How Do Tomato Farmers Do It?

chilehead1May 10, 2010

My garden grows bigger every year, to the point where I now grow over 200 tomato plants per year. I plant on plastic mulch rows and use cages for most plants. I can't imagine that a farmer planting acres of tomatoes would be able to put out cages for every plant. But I also can't see not using them in my garden. I just don't get as many fruits with the plants sprawling off the plastic and onto the ground.

So how do farmers do it? Do they use cages or stakes? Do they typically use determinate types? Do they use plastic mulch or some other mulch? Are they growing genetically modified tomatoes.

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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

Short, self supporting indeterminate tomatoes are what I've seen growing in the commercial fields when I lived in California. I think the plants also help to support each other as they're planted close enough together to intertwine their leaves and sort of form a tomato hedge.

As far as genetically modified, that's a possiblity, though I think most are simply hybrid varieties bred specifically for commercial production demands (and NOT flavor, obviously).

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:04AM
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I have heard they also use the so-called FLORIDA WEAVE.
If you plant tomatoes closely(16"-18") in rows and install two sturdy poles at each end
of a long row and run sturdy ropes, at two levels, they will not fall down
on the walk ways and will suppot each other along the row.
But I, for one, cannot do that because I plant them in irregular patches not long rows.
But still, I do some kind of FLORIDA WEAVing, no cages.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:41AM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Determinate tomatoes ,short no cage needed ,fruit ripens pretty much at same time

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 2:05AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Pic link below is of one Bradley County, AR commercial field using a modified Florida weave. Just scroll down the page. Lots of commercial tomato growers in southern AR.


Here is a link that might be useful: Commercial tomato field

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:55AM
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jeroldrburrow(SoCal 10a)

This guy seems to have an emphasis on taste at his farm... looks like a ton of work. Definitely checkout his pics -- tomato porn if there is such a thing!

Their Facebook Pics

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 3:30PM
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Thanks for the replies. The wild Boar Farm looks interesting.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 11:06PM
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Fellow I know up in Darmstadt, about six mile north of here, grows over 2000 plants per year. Most of them are Big Beef in 5-foot cages, Mountain Spring in 4-foot cages, Juliets in 5-foot cages and some other odds and ends.

All of it's on plastic with drip irrigation and strip fertilized before the plastic is put down.

Here's a few rows of stuff:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Those cages on black plastic look just like what I'm doing, just ten times more. I can't image moving around 2000 cages in and out of the field every year.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 12:47PM
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"I can't image moving around 2000 cages in and out of the field every year."

I have 30 plants in cages and that's more than enough work for me. Just looking at those pictures makes me tired, lol.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 1:29PM
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