Nowadays, growing tomatoes at home is so common that it somewhat becomes a hobby. There are many blogs and guidelines on the Internet telling people how to grow tomatoes organically just by some simple steps.
Although it seems not that difficult to have your own plants at home, there are many people saying that they have failed to grow an abundant season. The reason lies beyond the issue of distance between the tomato plants which many people have underestimated its importance.
In today’s post, I will be presenting you with the detail guideline of appropriate space that we have to provide to the tomato plants in order to ensure their productivity.
- 1 Proper spacing and its advantages
- 2 Spacing tomatoes basing on its varieties
Proper spacing and its advantages
Before telling you about how far apart should you grow your red crop, I will quickly list some obvious advantages of spacing the plants properly.
First of all, air circulation is essential for tomato plant. So, providing them with enough room will ensure they have adequate air to support their growth and to reduce potential diseases. Moreover, there will be a competition to gain nutrition between the plants if they are placed too close to each other. The smaller ones will get less nourishment than the stronger ones do, resulting in an unequal development.
Secondly, everyone knows tomato plants love the warm places. Unless they sufficiently exposed to the sun, they can not promise an abundant crop. Space also allows the light to penetrate to the lower leaves of the plants and supply them with efficient light.
More notably, spacing does interpret the growth habit of the tomato plants. If they are placed too close, they must get taller in order to reach as much sun as possible. Consequently, they develop long and scrawny branches that are relatively weak. At the same time, their leaves are small and flower clusters are slow to flourish. That negatively impacts the yields of the crop as the fruits tend to be fewer and smaller.
Last but not least, if the plants are not provided with adequate space, it will decrease both quality and quantity of the production. Due to the lack of nutrition, the unequal development and the improper growth, the tomatoes will be less juicy and delicious. They might also produce fruits that are hollow inside. I am sure you do not want that to happen!
Spacing tomatoes basing on its varieties
Each variety is different in size and shape when it grows, therefore; it is essential to space the tomato plants depending on each type’s characteristics.
Generally speaking, the ideal distance between each plant is between 24 – 36 inches apart. Make sure that you do not give your plants less than 24 inches of space since it will definitely hinder their development. With the varieties, which produce large fruits, should be placed at least 36 inches apart. Moreover, each row should be separated with each other around 48 – 60 inches.
Determinate tomato varieties
Depending on the tomato plants’ growing habit, it is classified into determinate and indeterminate varieties. The former takes a shorter time to ripe (around 2-3 weeks), while the latter often takes a longer time to have its fruits ready to be harvested.
Determinate tomatoes are also called “bush” as they tend to stop developing as soon as their fruits set on the top bud. These plants are small with the height of approximately 4 to 5 feet. They need substantial support by stakes or cages owing to the heavy load of fruits once they start producing.
Indeterminate tomato plants
Dislike determinate varieties, the indeterminate ones are large with strong and compact stems. They can flourish from 6 to 16 feet high. That is why they are often defined as “vining” type.
These plants can continue growing and producing through out the season. The fruits are stably supplied during the whole season rather than a large harvest at one time. One remarkable characteristic of them is that they can produce until the beginning of frost.
Spacing caged indeterminate tomatoes
The cages are very common supporting tool which gardener use to enhance the growth and production of their plants. Since you need to access to harvest the tomatoes, the wire cage should have the distance of at least 6 inches between the wires. Normally, the cages of indeterminate tomato varieties are in between 18 to 36 inches in width and 72 inches in height. Therefore, keep in mind that each plant should be in the range of 24 – 30 inches apart and 30 to 42 inches between rows.
Spacing staked indeterminate tomato plant
Another tomato variety is the staked indeterminate one, which people use sturdy wooden stakes to assist the plants. Theses supporting tools are about 72 inches long and 2 inches wide, being located between 4 and 6 inches apart from the tomato plants. Gardeners often tie the plants to the stake at every 10 inches when they grow to aid their further development and production. Regarding the supporting stakes for indeterminate tomato plants, each one requires 24 to 30 inches apart from another, and each row needs 30 to 32 inches of space.
Spacing controlled determinate tomato plants
Due to their growth habit and their smaller sizes, determinate tomato plants are normally spaced closer than indeterminate types are. These varieties are often controlled and shaped by cages or stakes. You should plant determinate tomato varieties with the space between 24 inches apart and each row is 24 to 36 inches apart.
Spacing sprawling determinate tomato plants
These tomato varieties are allowed to grow naturally and freely rather than being directed and shaped in cages or stakes. As a results, they need more space to develop their branches. These plants should be spaced in 36 to 48 inches apart and 48 to 60 inches between rows.
Many gardeners have failed to realize that the factor of distance when growing tomato plants is curial criterion determining the productivity of the crop. I hope after this post you will understand why proper space is important for tomato plants and you might get some valuable inputs for growing your red crop.
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