Tomatoes

kr222(6b)September 14, 2008

I just purchased two 3x3 raised beds to make my first attempt at square foot gardening. Is it really possible to grow tomatoes in one square foot. I can't seem to wrap my mind around that idea. If so, then is it possible to plant 9 tomatoes in one 3x3 box? Has anyone tried it?

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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

You know, I was reading a whole lot on this subject and nearly every source I came to said that 1 square foot is not enough soil for tomatoes unless they are a "compact" variety. I am using more than a square foot on some of my tomatoes as an experiment and only a square foot on others just to see what happens.

Also, my brother-in-law who never gardens and hasn't read up on SFG, planted his tomato plants in 2 gallon containers. They didn't get huge because of it. A matter of fact, they were rather scrawny plants, but he got tomatoes from them regularly. I'm sure it was no where near as many tomatoes as I would want to get, though....

So, let's say it works to plant tomatoes in one square foot and get tomatoes, but you'd probably get much more tomatoes if you gave them more room.

Anyone else around here have more info than I do? Please, chime in....

~Angela

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 3:07PM
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carolynp(z7)

I have my tomatoes at 1/sq ft. I have a 5x2 bed with 10 tomatoes. Apparently, in order to do this, you have to prune the tomatoes to a single vine. I didn't know this, so I didn't. My tomato plants have all topped six feet, so they all grew just fine. The tomatoes were smaller and later than almost everyone elses (except for the juliettes which were enormous for a grape and too small for a roma). In fairness, I have to point out that I have harvested several hundred cherry tomatoes and a couple hundred roma grapes and one or two beefsteaks. IMHO: It IS an unholy mess. I sure won't do it this way next year. Since my primary goal is canning, I'm going to plant them 1 per 3 sq ft next year and use only canning varieties. I'll probably need another box, but it'll sure make harvest and plant checking easier I think. Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 1:28AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

I did my plants 1 per 2sqft, against a trellis - and they did fantastic! No pruning was done.

EG

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 8:06AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I put 2 plants in 24 inch wide a SWC but allowed them to sprawl out on a trellis. I did prune, but only to promote growth and remove suckers. I didn't use my SFG for tomatoes due to space constraints, but my brother give his a lot of room. He does however plant around the base.

Good luck.

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

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 3:11PM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Also, for those who are giving how many they planted to how many square feet, please also include how deep your beds are as that does make a difference. Thanks! This is really good info...

~Angela

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 9:07PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Angela - my soil depth is between 6 to 8", and as stated earlier - they were grown against trellises - 1 per 2 sqft. The only pruning that was done was to remove suckers. They were watered every 2 to 3 days with saved rainwater, and once every 2 weeks with miracle gro. These plants were without a doubt, the best plants that I've ever grown. They were healthy, lush, and green. These plants would have easily reached 9 to 10 ft tall, if I'd let them continue.

EG

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 10:53PM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Thanks, EG! And, it is interesting to note you feel this is your most productive plant, too.... appreciate the info...

And Sinfonian, what is SWC? Also, thanks for the info on planting around the base of the plant. That's what I'm gonna do next time.

Carolyn - I somehow overlooked that Mel suggests pruning them to one vine as well. I think I was pretty intent on doing this myself until I read what all the tomato people here in the tomato forum had to say about the production of plants when you don't prune to one stem. My primary goal is production, so I didn't want to make them produce early, which is what you get when you prune to one stem from what I understand.

~Angela

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:05AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

Angela, if sinfonian doesn't see this, SWC is Self Watering Container.

Granny

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:26AM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Thanks, Granny! You're always so on top of helping me and everyone else here.... :-)

~Angela

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:35AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Fine Granny, just steal my thunder. She askes me. Hehe.

Yeah, an SWC is a self watering container. Very useful for space saving options for those of us who are acreage challenged.

Check out my friend Judy's instruction page on her blogif interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Judy's blog

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:25AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

Sorry 'bout that, sinfonian! I know you are so busy with the (deservedly) MOST POPULAR GARDENING BLOG in the world, that sometimes you don't come around for a day or two, so I thought I'd help you out!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 12:09PM
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