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How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

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How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  reicho on 4/6/2010, 3:03 pm

I am planning to grow some indeterminate tomatoes this year (Cosmonaut, Matt's Wild Cherry amd Black Krim). I want to know how deep I should make my box. This is the first time I will be trying this method and will be starting from scratch. Should I make an extra deep planter or will a regular planter of 1 foot be sufficient? Thanks.

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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  pattipan on 4/6/2010, 4:37 pm

You only need 6" of soil to grow tomatoes. That's the beauty of Square Foot Gardening! I planted 12 indeterminate tomato plants last year -- one per square -- on the north side squares of two different boxes (a 2' x 8' x 6" foot box and a 4' x 4' x 6" box). I used the conduit trellises and had a bumper crop of tomatoes! The vines were to the top of the trellises and going over. When I pulled them up last fall most of the root system was within its respective 12" square with a few feeder roots going out to an adjacent square. I canned tomatoes quartered, made salsa, soup, juice and pizza sauce...and that's not counting the ones we ate fresh!

If you use the standard 2" x 6" boards, the soil is actually less than 6", but it's all you need! Do you have Mel's newest book? Be sure to read through it so you'll understand the basics of SFG'ing. It will soon become your gardening bible. :o)

Patti


Last edited by pattipan on 4/6/2010, 8:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  boffer on 4/6/2010, 5:02 pm

I can second Patti's experience. The more you water, and the more nutrient rich the soil is (I used only mels mix and no additional fertilizers or supplements), the smaller the root structure will be.
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  scoobe on 4/6/2010, 6:21 pm

This is my first ever garden be it SFG or otherwise. I used 2x8 boards because of the "sinking" factor. I know I over think everything. It has settled to 6". I have already harvested 2 heads of cabbage, and I have nearly 5 dozen tomatoes in various states of development. Although I am a bit perplexed with mt brussel sprouts. They seem to be growing well but no fruit yet. They have been growing since November. Maybe I did something wrong. Be that as it may I will endevor to persevere just because it is so much fun to start with nothing but a seed at bring it all the way to fruition.
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Thanks for the help.

Post  reicho on 4/6/2010, 7:40 pm

I appreciate the feedback. I can't wait to get started. Now I just have to read the book!

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I haven't had the same experience!

Post  manitoak123 on 4/9/2010, 1:18 pm

This is my third year SFG'ing and after the past two years of my tomato plants toppling over during summer storms I doubled up my box in hopes they will have a deeper root system. The first year I used traditional staking and tying and last year I used tomato cages, both failed to hold up the plants when they were heavy with fruit. My dad has had similar issues and doubled his box last year and didn't have a problem with his plants toppling over.
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How Deep a Box Do I Need for Tomatoes?

Post  donnainzone5 on 4/10/2010, 12:45 pm

My neighborhood is fairly windy, although we do not experience gale-force winds.

I use two different types of tomato supports, the tomato tower Mel recommends, and coated metal supports I purchase from Gardener's Supply Company. Not one tomato plant has blown over. Six inches should be plenty, if you use sufficiently stable supports.
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  JonRigby2005 on 4/14/2010, 11:03 am

Anyone ever use the "Florida Weave" method of growing a row of tomatoes. I am a huge fan of this method in my row garden, and will definately incorporate into my sfg. It would be easiest and most practical if you were planting a full row of tomatoes (I always plant lots of maters.). Prune all suckers, and weave in and out of horizontal strings everys 6" as high as you want to go.

Jon

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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  camprn on 4/14/2010, 11:14 am

@JonRigby2005 wrote:Anyone ever use the "Florida Weave" method of growing a row of tomatoes. I am a huge fan of this method in my row garden, and will definately incorporate into my sfg. It would be easiest and most practical if you were planting a full row of tomatoes (I always plant lots of maters.). Prune all suckers, and weave in and out of horizontal strings everys 6" as high as you want to go.

Jon
got any pics?
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  boffer on 4/14/2010, 11:14 am

I'd love to see a picture of the weave. When it comes to growing tomatoes in the PNW, expertise is hard to come by due to uncooperative weather.
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  Wyldflower on 4/14/2010, 12:05 pm

No pics, but here's what seems to be a fair description of Florida Weave for tomatoes on Wiki-How...


Ohhh.. there are pictures HERE on FineGardening.com
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Florida weave trellis system

Post  pattipan on 4/14/2010, 12:20 pm

Image linked from finegardening.com:



Here's a really nice video that shows the weave in action at Johnny Selected Seeds -- neat tool they use to weave the string! There are also some EXCELLENT pruning tips for tomatoes too!

http://www.growingwisdom.com/index.aspx?pid=9&sid=1&cid=341

Patti
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  boffer on 4/14/2010, 12:31 pm

Oh, OK, I admit to mis-reading Jon's post. I thought he was weaving the vines amongst themselves.

I think I have tomato envy for folks in climates where they can count on good weather to grow tomatoes every year!
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Re: How deep a box do I need for tomatoes?

Post  JonRigby2005 on 4/14/2010, 4:15 pm

I only use one string every 6", only steak every 6ft, then weave the plant from one side to the other. Tomorrow, I will get a picture of my Tomatoes and my "Florida Weave". I usually train up to about 5', then try to train the plants back down to the ground, then back up. LOL, you gotta love FL.

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Re: How deep a box for tomatoes

Post  ander217 on 4/14/2010, 5:23 pm

Has anyone grown determinate varieties of bush tomatoes such as Rutgers, in a SFG? They are not supposed to be staked, but can be caged.

I have one Rutgers plant under my grow light and I'm not sure the best way to grow it in my SFG box. My other tomatoes are indeterminate and will be planted against a trellis. I don't think I could get one of those cone-shaped cages to sink deep enough in a SFG box, so I'm stumped as to how to grow it without staking it. Would the roots go deep enough to anchor it without any support?

My mom used to grow nothing but Rutgers, and she just let them sort of fall over and ramble in her garden where they would keep producing until frost. I like to grow at least one Rutger's every year just 'cause they were Mom's favorites.
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