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About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

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About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  CPN on 4/7/2010, 10:07 am

This is my first SFG. I have always grown tomatoes the traditional way, never pruning suckers. I am planning to follow this book and plant tomatoes 1 sq. ft apart and prune suckers. However, I am having this visions of scrawny little plants with minimal tomatoes because I have pruned them all off. I plan to plant around 8 tomato plants. Will I have enough tomatoes to eat and then some??? Smile

Also, I have major concerns about my Sweet 100 Cherry tomato plant and pruning. I will only have one of these planted which is always more than enough when not pulling suckers. But still concerned about pruning this one at all. Thinking about putting it in a corner and not pruning?

Lastly, I have Purple Hull Peas I want to plant. Does anyone have any advice on how many squares to plant (9 plants per square per SFG book) to get a nice mess?

Any advice or comments appreciated.
Thanks, Parrish

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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  boffer on 4/7/2010, 11:23 am

I believe the key to everyone's success with sfg, is the use of mels mix and grids. Beyond that, there's room for personal preferences and experimenting. I would suggest doing a comparison test this year. A few plants the way you are accustomed to growing them vs. trying the new way suggested by Mel. That is how I slowly got my gardening off the ground and onto tabletops over a five year period.

'A mess of peas' aptly describes my pea squares. I plant 4 squares at a time, 2 weeks apart, 4 times a season. I plant 9 per square as suggested, but always throw in a few more, just because. That's for the two us, plus 2 dogs that love to help harvest. In the middle of pea harvest time, we do have to give some away.
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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  timwardell on 4/7/2010, 11:53 am

I agree with boffer. Last year I tried purple hulls but only planted 4 per square (don't ask me why - I think I got the spacing confused with another crop and never bothered to double check). I wish I had done 9 per because I never got a decent mess of them.
As per your tomatoes you might also try a middle road - prune some of the suckers, but not all. Last year I planted 5 tomato plants in a row (5 consecutive squares across a long bed) and by not pinching every single sucker, I had tall and full plants (though I'm not planting them right next to each other THIS year).
Gardening - even SFG - is as much art as a science. It's okay to bend the rules and experiment a bit. Very Happy
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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  CPN on 4/7/2010, 3:36 pm

Thanks for replys. Why not put the tomato plants in a row if you want to? I mean either you can plant a tomato in a square foot (which I am just not yet convinced) or you can't, right? Also, I was trenching my tomato plants and broke one in half. I have never had to bend plants when planting them. Do yall think it will sprout leaves and grow. It had a nice root ball.

thanks,P

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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  boffer on 4/7/2010, 4:21 pm

I grew 5 early girls in a row last year, they did fine. Generally, it's my practice to spread things out, just cause I can.

Well, now you know how hard not to bend a tomato stem! You get a feel for it, just like developing a feel for how tight is tight before the bolt breaks.

I read in a post recently that someone broke the stem and put it in vermiculite and water. It grew roots, was transplanted and produced. I've never tried it.
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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  dixie on 4/7/2010, 5:59 pm

If you really need to bend a tomato stem, let it get pretty dry & slightly wilted. (Even though it hurts to see them wilted).

Also, I usually wait way too long to sucker my tomatoes so the suckers are good sized when I do. I always pop a few of them in some potting soil (this year it will be Mel's mix!) & keep them damp so I'll have a few late tomatoes to plant. THey always root. (The reason you bury the tomato stem as much as possible when planting is so it will put out roots all up the buried portion).
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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  dixie on 4/7/2010, 6:03 pm

Now my question about spacing: We have very humid summers, a lot of trouble with tomato blight. I had planned on planting a tomato every other square & offset the next row so they won't be too close. Do you think I could plant a pepper plant in between? or would I be defeating my purpose of keeping air circulation.
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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  timwardell on 4/7/2010, 8:39 pm

CPN wrote:Thanks for replys. Why not put the tomato plants in a row if you want to? I mean either you can plant a tomato in a square foot (which I am just not yet convinced) or you can't, right?
I'm not planting my tomatoes all in a row this year because:
1) the row is/was against my fence and I felt they didn't get enough air circulation
2) it makes it to easy for a tomato horn worm(s) to move from plant to plant - keep them separated a bit allows a chance to find the buggers
3) I wanted to mix things up and do something different from last year.
I did plant 1 per square last year - with the squares right next to each other and mine did fine - but not great, but that was true of most people in my area. It just wasn't a great tomato year in Dallas.
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Re: Tomato Spacing

Post  Momma Pajama on 4/7/2010, 11:21 pm

CPN wrote:Thanks for replys. Why not put the tomato plants in a row if you want to? I mean either you can plant a tomato in a square foot (which I am just not yet convinced) or you can't, right? Also, I was trenching my tomato plants and broke one in half. I have never had to bend plants when planting them. Do yall think it will sprout leaves and grow. It had a nice root ball.

thanks,P

I think that you could possibly root the plant top, I don't think the root will send up a new stem. I overwatered Sad one of the Brandywine tomato starts my sis-in-law gave me and the stem rotted off right at the soil line. I mounded up the soil around the stem and it started to grow new root hairs. I then repotted it in a gallon pot and buried it deep. It's a bit shorter than its sister, but healthy and doing fine! Much better than starting over!
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Re: About tomato spacing. Need reassurance

Post  CPN on 4/10/2010, 12:21 am

I put the tomato plant (root ball with only about 3 inches of stem in a pot by itself and I put the top with leaves in water on my kitchen windowsill. I will let you guys know what happens.

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