Companion planting, Oca and Tomatoes

Apparently, Oca make good companion plants, and as that they do not get blight, I thought that I would follow 'Ian the Oca man' and do the same thing, after his very successful trial that he did last year.

As you can see by his results, he did extremely well with both crops.

I had a few spare beefsteak tomatoes which although still fairly small, were suffering with heat in the polytunnel. The packet said 'indoor or outdoor', so as you can see, I have planted them by the Oca.

The variety is Tomato Costoluto Fiorentino, which is a sweet deeply ribbed fruit, making a wonderful stuffer and slicer, also commonly used as a component for sauces. Italians consider this one to be one of the top 3 tasting tomatoes in the world. Very versatile with a rich flavour. A heat tolerant tomato, so some have also stayed in the polytunnel and are looking better already after being planted.

June 28th 2010
My Oka and tomatoes are both growing well despite the lack of rain. I have feed and watered them a few times over the last month. The Oka should be banked up as you would a potato plant and I have started to do this.
At first I thought that I had planted my tomatoes too close to the Oka, but I remember that they do not like full sun, so maybe the shade will help, the only problem being is that I will eventually have to bank up the bottom of the tomato plants as well when the Oka gets a lot bigger, but next year I will leave more room.


  1. Good stocky little plants there! I've grown Cosolutos before and like the taste. The oca should spread by high Summer to help reduce moisture loss from the soil, and the fine roots add a lot of organic matter to the soil.
    I'm trying a denser oca/tom arrangement this year, viewable here, now with toms added:

  2. Well I noticed a few leaves poking through the soil today, looked like clover, so must be the Oka.
    I think my plants were a tad clod this winter, but did have plenty light during the day, so although a little small, at least they are not leggy.
    Leggy plants are difficult to ever get to produce a good lasting crop I find.

  3. Re earthing up, one possible problem is that the tomato's fine roots can be quite close to the surface (tho' this can be minimised by avoiding 'light and often' watering), and these will be disturbed when the soil either side of the row is pulled up for earthing. My heavy crop last year was obtained by just adding mulch about four inches deep along the row. The toms happily rooted in to it, and it cuts down on watering.
    For field-scale monoculture earthing-up is standard practice, but I think it is worth questioning the technique for polycultures or block planting.

  4. Ok Ian, I will just add mulch from now on.
    The only problem is that I feel I planted the toms too close to the Oka, but they have added some good shade over the past very hot weeks.
    I read that Oka does not like full sun. Mind you my tomatoes will be finished long before the Oka is ready to harvest.
    The Oka is looking really good.

  5. No, I'd say your spacing will be fine. As you say, a bit of dappled shade in mid Summer is no bad thing. In any case, pretty soon the oca will be spreading sideways out of the tomato canopy.

  6. Hey Steve, are your oca okay, or did they get the chop from that frost the other week?

  7. No problems with the frost Ian, but I am very tempted to dig around and see what is below the soil. They are all still nice and green,so I presume to early to dig them yet.


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