Are you having problems in growing your tomatoes properly? Do they start out as healthy and lush seedlings, only to die at the middle of the season? It can really be a pain to invest in planting only to find out that your crops have died somewhere in the middle and you don’t know why.
Perhaps one of the reasons why gardeners like you fail in growing your tomatoes is because they lack the necessary nutrients that they need to survive. This is mainly because you have a lot of crops that are competing for the nutrients that your soil offers.
So how will you overcome this? Simple. You need to know how far apart to plant tomatoes in order to maximize their yield and minimize their losses.
You might be wondering why we need to put up spaces in between our tomatoes when we can readily increase our yield if we plant them as close to each other as possible. While this is a good idea – increasing the yield while minimizing the space needed for cultivation – it really is bad practice.
The primary reason is because when you plant your tomatoes close to one another, they tend to compete with the nutrients available in the soil. As with all kinds of competition, there will be some which will benefit from it, and others that will suffer a lot from it. The end result will be a field of tomatoes with varying height and number of fruits.
While you might think that you produced a higher number of tomatoes, in reality the tomato plants that will produce the most fruits are the ones that received the most nutrients from the soil. The other unlucky ones will be left malnourished and with a much lesser yield than what you will expect, if ever they survive at all.
Another reason why it is a good practice to put spaces between your tomatoes is to prevent the spreading of disease. No matter how meticulous your preparations for growing your tomatoes may be, there will still be some which will suffer from a number of diseases. While you cannot prevent that from happening, you can prevent it from spreading to your other healthy crops.
Putting up spaces between each plant reduces the risk of other plants contacting the disease, and in turn will minimize the losses that you might incur. Proper spacing will also promote better air circulation and light absorbance and will in turn reduce the risk of your plants contacting a disease.
Lastly, you need to put up spaces between your tomatoes in order for their roots not be entangled with one another. When the roots get entangled, it will be harder for you to sort them out once they are ripe for harvesting. If the entanglement is severe, it may sometimes affect the growth of the tomatoes as less nutrients might be absorbed from the soil.
How far you place your tomatoes from each other depends on the type of crop you are planting. As you know, there are two types of tomatoes: those that grow at a determined height, and those that do not. This video discusses the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes:
Tomatoes with determinate sizes are easier to plant since you know how tall the fully-grown plant may be. They are also best when you need to have a certain number of crops that you need to harvest in a certain time of the season.
Ideally, you will want to put them at least 24 inches (two feet) apart from one another. This will provide an optimum ground for your tomatoes to grow fully without wasting too much land space.
Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, are a lot harder to plant since you won’t know the maximum height they can achieve until they have grown fully. Some varieties of indeterminate tomatoes can grow as high as eight feet or more in length.
Ideally, you would want to plant them at least 36 inches (three feet) apart to ensure that they will have the necessary nutrients and space that they need in order to grow effectively.
You may also want to support your indeterminate tomatoes with a stake or a cage where they can latch on while growing. If you plan on putting up cages around your tomatoes, you can reduce their spacing to as close as 24 inches in order to have more ground for planting other tomatoes
Knowing the proper spacing between your tomato plants can be a difference between having a lush harvest and not. Always remember that you need to base your spacing depending on the type of tomato that you are growing. If you have any questions, or have other tips that may help other readers in planting their crops, don’t hesitate to comment below!
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.