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gixxerific
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How close do you guy's plant your Tom's

The way I did it was with stakes (I'm am going to try round cages this year). I would make them 2+- ft. square and run row of these with a stake every 2+- feet. Than I would string them up in line, you get the idea.

The thing I'm getting at is I didn't leave space between the 2 ft. squares (which would be more rectangles when done) But I did leave room between the next row. Are you following me?

Do you guy's leave space between each plant in the same row or keep them together. I'm just wondering if they get enough air/light that way. My tomatoes always fill up the cube they are in and then some so I can't be all wrong.

Plus is North/South rows a must. I could do it either way and I do get full sun from sunrise to sunset.

What are your tricks?

Me explanation was kind of confusing so here;
https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC02591.jpg?t=1264814915

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Kisal
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I garden in containers now, but back when I planted in the ground, I was careful to space my plants to allow room for plenty of air and light between them. If I recall correctly, I planted my tomatoes about 3 to 4 feet apart, depending on the variety. Spacing the plants helps to limit the spread of certain insects and diseases, as well as allowing for easier weeding and harvesting. JMO. :)

As for whether the rows must run north/south, I don't think it matters all that much. If you can run them in that direction, the idea is that the plants are less likely to shade each other as the day progresses from morning to evening. If you only have space to run the rows east/west, though, then I'd say do it. Better a garden laid out east/west than no garden at all. :)
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gixxerific
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Thanks Kisal I keep coming up with new ideas of placement you just helped me think of something different. Trouble is I don't have a lot of room and a lot that I would LIKE to plant so we shall see how things shake out.

by the way I like the new Avatar 8)

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soil
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im going to say it depends on how you grow your tomatoes. we grow ours vertically and space them about 18 inches apart. when i grew them in cages and such it was more like 36 inches.
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gixxerific
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soil wrote:im going to say it depends on how you grow your tomatoes. we grow ours vertically and space them about 18 inches apart. when i grew them in cages and such it was more like 36 inches.
Here is the thing that has had a bit confused since forever. Does 18 inches apart mean between the plants expected borders or 18 inches seed to seed. :oops:

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soil
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for me its 18 inches stem to stem.

but do what is best for you in your situation really
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gixxerific
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I wasn't saying was going to do 18 just using that as an example to understand the spacing. I normally did 24 stem to stem. Like I said I have some ideas kicking around that may be different than I have done but still not waste any space.

Actually Kisal's post made it click what I want to do.

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rainbowgardener
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This has been discussed here before and there is a wide variation of what people do:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=92468&highlight=spacing+tomatoes#92468

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=101431&highlight=spacing+tomatoes#101431

Interestingly enough in the first one above stella says: Three-feet equidistant for me. Sometimes, the bed shape doesn't cooperate, and I wind up with one or two that are anywhere from 30" to 34".

In the second link stella (same poster) says:

I squeeze a quite a few plants into my 4'x8' beds, ... I put eight tomato plants in one, and they do just fine.

The math on that does work out... If you start with plants in the corners, you can put 4 plants 30" apart down the length of an 8' bed

Here's one more take on it:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=34911&highlight=spacing+tomatoes#34911

The thing is the answer is "it depends." It depends on whether/ how much you prune your tomatoes. Some people remove most of the leaves, which would make it easier to space them closer together, without reducing air circulation/ spreading disease. It depends on how they are staked. If you are growing them more vertically you can grow closer together. It also depends on how you feed your soil. Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Stella who puts 8 tomatoes in a bed is also big into compost tea, foliar feeding, multiple and repeated soil amendments. You will do better crowding your plants if you work that hard on feeding them.

So everyone has to figure out what works for them, with their personal combination of how they do things.

Personally I put 6 plants in a 4X8, because I like to put other things with them. That bed has broccoli in it, that is planted there well before the tomatoes go out. By the time the tomatoes are getting big, the broccoli is done and gets pulled. But I also put marigolds, nasturtiums, onions and sometimes some basil in there for companion planting.

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gixxerific
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Thanks Rainbowgardener for the links how do you find these things. :?

Anyways I am going to try something different, for me at least. I think I will plant one tomato with an empty space next to it than another tom. With plants in between them such as basil, lettuce, nasturtium just smaller crops. Maybe 2 tomatoes than a space than 2 or 1 tomatoes. We will see on planting day. :lol: I sometimes even let a few go on the ground,why, i don't know because they never do well, oh wait it's usually because I run out of stakes. DOH! :P

Please forgive all my questions I'm just nervous this is really the first year I have ever really planned out everything. I have done so much work and research I'm scared it will all go bad. Next year will be much easier, I hope. :wink:

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Dono,

I plant my tomatoes different each year because I rotate them from bed to bed. The only consistent things I do are the following.

I grow in raised beds (normally 4' X 8')
I grow in 18" X 6' cages
I purposely grow very crowded (three plants per cage)

In the 4' X 8' beds, I place four cages lined up in the center of the beds. I then plant summer squash along the edges of the beds and either peppers or eggplant at the corners.

This year, I built a new bed that measures 24" X 3'. I will rotate my tomatoes to the new bed by lining my cages up in a single line with about 18" between each cage. Each cage will again hold three plants. The space between each cage will be filled with two heirloom tomato plants. Behind the cages will be a 7' wire fence which will grow vining, climbing tomatoes the full length of the bed. When all the plants are large and producing, it will be a seven feet tall, wall of tomatoes.

I never worry much about doing things the "right" way. I simply enjoy trying different things. They don't always work, but sometimes they do.

I will post some photos of my tomato wall after I get it planted. I will be starting my seed next week. I will probably put the plants in the ground during the first week of April.

Ted
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gixxerific
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I'm kind of doing what you are doing minus the toms in between cages. I also don't do things the same every year.

I would love to see the pics of your technique. Everyone has their own idea of how to do things. Just trying to get ideas and pick and choose the best for me than modify to my likings.

You, if I remember right, have a WHOLE LOT more space than I do to play with things. I have to be more choosy in order to get everything planted that I want to.

It will all work out in the end I just need to stop worrying. I never did before and always did pretty dang good for myself. :D

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rainbowgardener
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gixxAgree re the stop worrying! Everyone does things differently and the thing is most of them work!

Tedln -- planting your tomatoes so super crowded, does that mean you do a lot of pruning? What about feeding them, what do you do to feed that many tomatoes in a limited space? Have you had trouble with blights or diseases?

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rainbowgardener wrote:gixxAgree re the stop worrying! Everyone does things differently and the thing is most of them work!

Tedln -- planting your tomatoes so super crowded, does that mean you do a lot of pruning? What about feeding them, what do you do to feed that many tomatoes in a limited space? Have you had trouble with blights or diseases?
My climate is very hot and dry during growing season. We usually have a pretty good breeze blowing. The plants don't seem to get fungus. I don't prune at all. When branches extend out of the cages, I simply tuck them back in. The extra thick foliage seems to protect the tomatoes from sun scald.

I feed my beds during the winter by working in lots of organic material and giving it plenty of time to decompose before planting my tomatoes. My new 24 foot bed was started by putting three inches of soil in the bottom followed by two inches of composted saw dust and horse manure. I kept layering the dirt and sawdust until the bed was overfull. I kept the bed damp since late September and turned it over last week mixing the compost and dirt thoroughly. It seems pretty rich and should feed the tomatoes well through the season. If I feel the need for more nutrients, I will try some compost tea in mid summer. My biggest concern right now is how to get enough calcium to the plants to prevent blossom end rot. I water on a regular schedule with soaker hoses on a timer so the plants shouldn't be stressed for water, but I'm not sure my soil mix has enough available calcium. Blossom end rot usually shows up pretty early in the season and can be stopped by applying some gypsum or crushed limestone, but I always hate to lose those early set tomatoes since they usually grow to be the largest.

Ted
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rainbowgardener
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Well when I said above everyone has to figure out what works for their situation and how they do things, I should have included climate. Tedln is growing in a very different climate from me. My tomatoes have to deal with hot, very humid, tons of rain (last year especially), cloudy/hazy all the time... They don't need to be protected from sunscald, they need to see the sun more. And I think I would have way too much problem with diseases if I crowded them like that.

That's why this stuff is interesting / complicated and there are rarely general rules that work for everyone! :)

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gixxerific
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Spot on Rainbow, tell me about humidity oh wait don't. I'd rather forget about all that mess. Sure it's not Florida humidity but still. :x

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rainbowgardener
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Just bumped back in to another thread where people talked about spacing tomatoes:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20728&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Someone here said has to be 5 -6 ft apart. So we have a range of 0 ft apart (3 in one cage) to 6 ft apart. Aint life interesting! Like I said above, I'm sure all of these variations work for the person doing it.

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While I plant very crowded, I think the best rule of thumb is to give the tomato plants plenty of room to allow for aeration. That should help prevent the onset of fungus problems and possibly the movement of fungus from plant to plant.

The only reasons I plant close and crowded are because I know I can in my normally hot, dry climate and I believe the practice increases production for a given space. I believe that tomato plants have a genetic propensity to either produce a lot of fruit or just a few fruit according to the variety. Since I plant Better Boys which seem to want to produce lots of fruit, I think I get triple the fruit in the same space by planting triple the plants. If the plants have sufficient food and water, they don't seem to mind being close to each other.

I tried the same thing last summer with Bell peppers. It was a total failure. I planted a few groups of plants with three plants in each group with the root balls touching. I also planted single plants properly spaced away from the other plants. They all received plenty of water and food. The single plants grew nearly four feet tall and produced large peppers all summer. The grouped plants started off well and had a lot of small peppers which would not grow larger than golf balls. The grouped plants only grew to about two feet tall. When the mid summer heat arrived, the grouped plants died. The single plants survived the heat and started blooming and producing again when the late summer weather cooled.

I just like to try different things, but what I learn is only applicable in my climate and my soil and water conditions.

Ted
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