One of the most beneficial crops any gardener can grow is the tomato plant. However, what may not appear too important as your plants are small, is the tomato plant spacing.
Spacing for tomato plants is crucial for a couple of reasons. For one, you can gain larger yields once your tomato spacing is at the optimal distance, and second, when planting tomatoes, spacing can help avoid disease.
The question on many gardener’s minds when they plant tomato plants, how far apart should their plants be? In our guide, you can learn all you need about your tomato plant spacing for the best growth and to help stop any disease.(Learn When to Fertilize Tomatoes)
In an ideal world, plants support each other in certain ways. One repels a pest of the other, or
Can I Plant Tomatoes and Cucumbers Next to Each other?
Cucumis sativus (cucumber) and Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) grow well together. When growing, plants nearby are known as companion planting. a taller plant offers shade to the smaller plant as they sprawl across the ground.
Cucumbers and tomatoes have many of the same requirements. Cucumbers take 50 to 70 days to mature, while tomatoes can take from 55 to 105 days, depending on the tomato varieties (determinate or indeterminate tomatoes and the strain).
Tomatoes can be planted with cucumbers as both are warm-season crops, which need adequate drainage and pH levels of 5.8 to 6.5 in the soil.
It makes sense to share garden space as both like deep watering and a constant water supply to help healthy fruit grow properly.
In addition, as tomatoes and cucumbers have a sprawling growth pattern, you can mix them in various ways. Cucumber vines can grow across the ground in spaces between tomato plants when planting tomatoes and cucumbers together.
You can train vines to grow using the same supports you use for your tomatoes. Such a method known as diversified planting can make it harder for insect pests to locate and destroy certain crops. Leave sufficient room between your plants for air circulation as both can grow mold from moist conditions and being overcrowded.
Be sure to understand the risk of disease when growing two crops together. The cucumber mosaic virus can affect your tomatoes and your cucumbers, and the disease affects more than 40 plant families. (Read Can You Freeze Green Tomatoes)
Phytophthora blight, better known as root rot, can be more of a problem, which causes issues for cucumbers and tomatoes. You can treat it with hydrogen peroxide or commercial fungicides, but good growing practices such as the correct spacing, nutrients, and lots of air circulation are preferable for tomato production.
How Far Apart Do You Plant Tomatoes in a Raised Bed?
Tomatoes come in two categories: determinate tomatoes and indeterminate tomatoes. Determinate tomato plants are small and compact. When growing, they reach a certain height, then stop growing, flower, and you harvest all their fruit in a short time. Indeterminate tomatoes grow, bloom, and you get fruit until you have your first frost toward the fall, where they die. As a result, harvesting from indeterminate varieties can last three months.
In your raised bed, you need to know the type you have and the space in your raised bed.
Staked indeterminate varieties can be planted 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart in rows. Indeterminate tomatoes can be grown using wire cages, and these ought to be placed 2 1/2 to 3 feet apart. Whereas indeterminate tomatoes allowed to stretch across the surface will be spaced 3 to 4 feet apart.
Plant determinate tomatoes 2 to 2 1/2 feet apart and each row should be 4 feet apart.
How Many Tomato Plants Do I Need for a Family of 4?
If you put in the effort to start a vegetable garden, get ready to be rewarded with a harvest you can use to feed your family.
The number of tomato plants you grow for a family of four is determined by the type of plant you choose and how you wish to use the tomatoes.
The number of plants along with spacing requirements helps determine how much space you’ll need to grow enough tomatoes for your entire family.
You can grow a variety of tomatoes, for instance, Cherry tomatoes are small tomatoes used in salads or as a snack. Fresh tomatoes are larger and need to be sliced.
Cherry tomatoes are abundant, so you can plant one to four plants per person in your family. For a family of four, this turns out to be around four to sixteen plants.
Fresh slicing tomatoes should be grown in the same number, giving you around 16 plants for a family of four.
How Many Tomato Plants Can You Plant Together?
When you have a small amount of space and want to grow several tomato plants, you’ll need to know how far apart to plant tomatoes for the best.
When tomatoes grow too close together, sunlight is blocked, humidity rises, and you can soon struggle to understand why you have tomato leaves covered in white spots (powdery mildew).
We have seen a good average of tomato plants per person is one to four plants. The more tomatoes your family consumes, and you could be tempted to reduce how far apart to plant your tomatoes. (Learn What Are Determinate Tomato Plants)
Dwarf tomato varieties need a minimum of 6-inches of space between them. These are determinate varieties, and as we saw, determinate varieties can reach a maximum height of 4′.
Since indeterminate tomato plants continue growing until the first frost, they usually require more room than these determinate tomatoes. Tomatoes planting spacing for these would be at least 18 inches.
If you are growing in rows, you’ll need a good at least 24 inches between the rows and each trellis. Besides this, to reduce any chances of cross-pollination, it is advised to grow heirloom tomato plants using 10-foot spacing between your trellis if you wish to save seeds for next year.
Another reason you need to consider your tomato spacing is to tend to your tomato plants without upsetting the soil too much when growing rows of them. Also, you don’t want any tomato spacing to force your plants to compete for nutrients in the soil.
A minimum of two feet apart of tomato plant spacing is required between your rows stops crop rivalry and offers you space to tend to your plants with good vertical growth and fruit production.
If you aren’t using a trellis, stake, or cage for support, you need to increase space to three or four feet for good vertical growth.
To grow fresh tomatoes, you don’t have to use a large greenhouse; if you have a sunny patio, roof terrace, balcony, or a hardscape garden, you can use containers. All you need to provide here is sufficient space inside the container and outside of it.
Ensure you allow for 12-inches of potting soil, and tomato plants should be grown in containers that are at least the size of 5-gallon containers: only cherry tomatoes and other dwarf varieties of determinate tomato suitable for this.
A 20-gallon container could hold roots of plants, which could grow up to be eight to ten feet tall. Obviously, you’d need a stake in the container for support.
Larger containers are better for indeterminate tomato plants because they have lots of depth for more soil and enough space for a stake to sustain vertical growth. The issue here is you can’t keep these large pots closer together as the plants could interfere with each other.
You can see this with 20-gallon pots, which are around 20 inches tall and hold tomato plants like Roma. You need gardening space between these, and the tomato plants need air circulation even though they are in pots and not your garden.
If you are growing heirloom in pots of gardening in raised beds, you’ll find seeds are quite expensive. (Find the Best Soil Test Kit)
When using an heirloom for your tomato gardening venture, the difference is they produce reliable yields, and the outcomes are predictable.
For instance, the German Queen heirloom tomato can grow to around four to six feet in height and produces beefsteak tomatoes full of sweet flavor that can be harvested in 80 days. Save the seeds, and you’ll get results the same in the following season.
Tomato plants attract insects because of their high protein content. Bees and other pollen-seeking insects are more likely to feed on flowering plants between different varieties than nectar, so if you plant flowering plants between different varieties, bees and other pollen-seeking insects will be more likely to feed on them and leave your tomatoes alone.
If you are planting more than one heirloom variety, keep around 120 inches apart or 10 feet between your plants to avoid cross-pollination.