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Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 6:59 am
Location: Georgia

need help with tomatoes! (growing tomatoes in small spaces)

I only have a 20' x 20' plot, space is tight. For 2' (1 meter) that's only 10 plants per row; for 3' spacing, 6 plants per row. Neither is an effective use of my space.

I want to grow more in less space w/out stressing out the plants, which will make disease/infestation from bugs more likely.

Don't want my plants competing for light either.

All of my types are determinate; I have two dwarf types too. I'm not talking about trellising/caging; this is supporting the plants, but doesn't conserve space to my knowledge.

There is vertical gardening, but I don't know much about it. Does anybody have ideas with it? I'd prefer it to be simple and not extremely time-consuming, if possible.

Green Thumb
Posts: 358
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: MD Suburbs of DC, 7a

Midori, 1 meter is 3', not 2', actually it's closer to 3.3'. I've played golf on courses measure in meters and have to add 10% to the length so I have my yardage correct. A 20'X20' is a nice sized plot here in the DC suburbs. Have you thought about container gardening for some of your tomatoes? That way you have some room leftover for other veggies.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3604
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

If you grow indeterminate and prune to a central leader, each plant can be grown in one square foot. I don't know if such pruning will work with determinate varieties however.

Green Thumb
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Hi Midori and welcome,
As Hendi_Alex just alluded to, its pretty standard knowledge that people don't prune determinants. Why not be sure to choose varieties that are blockbuster producers. Cherry tomatoes are mostly extremely productive, and some of the larger very high producers such as Neves Azorean Red, also have great flavor and high disease resistance. If you go to Tatianastomatobase.com, you can see exactly all the info about thousands of tomatoes including photos.

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Posts: 30488
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

One way to conserve space and plant closer is to increase depth of good soil. What mind of planting bed do you have?

If your location is humid during the tomato growing season, you are limited by the need to provide plenty of air space to prevent fungal diseases. So ultimately, single stem culture of indeterminate a might be your best fallback, however.

It IS a good idea to review the available varieties as recommended. Also, what is your goal? If you are growing determinate varieties, it sounds like you are looking for a big harvest all at once, but it IS possible to stockpile small harvests in the freezer and process them all at once later.

I'm trying a number of dwarf and compact varieties that are described as good for growing in containers again this year. Those would be another away to increase your planting "space".

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