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Senior Member
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Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 7:08 pm
Location: Utah Hardiness Zone: 6b

Roma tomatoes grow too much one year and not enough the next

I planted 4 La Roma tomatoe plants a few years back and I got to many tomatoes! But then the next year I planted two, and they did terribly... Is there something about planting tomatoes in clumps that help each other stay stable? How can I get a good amount of healthy tomatoes without getting too many or too little?

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I don't think planting them "in clumps" is the answer. It's just one of those things that keeps gardening endlessly interesting-- every year is different. Where I am, two years ago was a drought year, it was hot and dry all season. I watered and watered but it was just too hot for the tomatoes, they did not do well. Last year was the opposite, wet, wet, wet. We got all the water from the year before, plus all our regular water. It felt like the year of no summer... cool, cloudy, rainy all summer. A better year for the tomatoes but all that constant rain and no drying out was conducive to diseases, which I had to fight. And hardly a good pool day in the lot! This year so far has been gardener's dream year, just gorgeous, enough rain but not too much. .. Hopefully the tomatoes will love it just as much.

Along with the vagaries of weather, the soil is a living thing and changes too. If you planted the tomatoes in the same spot the second year as the first (not a good plan if you can help it) and didn't add more soil fertility, the soil would be more depleted the second time and the tomatoes would suffer, being heavy feeders.

So how many to plant is always a bit of a guessing game. Over time you figure out what the average is and go with that. In a good year you will always have too many tomatoes (unless you like canning, in which case there is no such thing :) ); in a bad year there won't be enough. Oh well...

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

It is always best to have to many tomatoes rather than not enough. I plant 3 rows 10 plants per row each year with usually about 6 different types of tomatoes. Then no matter what the weather does I have enough tomatoes. If there are extras they go to the homeless shelter.

Last summer we had too much rain the tomatoes got early blight and died in July. We had already eaten a lot of tomatoes and I had already canned 100 pints and 11 quarts in mason jars.

Both summers before that were drought. I always dig a hole and plant my tomatoe roots deep so they were ok without water but I watered them every evening anyway. I always croud my tomatoes plants so they will shade each other to keep the tomatoes from getting sun burn. We had a month of 100+ temperatures both summers with no rain for a whole month so I shaded the tomatoes with black screen wire to reduce sun burn. We still came out good with lots of tomatoes on the kitchen table every day and I canned 75 pints and a few quarts in mason jars both summers.

One year I planted a whole row of Roma and canned most of them in pints. Roma are very good in sauce and if you mix 1/2 Roma with 1/2 other tomatoe in soup, chili, etc. it really adds an excellent flavor.

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