How close can I plant row of tomatoes?

jimmcquade65March 26, 2009

If I plant indeterminant tomatoes 1 foot apart (as in the square foot method), can I plant 2 rows beside each other in a block? I dont have enough room to make separate 4'x1' trenches as suggested, and I want to grow as many tomatoes as I can. Will there be enough light for the 'northernmost' row to produce?



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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Jim - If they were 2 feet apart, I feel they would work great. But, I don't know about 1 ft.....


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 4:41PM
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Dan Staley

You're going to have trouble with 1 ft indeterminates in a row IME. You need air circulation and room to move and work. Plant a couple in containers instead.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 7:01PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Jim...I cant understand why you would have any trouble...for years I have only grown indeterminate tomatoes in 1 square foot. I wouldn't do it any other way. It works fine...send me email address if you would like to see what it looks like...I must be some kind of lucky gardener or something..

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 8:36PM
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I've been thinking about this myself. My wife and I are newbies and we just built two 2x10 (12") deep boxes that run North-South. So we're trying to figure out the best use of the space. We were thinking of running a trellis on the 10' side of one of the beds and planting 6 ind. tomatoes, 2 cukes and 2 summer squash running North-South. Will this work?

Another alternative I thought of was several 2' wide trellis' running East-West separated by a row between each. I was thinking the row inbetween could be used for some of the more delicate plants (broc, cauliflow, coles?) that might enjoy a little bit of shade.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:27PM
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I am also at the point where I am planning on what to plant in my 2 3X8 boxes. This is my first stab at SFG. I am dreaming of luscious, drippy tomatoes and don't care if I have to bundle them up, leave them on neighbors porches while I knock and run away.

I'm in zone 8 (downtown Atlanta). While I was going to plant indeterminates in 1' spacing I am concerned the air circulation as we go into the peak of summer. I thought I had read to stagger them (one on one side of trellis, next section, place in front of trellis) would help with air flow.

Since it's supposed to rain all weekend I have a few days to think things out a bit more but I've been scouring the boards looking for advice and tips. Thanks for posting, Jim!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:47PM
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I plant 4 tomato plants in a 4 x 4 bed...use cages to keep them upright. So I'd say 1.5 to 2 feet. I like Celebrity which I buy as plants.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 7:27AM
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The reason I want to plant so close is I am growing 50 plants this year. Yes 50. I am canning tomatoes, and tomato sauce, and salsa this year as well as feeding a big family, so I want to max out my space. My boxes are 4X12', and I wanted to plant 2 indeterminant rows in the second and third row of the boxes. In the first and 4th row I will plant something short so I can get at the tomatoes from either side. Thanks for the input


    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 4:23PM
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mrswaz(Z5A NE WI)

Last year I planted my SFG tomatoes in the 1 foot spacing, and the plants grew great. However, I was really disappointed with the yield of fruit. Oh I had tomatoes, but never enough to can, and I had to buy a few pounds of tomatoes from the farmstand just to make salsa- and I had 10 plants in the garden!

My error? I didn't remove the suckers. I thought the more branches on the tomato plant, the better, and more fruit. I was so wrong on that, that this year I am armed with a nice new shiny pruning snips and I'm ready to go. I think that tomatoes can be very successful with the 1 foot spacing, but the key is pruning- don't be afraid to remove those suckers, or the plant will just send it's energy to them instead of to the actual fruit.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:29AM
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I understand pinching off the suckers, but don't you also need to but off some of the lower branches? I am going to try Mel's tip for burying the plant and having the stem grow up at 90 degrees.

I think I am going to alternate squares so that they were on opposite sides of the trellis with something else planted in the alternate squares. I have an 8X3 bed and probably don't need 8 tomato plants but I'd like to try a bunch of varieties. I might do 6 and give them away to my neighbors who don't garden. Assuming of course I actually get yields.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 12:38PM
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Thats probably a good idea to plant every other foot and put a 'shade' veggie in between. I'll try that for most of the tomatoes, but i'll plan the back row solid to see how it turns out.

I have read that tomatoes are heavy feeders, and to put slow release organic fetilizer in the bottom of each hole when you plant them. As well fetilize with liquid seaweed every week or 2.

One local grower where i live strips all the leaves except for the top truss of leaves and bury most of the stripped stem when planting out. Either dig deep or lay the plant in a trench and bend the top truss above ground. She says they sprout more roots from the sides of the stripped stem this way making a healthier plant.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 1:40PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Wow, seems like everyone has issues here. Tomatoes need space to sprawl out. That said, you can crowd them in intensive gardening. SWCs work because they are crowded in the middle and free to grow on the sides. Crowded tomatoes don't do as well as ones that get light and air flow.

That said, grow them however you want. There are 100 ways to grow a tomato so finf the way that works best for you. All ways have pros and cons.

Good luck and cone back to share your experiences!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 2:10PM
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steffanie771(Inland NW)

I am wondering how we are going to do this as well, probably close to at least 40 plants.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 1:50AM
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