor and aerogardens. Here are a few reasons why.
- Holds Moisture
- Lettuce is a great thing to grow around your tomatoes indoors and outdoors because lettuce creates a “blanket” on the soil below. This “blanket” holds a lot more moisture in the soil and allows the tomatoes to suck up as much as possible.
- Prevents fungal disease
- Although having your plants indoors already dramatically decreases the risk for disease, it can still happen. Since the soil holds moisture, as mentioned above, this also prevents fungal diseases from getting to the tomatoes.
- Holds Space
- Since lettuce doesn’t take much to grow, it’s a great space filler indoors and out!
- Same pH
- Luckily, tomatoes and lettuce prefer nearly the same pH to thrive. Tomatoes do best with a pH of 5.5-7.5, while lettuce does best at 6.0-6.5.
Problems With Growing Tomatoes and Lettuce Together in Aerogardens
Although there are some benefits to growing the two together, there are some things you should be aware of before you sow your seeds.
- Germinating tomato seeds typically takes a little longer than lettuce. Tomatoes can take 1-2 weeks, while lettuce takes one week exactly.
- Since lettuce matures faster than tomatoes, they will grow faster in an aerogarden. You can cut the tops off to prevent your lettuce from overpowering the tomatoes.
- Different nutrient levels
- Tomatoes like a heavy dose of nitrogen in their soil, while lettuce could do without so much. If you put the right amount of nitrogen in for tomatoes, your lettuce may get a bit burned on the tips of its leaves.
Benefits to Growing in an Aerogarden
You may be wondering, why grow in an aerogarden at all? Why not just grow outside or in a greenhouse? Below is a list of benefits of growing in an Aerogarden.
- Grow all year round
- The most significant benefit of having an aerogarden is growing your vegetables and herbs year-round! This is especially beneficial to those who live in an area that has a short growing season.
- All aerogarden pods are non-GMO and pesticide-free! Creating healthy, organic foods for you to eat.
- Easy gardening
- The aerogarden is fool-proof. You don’t need a green thumb or the time to get outside and work in the garden! Aerogardens are a great way to grow your food easily. Furthermore, they don’t require the backbreaking work that outdoor gardens sometimes need.
- Fewer bug problems
- Aerogardens can get the same house pests that your house plants can get. However, they are more protected from many other nasty bugs that decimate your crops outdoors.
Germination For Your Aerogarden Salad
Tomato plants germinate in approximately 1 to 2 weeks in an Aerogarden and need to be planted 18-24 inches apart. Lettuce, however, germinates in around one week, and the plants only need to be about 12 inches apart. So lettuce plants would make fantastic space fillers in your Aerogarden!
Planting the tomato plants first (since they germinate slightly slower) would give you a good idea of how many lettuce plants you can fit in the remaining space and match harvesting time for the companion plants better.
Growth and Maintaining Growth Speeds
Lettuce plants grow slightly faster than tomato plants and can be ready for trimming as soon as three weeks after germination; you can crop off about 2 inches from the top of each lettuce plant a few times per week. Pruning will help manage the fast height growth of the lettuce and prevent it from growing too much taller than your tomatoes.
If the tomato plants are too shaded by the lettuce, it could stunt growth and, if left for too long, could cause further damage to the tomato plant, or vice versa. Tomatoes are ready to harvest in about five weeks and need to be pruned every other week to prevent overgrowth.
What Can’t I Grow With Tomatoes in an Aerogarden?
Aerogarden comes in seedpod packages that have everything you can plant together. The big question is if you can mix and match packets. Of course, tomatoes and lettuce aren’t in a package together, but there is no harm in combining them. Herbs and tomatoes also go very well together. Unlike outdoor gardens where tomatoes and peppers can thrive together, in an aerogarden, they should not be mixed.
In an aerogarden, tomatoes and peppers usually get to about the same height (24 inches), and they most likely would battle each other for resources along the way. You might get sumptuous tomatoes and not-so-good peppers, or vice versa. Tomatoes and peppers tend to spread out heavily, and for the same reason of battling for nutrients, it’s not a good idea to combine the two.
It is essential to think about the height of all your plants. Since aerogarden tomatoes typically grow to 24 inches, you don’t want to plant something that will get blocked underneath them.
Both tomato and lettuce plants can continue producing for up to a year in an aerogarden if adequately cared for and cropped regularly. Though the two may not seem like they could grow together, you can make it work with a little TLC. Remember to care for them and prune both plants so they aren’t battling resources. These two healthy foods go well together on a plate and in the garden! Happy Growing!
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!