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tomato spacing

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tomato spacing

Post  dixie on 4/7/2010, 6:12 pm

I posted my question as a reply to someone else's, figured I would redo it as a new post;

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: tomato spacing

Post  timwardell on 4/8/2010, 12:52 am

IMHO peppers would be preferable to another tomato. While peppers do have their share of leaves and can get tall, I've yet to see one that is as bushy or full as a tomato plant. Therefore, I think your circulation would improve with peppers in every other square. ... In another thread I mentioned that I'm not planting my tomatoes all in a row this year and one of the reasons is that I felt they had poor air circulation last year. Granted they were along a fence, but still...

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  CPN on 4/10/2010, 12:19 am

As a new SFG, It makes me very nervous too see discussion about not planting tomatoes next to each other. Honestly, I am still unconvinced that tomatoes spaced 1 foot apart are going to work. After I planted my SFG and looked back remembering how huge tomato plants get by mid-summer, I was thinking no way in heck is this going to work. I know... prune suckers to control growth. But still.... Heres to hoping I have at least a enough tomato for a nice tomato sandwich!

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  dixie on 4/10/2010, 1:03 pm

CPN:
I found a post on another forum from a guy in my area & PM'd him about tomatoes. Below is his reply.
His post was from 2007, don't know how long he's had SFG, but in 2010 he's still at it.

"I'm in Soddy Daisy across the river from you and yes I still do SFG'ing.
The beds I plant my tomatoes in are 4 x 16 and I plant 32 plants in them.
As you can tell, I plant them every other foot/square. So far it has
worked for me. I get enough tomatoes to last through the summer, can, and
make sauce for a family of three. I've tried planting peppers with them
before but the tomatoes tend to shade them out. I am fortunate enough to
have enough boxes that I don't need to plant anything between them. I plant
my peppers in a 4 x 16 and they get 1 square each. Sounds crowded but I do
have to give peppers away so again, it works for me."

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  CPN on 4/10/2010, 9:44 pm

@dixie wrote:CPN:

As you can tell, I plant them every other foot/square. So far it has
worked for me. I get enough tomatoes to last through the summer, can, and
make sauce for a family of three. I've tried planting peppers with them
before but the tomatoes tend to shade them out. I am fortunate enough to
have enough boxes that I don't need to plant anything between them. I plant
my peppers in a 4 x 16 and they get 1 square each. Sounds crowded but I do
have to give peppers away so again, it works for me."

Thanks for posting Daisy. But again doesn't help my concerns any as he plants his tomatoes every other foot. That is not what Mel says to do in his book. It says one per square foot. Period. I mean it either is okay or isn't which again I am just unconvinced with all the talk I have seen on the here in regards to spacing them farther. I am not one to bend the rules. I like to do things by the book. So if the book says plant them in 1 SF that is what I am going to do. (And what I did) I purchased the book to instruct on how to plant this way as I am not familiar with SFG. If it is better to not plant them 1 per SF due to disease, pest, air circulation, etc... then it should say that. I just basically have no idea! And I tend to worry and fuss over things anyway.... Just hoping I have a tomato to eat this year! LOL

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  shocks20 on 4/10/2010, 10:23 pm

This is only my second year doing SFGs, so I'm definitely nowhere near an expert....Last year, I planted three tomato plants next to each other, no spaces between them. I had no clue about pruning them, or pinching off suckers (or whatever they're called!). I planted a grape, roma and big boy. I had soooo many grape tomatoes! They were actually much bigger than the grape toms you buy at the grocery store, so I made lots of salsa with them! The roma plant didn't do so great, as it was hidden under the grape and big boy plants. The big boy did well too.
I also planted my peppers next to the tomatoes and they didn't do well at all. I think this was because the tomato plants got so big.
This year I am going to plant every other square with my tomatoes. I think if you prune them and have good support, you could do every square. Good luck to ya! Smile
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Re: tomato spacing

Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/10/2010, 10:50 pm

No expert here, but if you are planting every square, then you definitely will need to prune and trellis. If you use tomato cages, then go with what Mel suggests for bush tomatoes -- 1 in a 2X2' space or 3X3' depending on which book you are going by. Actually I am growing bush in a 2X2 space and two indeterminates (vining) caged each in a 3X3'.

Planting a determinate (bush tomato) like Roma in with indeterminates would never be a good idea since the vining tomatoes would shade them too much.

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  CPN on 4/10/2010, 10:54 pm

Ha! And here we have yet another person who does not plant their tomatoes 1 per every square!

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  titans01 on 4/10/2010, 11:24 pm

No idea how well it's going to work but I plan on planting them 1 per square. I'm actually kicking around the idea of making 2x4 boxes and planting 8 tomatoes in them. I plan on pruning them as well.

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  CPN on 4/11/2010, 9:20 am

Oh yea! Finally someone that is in this with me! Let us know how you progress.

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  Crystalheart on 4/11/2010, 11:39 am

I checked with a friend of mine who has been SFGardening for years and she says indeterminate tomatos or vining type are planted 1 per sf and need a vertical trellis. She doesn't bother planting determinate or bush tomatos as they take up so much room.........3X3 according to "The All New Square Foot Gardening".

If you want to grow bush tomatos, why not plant in a container of Mel's Mix and supply a tomato cage? Then you can use your box squares to grow something else. I hope this helps.

Good Luck!
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Re: tomato spacing

Post  timwardell on 4/11/2010, 10:10 pm

This link was posted on another thread. Some good info about tomatoes.
http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/pruning-tomatoes.aspx

The same link also features a video on pruning tomatoes:
http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/videos/pruning-tomatoes.aspx
I gotta' say this guy is way more intense about his pruning that I'd ever consider. I like a "bit" of bushiness to mine.

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  CPN on 4/11/2010, 10:15 pm

Thanks very much TIM!

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  TheJH on 4/22/2010, 10:24 am

I tried 1 per square foot and it was too crowded for me. But give it a try. You will never know till you try it. I always follow the directions the first time so I have a base line. I learn and tweek to meet my needs. Don't be so wound up about it, this should be fun! You should get 'maters even if it is crowded.

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  desertgirl on 4/22/2010, 11:05 am

I agree-this is suppposed to be fun! Last year was my first year SFGing (before reading Mel's book) and I actually planted up to 3 plants per square. I got tons of tomatoes, but it did get pretty crowded in there. This year I have 1 per sqaure, many are next to each other, both determinate and indeterminate varieties. We'll see what happens.

I figure the first few years of this should be experimenting and perfecting what I like and what works for me, then I can develop a system and go with that.

Until then, I'll try anything once, and if I like it I'll do it again!

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  Wyldflower on 4/22/2010, 12:32 pm

I am thinking of planting my tomatoes in every other square along the north side of my 7x4 box - which would give me four tomato plants and three free squares to allow lots of root-space. I think I'll try planting lettuce in the 'betweens' because they'll be shaded and maybe do okay even in summer. Does this make sense? Or should I give in to my tomato urge, and plant 7 vining tomatoes across the trellis (which I still have to build)?

I have to admit to 'newbie excitement' and I've planted twice what I should in some squares (Brussels sprouts - 2/square instead of one, and onions 16/square instead of 9)... I hope the Brussels sprouts do okay ... the onions, I'll thin out as the season progresses, so I'll have green onions early, thus allowing space for the bulb onions.

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Re: tomato spacing

Post  junequilt on 4/26/2010, 4:52 pm

With fingers crossed, yesterday DH and I planted our first two tomato plants of the season in our new SF box, hoping mightily that these plants will be spared the disease that pervades our soil (we even put a bottom on our box to try to prevent it from creeping up into the Mel's mix, although it will probably do so within a few years). Having read all the comments in this thread, we also decided to give our Early Girl and Better Boy two squares apiece, so they will have plenty of room to grow and great air circulation.

Thanks, everyone, for all your experience and willingness to share!

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CPN.... count me in!

Post  Dietryin on 4/26/2010, 7:56 pm

@CPN wrote:Oh yea! Finally someone that is in this with me! Let us know how you progress.

This is my first year planting a garden. I am following the book- 1 per sq ft, 16 plants all together. Call me crazy! If it is going to work...it should work like the book says.

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I think it might depend on the variety

Post  kiwirose on 5/11/2010, 10:21 am

Sungold cherry tomatoes (in my experience) do quite well planted 'on top of each other' in a regular garden. This is my first year sfg but last year I was out of the country for quite a while in the early summer. I had a lot of volunteer sungolds from the previous year sprout in my regular flower garden and while it pained me to thin them, I did - to around a foot apart. It was my best year ever I think - way too many to eat. I suspect if I put a sfg in the same spot that I would do even better with mels mix - good soil (I have heavy clay which is still not great even after I ammended it). I haven't any experience with other kinds of tomatoes in such close proximity though

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