Tomatoes : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I know the books all say to plant tomatoes about 24" apart, and that is what I've always done. If you have really, really rich soil and water the plants, can you plant them closer than that and have them still produce good crops? I was thinking about fencing in part of the horse pen and planting tomatoes, corn and melons there and would like to get as much mileage as I can from the area.

Also, do you personally think you get the best yields from staked or unstaked tomatoes? I thought from staked ones, but would like your ideas on it.

-- Green (, April 10, 2001


I plant mine closer and farther (just depends on what variety,romas usually go closer), and always stake them, that way when it rains, they don't spoil in the mud, or soggy mulch and easier to pick. Aaahh! can't wait, an Indiana tomato, well it'll be well into July probably, but then in Indiana you never know about the weather.

-- Cindy (SE In) (, April 10, 2001.

It kind of depends on the variety. if it is a small determinate plant you can plant closer and unstaked. Big tall productive types need more space and big cages or stakes. I planted ours too close together last year, they were just loaded with tomatoes, but they never matured. They didn't get enough sunlight to ripen, because of the shade from all the leaves. I should have picked them all green but a frost hit them all and we lost the entire crop. This year we will be planting fewer plants, farther apart, and in BIG cages, not the wimpy kind from the store.

-- Rebekah (, April 10, 2001.

I plant mine at varying distances depending on variety, but I smack 'em close for the most part. About 20" on the larger varieties and I usually use bits of cattle panel to trellis them. Planting them closer helps to keep the soil cooler and the weeds down, but you have to make sure that there is enough ventilation for them too. I plant on diagonals and my yields have been really good, except for last year...hoppers, my lament. But if you cut of the suckers and trellis them they seem to put out just fine.

-- Dreen (, April 10, 2001.

I guess I am REALLY strange. I plant mine next to 9'(above the ground) wooden stakes and they go in at 8" apart. I also do not plant in traditional rows... I go 8" on center, planting that way for about 2' and then a path and another 2'. It sort of gets planted like a tic-tac-toe board... Takes a lot of work to keep them tied up, though. The folks I learned from plant their's to grow vertical and only space them 4" apart... I've never tried that.

-- Sue Diederich (, April 12, 2001.

I neglected to stake some of my tomatoes last year and most of them rotted on the ground:-( Course, they were the big ones.

-- mary, texas (, April 13, 2001.

Sue, what part of the country do you live in? You must get a good bit of rain.

-- Green (, April 15, 2001.

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