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I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

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I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  jymarino on 5/8/2011, 3:37 pm

I'm seeing all kinds of conflicting information about how much room toms really need. I have in the garden already a cherry tom and a larger tom. I just bought a big beef, big mama, a salsa tom and an heirloom I can't read let alone pronounce. According to the book I should be able to plant one tom per square and it will do better if I am able to plant it horizontally with just the top sticking out from the soil. Other sources say that if a tom is planted in a 5 gal bucket it will do o.k. but won't do great. A 5 gal bucket is much more room than 1 SF of my box. It is also far deeper so the roots will grow larger I imagine. I don't understand how the toms can grow for a good harvest if they only have 6 inches of MM. I want to be able to plant these tomorrow at the latest but don't want to do it wrong and end up with no harvest in the end. Making another box isn't an option this year so I was thinking of just going with some sort of containers. Thanks for the help!

Jennie

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  stripesmom on 5/8/2011, 3:44 pm

When I've planted tomatoes in the garden in plain soil, they have a very shallow root system. The tops get huge, the roots are not. Six inches of MM is plenty of room for the roots.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  SFG in Chicago on 5/8/2011, 4:04 pm

To plant 1 tomato per square, especially if you're doing several in adjacent squares you really need to prune. Last year was my first SFG & also my first time growing tomatoes. I pruned to 1 or 2 main stems and trellised them. It seemed to me it worked very well. We had plenty of tomatoes, though like I said I have no prior experience to compare yields. It should be noted that my box is 12" so I had more than 6" of MM. The box wasn't completely full though, I probably had 8"-10" of MM.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  dixie on 5/8/2011, 8:30 pm

We have hot, humid summers and blight is a real problem here, so I plant every other square to allow more air circulation. I also prune all suckers & have just my main stem and I use light weight metal fence posts for staking them. (When I get behind in suckering & some of them get kind of big, I put them in a jar of water & they root quickly, then I transplant them into the garden. It's a good way to have late tomatoes.) I had a bumper crop last year with plenty to eat, give away and to can.

The varieties I grow are all indeterminate, so determinate types might do better with planting in each square. I'll have to check out some new varieties next year & try a determinate type.

I'm trying 5 gallon buckets this year for the first time, but I've already learned that holes in the bottom of the bucket are not enough - mine got water-logged & turned yellow. (but we did have massive amounts of rain.) I dumped the mix & put in a couple inches of gravel in the bottom, then refilled the buckets & put in new plants.

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I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF.....

Post  sherryeo on 5/8/2011, 9:01 pm

In addition to trimming the "suckers" - the little stems that start growing between a leaf and the main stem, you can also, if needed, trim the tops once they get as tall as you'd like to allow. Trim the suckers so that only one or two main stalks grow. This will direct more energy to tomato production. Planting it more horizontally with just the top sticking out makes the plant stronger, root-wise because it will grow roots along the buried stem. It will still grow up toward the sun. It's not necessary to have a really long length of stem to do this and probably works best with young transplants that are still limber.

Acara is just about the best tomato-grower, I've heard, on the forum. I've tried to post a link to an old post where he describes his more extreme way of pruning tomatoes. You might want to have a look at it to see if it's something you'd like to give a try.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5187p90-2011-tomatoes-wha-cha-growin?highlight=tomatoes

If the link doesn't work, just try searching for the "2011 Tomatoes! Wha'cha growin'?!" thread. (The search link on the bottom of the "latest topics" on the left works better for this in my opinion. It's on the 7th page of that thread. I'm sure he's posted more info on his method, but this is the one I was able to find.

I hope this helps. Don't get stressed out about it! I did that, too, when I first started (still only in my first months here on the forum), but the more experienced sfgardeners on here taught me to relax and just have fun with it. As they put it, "it's just seeds!" (Ok, transplants might be a bit more expensive, but still replaceable if need be.) Very Happy

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  CindiLou on 5/8/2011, 11:39 pm

@dixie wrote:We have hot, humid summers and blight is a real problem here, so I plant every other square to allow more air circulation. I also prune all suckers & have just my main stem and I use light weight metal fence posts for staking them. (When I get behind in suckering & some of them get kind of big, I put them in a jar of water & they root quickly, then I transplant them into the garden. It's a good way to have late tomatoes.) I had a bumper crop last year with plenty to eat, give away and to can.

The varieties I grow are all indeterminate, so determinate types might do better with planting in each square. I'll have to check out some new varieties next year & try a determinate type.

I'm trying 5 gallon buckets this year for the first time, but I've already learned that holes in the bottom of the bucket are not enough - mine got water-logged & turned yellow. (but we did have massive amounts of rain.) I dumped the mix & put in a couple inches of gravel in the bottom, then refilled the buckets & put in new plants.

I cut the bottoms off my buckets for tomatoes. I had so many from one plant I was freezing them lol...With only two of us it doesn't take many tomatoes. This year I am going to try pruning...I had a forest from just the one plant that was over the 5' tall cage and coming back down! But my tomatoes didnt get sun scald! They hid in the foliage!

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  boffer on 5/9/2011, 12:48 am

Here's an old thread with some good info.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t4156-tomato-roots#32137

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  acara on 5/9/2011, 7:04 am

No worries ...you can plant 1 tomato per square in yr SFG per box with no problem, as long as it's an undeterminate variety (the determinates sometimes require more space than that).

"Going vertical" using a single stem technique, with either a stake or trellis, makes it a lot easier & you'll have to trim/prune a little ....

Post up what your planting & a couple of pics and thee are plenty of people here who can guide you through it as you go.

There are also several folks here who can help you if you choose to go with containers ....

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  jymarino on 5/9/2011, 10:30 am

Thanks everyone! I do have two toms in the boxes and got some containers for the other four and the eggplant. I may put the eggplant in one of the boxes, haven't decided yet. It is good to know that everything should grow just fine.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/9/2011, 6:14 pm

@jymarino wrote:According to the book I should be able to plant one tom per square and it will do better if I am able to plant it horizontally with just the top sticking out from the soil. Other sources say that if a tom is planted in a 5 gal bucket it will do o.k. but won't do great. A 5 gal bucket is much more room than 1 SF of my box. It is also far deeper so the roots will grow larger I imagine. I don't understand how the toms can grow for a good harvest if they only have 6 inches of MM.

I think we are all forgetting the power of MM. A tomato plant wouldn't likely grow in one square foot of plain old dirt/topsoil. And, you may need to mulch with a little compost halfway through the season, if really paranoid. But, a single square for an indeterminate tomato plant and 6 inches of properly mixed MM will be fine.

Last year I grew 4 tomato plants in 4 inches of MM and had no problems whatsoever. The roots really spread out to grab nutrients. Just make sure you grow vertically up stakes or trellises.

Glad to see you made it back to the forum. Hope you dodged the tornadoes, Jennie.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  jymarino on 5/9/2011, 6:23 pm

We dodged them by two miles or less. Down the St Charles Rock Road it is a royal mess but it didn't even touch where we are.

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Dumb question

Post  MSJ on 5/9/2011, 6:45 pm

Okay so maybe this a dumb question but how do I know if the tomato is determinate or indeterminate? Does it tell you on the label?

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/9/2011, 6:50 pm

MSJ, most often the label will say Determinate or Indeterminate.

If not, check some of the seed company web sites for the paticular variety, the information will be there.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  Tril on 5/9/2011, 8:01 pm

1st time SFG'er... I bought three tomato plants before I knew about determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. I checked my tags today... all three are indeterminate. Off tomorrow to find some LONG posts. LOL

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  shannon1 on 5/10/2011, 5:09 am

@MSJ wrote:Okay so maybe this a dumb question but how do I know if the tomato is determinate or indeterminate? Does it tell you on the label?
Sometimes they say bush instead of determinate or vineing instead of indeterminate.

I believe the only dumb questions are the ones left unasked, no one was born knowing this stuff.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/10/2011, 6:56 am

@MSJ wrote:Okay so maybe this a dumb question but how do I know if the tomato is determinate or indeterminate? Does it tell you on the label?

Never is there a dumb question:)

When I buy a tomato and forget to look if its determinate or indeterminate, I google the answer. This year I have only indeterminate Smile last year I had some unknowns given to me by a friend they were determinate as well as the indeterminate that went crazy over the 8 ft trellis they had I just let them come back down the side Smile I plan to do that again for those again this year and have staked all others with the exception of a a few cages.
I have so many tomatoes growing right now, Im amazed at them Smile
Ha-v-v

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  Kelejan on 5/10/2011, 10:56 am

shannon1
"Sometimes they say bush instead of determinate or vineing instead of indeterminate."

Finally, I was going to ask what is the difference between determinate or indeterminate, so thanks for that, shannon. Very Happy

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

Post  quiltbea on 5/10/2011, 12:19 pm

Kelejan.....I always remembered the difference this way, indeterminates grow to indetermined lengths and keep growing.

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Re: I don't understand how vining toms can be grown in just one SF....

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