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Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

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Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  SisterCat on 1/24/2013, 6:21 am

So, my and my brother (going by "fox" here) are planning to have our first garden this year. We're super excited!

We're tracking down our mel's mix, getting lumber put together, picking out where in my yard to put our boxes... and we're having some trouble with the "planning" step.

The biggest issue right now is Tomatos. We love Tomatos! But.. how many do we need? I've always heard about people who have SO MANY TOMATOS! or SO MANY CUCUMBERS! or SO MANY ZUCCHINI! and they don't know what to do with all of it, so I assumed that tomato plants (and cukes, zucchini, etc) give MASSIVE numbers of fruit. But then, I've been doing some reading, and I see people talking about planning on adding 3 or 4 more tomato plants to their gardens, and it kind of confuses me. They're obviously not drowning in tomatos... Maybe everyone else plants too many?

So, since I cna't seem to find a straight answer on this, I figure I may as well ask it myself:

How many tomato plants do we need? We're planning on feeding three adults at least one salad a day (so we have 3 boxes), roughly. I know part of this depends on what KIND of tomatos we get as well... I know we want an indeterminate tomato, and we will probably practice pruning and have a trellis. But tha'ts all we know, so far.

so, my questions are: what kind of tomatos should we plant, and how many? we don't mind planting a few different types -- we've been used to store tomatos, so we're game to try a few different types right out of the gate. Smile Preferably a tomato that will forgive us for having never held a trowel before in our lives Wink

Thanks so much! :cat:

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  llama momma on 1/24/2013, 6:49 am


So you are saying about 21 medium tomatoes a week for 3 people to have a salad every day. One opinion I read somewhere says 15 pounds production for one plant is good, 50 pounds is very high production. Maybe the short answer for you is to grow as many as you want to make space for, you can always roast the extra then put em into a blender, bag and freeze the extras. I'm very interested in hearing from those more experienced then myself... I will say there are too many factors to say how yours will do. Think it is something you will find out as you try different varieties, keep notes, and become your own backyard expert. To give you an example, for two people in my family, I'm trying about 8 to 10 indeterminates or so this year, hoping to have enough for canning, freezing, fresh eating to last till the following harvest year. It is an experiment and I'm not really sure if I'm underplanning or not. Other members will share their findings I'm sure. You may just want to go to the nursery and pick out a variety of transplants, that will be easier than growing from seed, its how I started a couple years ago.

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  quiltbea on 1/24/2013, 9:02 am

Welcome SisterCat and brother Fox to the forum.

You'll have to learn those answers yourself as you garden. Depends on so many factors; weather, heat, length of season, safety from wilts, etc. Just start out with a basic plan.
If you have 3 boxes (4x4), you can put in either 3 or 4 tomato plants along the north side of each box which you'll trellis or string. Get a few different varieties, from cherry, which can be highly productive and are great for salads, to medium and large for eating fresh but also for roasting and freezing for the winter. Without experience, buy your seedlings the first year. Read what you can online about growing tomatoes. The seed catalogs give you a lot of great info. Find out which varieties grow best in your area of the country. Read especially, the info given about each crop by Mel in his books. If you don't have his "All New" book, then try the library. Its perfect for SFG.

You'll find that you'll learn as you garden. Next year you can tweak the numbers and the varieties you prefer. I find its an ongoing experience for me even after 4 years. There are so many tomatoes out there to try. They say eating different colors give you more health so try white, yellow, red, orange and the really dark wine varieties as you grow as a gardener.

Good luck and enjoy the experience.

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  llama momma on 1/24/2013, 12:55 pm

Another thought, every county has an extension service through the Agricultural University that's in your state. The people at the extension service can also tell you what varieties do very well in your specific area.

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  Hoggar on 1/24/2013, 1:34 pm

I plant for a family of four but only three of us are tomato eaters.
I have settled in to a set of 16 plants all indeterminate, in a 2' x 8' box last year, once every thing got going we had more than enough for regular salads and at the end of the season I moved a couple into the greenhouse and got another 20 lbs that we made spaghetti sauce out of then froze it in family serving size batches. We are fond of the red and yellow pear and Beefsteak toms we plant 2 of each of those and then a different mix for the rest of the squares every year.

Here is a list of the tomatoes planted last season.
Austin's Red Pear,
Yello Pear,
Velvet Red,
Blondkopfchen,
Green Sausage,
Snow White,
Cherokee Purple,
Nyagous,
and Amana Orange.

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/24/2013, 2:42 pm

welcome to SFG forum Very Happy

cherry tomato plants i think are the most forgiving when it comes to just starting out....they come in differnt colors and shapes....and they should give you lots of fruit for your salads Very Happy

happy gardening
rose

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  Roseinarosecity on 1/24/2013, 7:59 pm

Welcome!
This is what I wish somebody had told me 28 years ago, plant what grows well in your geographic area and don't be seduced by the glossy pictures and sometimes over-exaggeration in seed catalogues or the tomato labels in the nursery pots. My sister lives in Alabama so I know it is hot and humid compared to California where I live. Talk to other gardeners to see what grows well for them and why they continue to plant their varieties. Join a garden club to share info and plants, seeds, and the camaraderie. Enjoy your new garden!

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  camprn on 1/24/2013, 9:04 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Welcome!
This is what I wish somebody had told me 28 years ago, plant what grows well in your geographic area and don't be seduced by the glossy pictures and sometimes over-exaggeration in seed catalogues or the tomato labels in the nursery pots....Enjoy your new garden!
+1

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  cheyannarach on 1/24/2013, 9:44 pm

thinking I wantto meet some of these people with too many tomatoes... I could help them out with that hungry

1 or 2 cherry tomato plants should be plenty for 3 of you. Pear tomatoes are my favorite. As for how many larger tomato plants for slicers and such I am not sure as I am still trying to figure this out. But I had 4 cherry tomato plants last year for a family of 5 and we always a bowl full on the counter and they were constantly being eaten! Have fun!

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  cindre2000 on 1/24/2013, 10:47 pm

The only way I could see anyone having too many tomatoes is if they just planted cherry tomatoes. And, even then, there are those who eat bowl-fulls like it is going out of style. Its really not hard to find a way to use extra tomatoes, and there is nothing worse than not having a tomato when you need it.

I grow 16 tomato plants a year (because there are so many great varieties); but I put in 2 cherries, and 4-6 medium's as my stand-bys. Between me and my wife, we eat a lot of BLT's, BCT's, and just Cucumber/Tomato sandwiches.

Isaac

--

Just saw you said you have 3 boxes. I would plant no more than 2 tomatoes per 4'x4' box since they really need a 2' section of a trellis to grow. I plant basil or some shade loving herb between them. I have 8 boxes and this summer I am using trellises on both sides of the box, tomatoes on one side and squash/cucumber on the other side; beans in the middle.


--

Man, I could talk tomatoes all day!

Check out:
Pineapple
Nyagous
Eva Purple Ball
Brown Berry
Kellogg's Breakfast -- You don't get many, but they are worth it if you have the space.
Yellow Pear
Goldrush Currant -- Millions of dime-sized tomatoes!

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  cheyannarach on 1/25/2013, 1:30 pm

Yum, I got pineapple tomato seeds this year and am sooooo excited to try them! I did indeterminates last year 1 per square foot and they did just fine next to eachother. I was pretty good about trimming suckers but not the best.

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  GWN on 1/25/2013, 6:24 pm

I have just planted some chocolate cherry tomatoes today. I thought, that it might be fun just to see how they do, they are early to produce and I thought I might even try to grow them inside. It says 70 days. I got them in a seed exchange.Cant wait

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  Fox on 1/25/2013, 6:26 pm

Hey guys, Thank you all so very, very much for your thoughtful replies. Sister Cat and I have been busy busy the last few days planning and designing our garden. We are working on garden protection structures and the like right now and trying to find a way to protect our trellised plants from animals. (Do you guys get a lot of problems with animals eating your trellised plants?)

Anyway, I just wanted to come by and say thanks for all the answers that have been given. We both appreciate it a lot! Very Happy

-Fox

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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  Pollinator on 1/25/2013, 8:23 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Welcome!
This is what I wish somebody had told me 28 years ago, plant what grows well in your geographic area and don't be seduced by the glossy pictures and sometimes over-exaggeration in seed catalogues or the tomato labels in the nursery pots.

Amen to that. What others swear by, does not always do well here in the hot, humid South. I should also note that varieties that are reputed to do well through the hot weather are only relative - a few days of 100 degrees will stop them for sure. So my strategy is to always plant some early - as much as three weeks ahead of the "normal" planting time for the area - and usually these are the most productive. Later plantings give me much less. Of course I have buckets ready, if there's a frost forecast.

What does well for me here is Abe Lincoln, Ozark Pink, Marion, and Black Krim. All have outstanding taste. For smaller tomatoes, Yellow Pear, Black Cherry, and Black Plum are good. Some varieties reputed to do well in heat are a bust for me. Cherokee Purple always splits and lets bugs and rot get inside the tomato. Homestead succombs easily to tomato disease, and is generally unproductive. Roma is poor, but San Marzano is a good substitute.


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Re: Tomatos -- what kind and how many?

Post  walshevak on 1/26/2013, 4:57 am

My son had much better production of San Marzano than Roma in SE coastal NC. The one in the wicking "pond bed" produced until frost and even managed a fruit or two during the hottest part of the summer. Even the one in the bucket did pretty good.

Kay

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