Wilcox03
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Community Garden Plot Concerns

this is my first year doing a 5x5 plot in our complex's community garden. Its a mostly retired community, so a lot of the gardens are impressive. I'm kinda of newbie to the plot thing, and to gardening as well. someone noticed the other day that my tomato plants were planted "close" to my neightbors tomato plants. Unfortantely BOTH my plot neighbors (see image below) have tomato plants bordering my sides. I put my plants there cuz I was worried if I put them on the south end, next to the empty plot, that they would hinder the other plants from getting enough sun. Now, the person who mentioned this is a nosy person, and managment didn't say anything nor do I think the plot neighbors have either. But being a newbie, I want to play garden "etiquette". Though there are no rules really given with our plots, except keep it weed free and where to put your tools. I planted my starter tomato plants this last Sunday and they are caged. My plants are about 6 inches from the plot line and both my plot neighbors are at least a foot from the plot line. I know my plants aren't going to get as big since I didn't put as much work in to the soil and me being new and them seasoned gardners. :wink: DO you think its going to be an issue by the illustration I attached? I can pinch them back, right if they get too close? I haven't seen my plot neighbors yet, we seem to be out at different times, so I haven't had the chance to ask them about it. Am I over worrying? Advice? Suggestions?


[img][img]https://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/wilcox03/gardenillustration.gif[/img][/img]


If you can't see the image well, here's a direct link:
[url]https://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/wilcox03/gardenillustration.gif
[/url]

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Kisal
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You might want to check Hendi-Alex's post on this thread for some advice:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14692

You can also type tomato spacing into the search box at the top of this forum page and find several threads that relate to your question.

My opinion? Your plants are too close to your neighbor's. Not because they won't produce well, but because tomato plants can get quite large, depending on the variety, and if the leaves don't have sufficient space/ventilation/sun exposure, it can encourage the spread of diseases.

Wilcox03
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I had to put up plastic "netting" (like chicken wire, but plastic) around my plot to keep away the geese. Do you think that will in some way help keep the plants "separated"? Is it even possible to transplant one of my tomato plants to the south end of my garden? I planted them Sunday. So will the cages not help any either? sorry with all the ?'s...a little new. ;) Thanks for the advice!!!

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Kisal
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The cages probably won't help much, because the plant will grow right through the openings. (That's the way the cages are supposed to work.) The netting might help, depending on the size of the mesh. If it's 1-inch or larger, the plant will grow right through that, too.

You can safely move your plants at this time. The roots won't have grown much in such a short time. Be very gentle with them. They may be a bit wilted until they get reestablished, so water them well. You might even want to use a bit of fish emulsion, or whatever product you can find that is supposed to help plants resist transplant shock.

All this is just my opinion, though. Someone else may advise that you need not move them. I just would if they were mine, if only to reduce the possibility of them catching any diseases from the neighbor's plants. It would be equally acceptable just to leave them where they are and take your chances with them, hoping that the neighbor practices good garden hygiene. [img]https://bestsmileys.com/clueless/4.gif[/img]

Wilcox03
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Thanks! I feel a bit encouraged now. It was getting a little stressful for a moment. :) I'm not overly worried about the neighbors plants and "hygeine", just don't want to make people mad over where I planted them and cause plot feuds. LIke I said, no one has mentioned it to me, and I had people over at my plot talking to me and they didn't seem like they noticed either. *shrugging*. It was just the nosy office lady who made it a point to make it her business to tell me after a complete off topic conversation. I'm thinking the owner, who she said noticed the spacing of the plants, would have told me by now if it was THAT much of an issue....at least that's what I'm telling myself to keep myself less stressed out. :oops: :wink:

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applestar
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In my experience, tomatoes planted 24" apart (which is what I usually do) cross leaf branches. hendi_alex's 36" spacing probably leaves sufficient space that the leaves just touch or so. Now, the usual assumption is that underneath, the roots extend AT LEAST as far as the leaves.

So, above ground, your tomato leaves will end up squashed up against the netting, your plot neighbors will too, I expect. The crowding plus a little wind action resulting in fence-rubbed/damaged leaves will most definitely invite disease and insect pests.

More importantly, though, BELOW GROUND, the roots will be competing for moisture and nutrients.

Don't worry, I've moved my plants a number of times. Even prepared with detailed graph paper plans that I've pored over for hours, somehow, I inevitably mess it up and have to re-locate a plant or two. My gardening season doesn't begin without doing that, it seems. :oops:

Just try to remember how deep and how big the plant's rootball was, and dig a few extra inches bigger. Using a garden spade rather than a little hand-trowel always works better, though I do have a half-sized spade that I usually use for transplant re-location. (Shows you how often I've had to do it.) :wink:

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Kisal
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:lol: Applestar, I have one of those lovely little shovels, too! I've certainly done my share of "garden rearranging" after I set my plants out for the year! :lol:

Excellent point about the root spread and competition for water and nutrients, BTW! [img]https://bestsmileys.com/thumbs/3.gif[/img]

Wilcox03
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WOW! yes, good points indeed. I think I will be transplanting that little sucker after all. Thanks for the tips!!!

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freedhardwoods
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I set my tomato plants 4' apart and about 2 1/2' from the edge to be able to run my tiller through them, but I have a big garden. What caught my attention on your map though, was the cucumber plant. I plant my cucumbers 5' apart. One plant may take over your entire 5'x5' plot.

Wilcox03
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I had a fellow gardener tell me that I could easily use the same kind of cage for tomatoes to help "vine" my cucumbers on, she said it would also help with air circulation. Any other ideas? First time planting cucumbers. :)

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freedhardwoods
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That might help, but I don't think a tomato cage is big enough. I have had some cucumber vines get 8'-10' long, and there are usually 3 to 6 of them per plant. I think I have heard of some people using a trellis on them. Someone else can probably answer better than me. I have enough room to just leave everything on the ground.
I have 3 gardens this year. 30'x30' for flowers, 30'x90' with several different things, and a 20'x150' sweetcorn "field".

Wilcox03
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wow...that is a very large garden. I did get some positive light with the tomato cage idea today when I talked to a girlfriend who did it with her small garden and cucumber plant and I guessed it worked fine. I'm hoping I get the same luck! :wink: Guess we'll see! :)

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Gary350
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It looks to me like your tomato plants are going to be your tallest plants so I would put them in the center of the 5x5 plot to get the most sun I could possible get. I would put all the other shorter plants around the tomato plant.

I plant a 20 x 40 garden and I do a very compact garden. I plant things much closer than they should be planted. It takes practice to know what works.

5x5 sure is a tiny garden. Cucumbers take up a lot of space you may have have trouble keeping it in the 5x5 space. You can move the vines around and through all the other plants and direct it to grow where you want it to grow it can be grown cover for your whole garden plot.

You can plant your bush bean seeds 2" apart in a short row. This will maximize the tiny garden space.

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