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What To Plant After Tomatoes – A Garden Crop Rotation Guide

Gardening can be an enjoyable activity for most of the year as long as you know what to plant. There are plenty of plants you can add to your garden after tomato season ends, usually in late September. So, what can you plant after tomatoes?

Since tomatoes are heavy-feeders, your garden will be best equipped to support light feeding plants in the autumn, such as carrots, dill, beetroot, onions, and legumes. These plants will be able to thrive in soil that’s already supported your tomato plants.

If you want to learn more about the plants, you can add to your garden after tomatoes and why it’s important to rotate your crops, then read on! Our guide will walk you through the best plants you can plant after tomatoes and why rotation is necessary for your garden.

What To Plant After Tomatoes?

Since tomatoes are such heavy feeders, your garden won’t be equipped to support another crop with the same feeding requirements. That’s why light feeding plants that can handle autumn temperatures are the best options for planting after tomatoes.

Some of the best plants to introduce to your garden at this time are:

  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Legumes
  • Onions
  • Beetroot
  • Coriander
  • Dill

These plants are ideal for planting after tomatoes because they’ll work well in soil that’s already been supporting tomato plants. Of course, you’ll still want to add some fertilizer to help your new crops grow, but you won’t have to worry about this fall crop completely depleting your soil of nutrients and leaving it unsuitable for planting next year.

Legumes are most gardeners’ first choice to plant after tomatoes. Plants in this family include peas, beans, peanuts, clover, and alfalfa. This is a great crop to rotate in after tomatoes because the root system of legumes will restore nitrogen to your soil.

That will be a tremendous benefit to your garden after a crop of hungry tomato plants. Carrots are also a great choice to plant after your tomatoes because the tomatoes will have left the soil absent of weeds, which will give your carrots more room to thrive.

What Not To Plant After Tomatoes

Just as some plants, such as legumes and carrots, are perfect choices for planting after your tomatoes, plenty of plants won’t do well after tomatoes. Following tomatoes, some of the plants that you should avoid rotating into your garden are broccoli, cabbage, corn, and any plant in the nightshade family.

Plants in the nightshade family include peppers, eggplants, and potatoes. These plants have very similar feeding requirements to tomatoes, and they can deplete your soil of its nutrients. This can leave your soil unsuitable for planting the following season.

They’re also more prone to diseases that could affect your tomato crop the following year if you plan to plant in the same spot. Potatoes, in particular, are vulnerable to early blight and late blight, which can take out your entire crop.

You should avoid planting leafy greens such as broccoli and cabbage after tomatoes for a similar reason. They need a decent amount of nitrogen to thrive, just like tomatoes and will leave your soil depleted of its nutrients. 

Certain plants can attract insects to your garden that will harm your crops. Corn attracts tomato-eating worms, and these critters can destroy your tomato crop the following season. It’s best to avoid planting corn in the same garden as your tomato plants, regardless of year.

How To Prepare Soil After Tomato Plants?

You’ll need to prepare your soil after tomato plants to prepare it for a new crop. Whether planting legumes or carrots, you can’t just plant them directly into the soil once you’ve finished harvesting your tomato plants. 

The first thing to do is to remove any supports you’ve put in place for your tomato plants. You should remove any trellises, stakes, cages, and ties. Clean them up to prepare them for your next crop and store them somewhere safe.

Next, you need to remove any remnants of your tomato plants from the garden. Pull up any remaining tomato plants, collect any dropped fruits, and pull out the roots. It would help if you discarded any plant leftovers or burned them.

You may be considering working your leftover tomato plants into the soil to create some organic compost, but this comes with some dangers. Any disease or insects that affect your tomatoes will get into the soil and harm your future crops. It’s best to dispose of your leftover plant remanents instead to keep your soil safe for further planting.

Your final step is to turn the soil. You can use a tiller/cultivator or a spade to work the soil. This will promote some aeration which will help eliminate any microorganisms that could be harmful to your future crops.

Once that’s done, you can begin preparing to plant your next crop!

Why Do I Need To Rotate Crops After Tomatoes?

Rotating your crops after tomatoes will improve the health of your garden’s soil and encourage the production of your crops. Tomatoes are heavy feeders that will eat up a lot of the nutrients in your soil. Rotating in lighter-feeding plants will allow your soil to replenish itself so that your crops have the nutrients they need to thrive.

Another reason for rotating crops is it helps prevent insect problems and soil-borne diseases. Plants affected by the same diseases as tomatoes, such as those in the nightshade family, can create a breeding ground for pests and diseases that can leave your garden unsuitable for planting for years.

Rotating the crops in your garden will ensure that your soil has plenty of nutrients and your crops thrive. Legumes and root vegetables are great choices for planting after tomatoes, while leafy greens like broccoli or plants in the nightshade family need to be avoided.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of great options for planting after your tomatoes. Legumes are an excellent choice because of their nitrogen-restoring roots, and carrots will appreciate a soil free of weeds, thanks to your tomato plants. Remember to avoid planting crops vulnerable to diseases or pest infestations, such as nightshades and corn. Rotating your crops will keep your garden and plants healthy and happy for years to come.