banyandreams
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Can I grow tomatoes directly in the field?

Can I grow tomatoes directly in the field?

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Grey
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Hi banadreams -

Tomatoes really grow best with staking, depending upon your climate and soil, yes you can grow them in the field. They can grow on the ground without staking, but the fruit tends to rot that way. Some varieties can also be grown from a hanging basket
.

opabinia51
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Grey is abosolutely, 100% correct. :wink:

It is a good idea to stake the tomatoes when growing them in a field and don't forget to sucker them (pinch off the new growth beneath the established branches) as this will increase your harvest.

Also, in a field; be mindful of the fact that tomatoes are heavy feeders and that you should not grow them in the same place every year and that crop rotation with legume (preferably several legumes) is a great idea.

Use more than one legume in your rotation (at one time) and mix say peas, vetch and so on with soil builders like buckwheat (you can eat the young greens so, double bonus), (I think Phacelia is actually a N fixer but, you can check that out), Dandelions, perhaps some daikon where you lop the tops off and leave the roots to decompose, and so on.

Also, with this rotation the following season, you will find that the tomatoes will be healthier, grow better and provide more food because with the healthy mix of N-fixers and soil builders, your soil will be healthier and therefore; so will your tomatoe plants.

I'm actually just going to grow Tomatoes and a few other plants in my garden this year so, we can compare notes, if you'd like.

CT
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Yes, it's reasonable to allow determinate/bush types of tomatoes to sprawl naturally. Bush Celebrity would be a perfect example, there are many others. Large indeterminate tomatoes really do best if staked or grown vertically. I'm particularly fond of Silvery Fir Tree (a small determinate) and I just let it go as it desires.

opabinia51
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Hi CT,

that's interesting that your experience has been that determinate tomatoes will stand alone. I have always had to stake my determinates or they fall over upon reaching full size and are laden with tomatoes.

Goes to show, that in different climates, soil conditions, etc that plants will grow differently.

Thanks for the contributions.

LoreD
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banyandreams,

Are you talking about planting seedlings in the field or direct seeding in the field?

If you wish to direct seed you can only do this in tropical areas, although I have had volunteer (that grew from fallen fruit) tomatoes that have equaled the performance of my seelings.

I think we need a little more information.

LoreD

CT
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opabinia51 wrote:I have always had to stake my determinates or they fall over upon reaching full size and are laden with tomatoes.
They will spawl, which is not the same as standing erect, nor is it exactly falling over. It's more of a natural "bush" growth habit versus a forced vertical growth habit. Hope that clarifies!

opabinia51
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Hi CT, you find with your determinates that the tomatoes tend to have fungal infections ( the black, field tomatoe look)?


Oh and Banyan,

You can just drop spent tomatoes into the field and in the spring you will have tomatoe plants springing up everywhere which, you will then have to thin and stake accordingly.

CT
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opabinia51 wrote:Hi CT, you find with your determinates that the tomatoes tend to have fungal infections ( the black, field tomatoe look)?
No. All I can say is give it a try with a plant or two. If any tomato plant is left to grow on its own it will sprawl. Since determinates are smaller and bushier to begin with, allowing them to sprawl works well in many cases. There are no more or less disease issues involved.
opabinia51 wrote:You can just drop spent tomatoes into the field and in the spring you will have tomatoe plants springing up everywhere which, you will then have to thin and stake accordingly.
If you are working with hybrid tomatoes, the volunteers that sprout may or may not grow true to the parent plant. As a result, you may be surprised or disappointed with the outcome. :)

opabinia51
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Yes, CT that is very true. If you have a Hybrid tomatoe that is say, Dominant Red (A) and Recessive Black (a)(Heterzygous) (which just means that there is more lycopene (the red pigment in tomatoes, which is really good for your heart) ) and it is crossed with a black tomatoe
Aa X aa then you will recieve seeds that have a 50:50 chance of being Red or Black.

Aa X Aa then you will recieve seeds that have a 25% chance of being Homozygous for red (AA), 25% chance of being Homozygous Black (aa) and 50% chance of being Heterozygous Red (Aa).

It's a little more complicated than i've depicted above because there can be codominance where traits are blended and of course there are other combinations that I have not shown here.

The fun is that you really never know what you are going to get because nature is a random basket that you draw a card from. And who knows, you might stumble onto some new and exciting hybrid.

CT
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F1 hybrid parentage may include rather unappealing tomatoes that are bred into the line for their disease resistance, or for any number of other traits

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