Can spinach and tomatoes be grown together in a raised bed?
I have a raised bed garden that gave a great yield last year. My question is if Spinach and Tomato plants can be grown in close proximity of one another. It is my understanding that spinach needs shade, and my goal is to use the height of the tomato plant to provide it. Would this be possible?
Wayne County Michigan
There is no reason that tomatoes and spinach cannot be grown near each other.
Tomatoes are a warm season vegetable and need hot weather and lots of sun. Spinach is a cool season crop that does not tolerate hot weather or it bolts (goes to seed and gets bitter). The temperature is going to play a role in its growth, not just the light. Spinach does not need shade. It is somewhat shade tolerant. There is a difference.
Typically, spinach is planted early in the season and is out of the garden in July and then replanted for a fall crop in late July or early August. Tomatoes are there for the hot stuff and struggle in cool weather.
You can try growing spinach in the shade of the tomatoes and see what the results are. To be synergistic, the sum of the two together have to be more powerful than each counted as a separate. I don't think this quite makes that definition. You could grow leaf lettuce in the shade of the tomatoes and it would be about the same thing. You will just have to determine if the crop is good enough to continue doing this other years. If we have extremely hot weather, it has a bigger chance of failing.