How far apart to plant tomatoes is a question that most farmers agonize over because they want to get good produce from their farms.
Tomatoes are some of the best vegetables that you can grow in your garden. They are full of vitamins, delicious, nutritious, and low in calories. They are also easy to grow, the more reason many gardeners grow them.
However, planting your tomatoes the right way is crucial. If not properly spaced, they will not develop as they should. We will talk about tomato plant spacing and why it is important to consider it.
A Guide on How Far Apart to Plant Tomatoes
How far apart to plant tomatoes depends on the tomato type you want to grow and the place where you will grow them. Let’s look at spacing for different tomato types.
Tomato Plant Spacing for Indeterminate Tomatoes
Indeterminate tomatoes are those that grow throughout the growing season. They flower and fruit continuously without stopping. They can grow and reach up to 8 feet or more. Due to their continuous growth, they need a firm support system to keep them under control. The support system you choose also depicts how much space you leave between the plants.
- Stakes – If you use stakes, the right spacing of the plants would be 1 ½ to 2 feet from plant to plant. From row to row, it should be 2 to 3 feet. The stakes are made of wood and very firm. They measure about 6 feet in height and 2 inches wide. Drive them deep into the soil up to about 1 foot at a distance of about 4 to 6 inches from the plant. As the tomato plant grows you will need to tie it to the stake every few inches. Use twine or strips of cloths to tie the plants.
- Cages – If you choose the cages, the spacing must be between 2 to 3 feet between the plants. The spacing between rows should be between 4 to 5 feet. Many people chose cages over stakes because they need less attention and maintenance. In the cage set up, tomatoes grow naturally without the need of tying them with strings. Leave a distance of about 6 inches between every wire to allow easier harvesting without removing the cage. The perfect measurements of a cage are 36 inches in width and 6 feet in height.
Read more about Best Soil for Tomatoes
- No Support System – The third and last method to grow indeterminate tomatoes is to allow them to sprawl without using any support system. Due to their excessive growth, the tomatoes tend to grow in a snarl which makes it difficult to harvest them. Since they crawl on the ground, they are highly susceptible to rotting. If you still want to grow them like that, add some landscape fabric or mulch on the ground. This might keep them safe as they grow. Plant this type at least 3 to 4 feet apart from plant to plant and 4 to 5 feet apart from one row to another.
Tomato Plant Spacing for Determinate Tomatoes
Determinate tomatoes are those that only grow up to a certain point and then stop growing. This type grows faster than the indeterminate type blooming and getting fruits faster. These plants are small in size meaning they can grow closer to each other than the other type.
The ideal spacing for this type of tomato is 1 ½ to 2 feet apart from plant to plant. The optimal space to leave in between rows is 2 to 3 feet. These measurements help you plan your garden, place cages around the tomatoes, use stakes for support, and harvest them at the right time.
Tomato Plant Spacing for Container Plants
Most gardeners grow their tomatoes in containers which still presents a challenge in spacing them. That’s because you will still need to consider spacing and most containers do not give you ample space. A tomato trellis or a stake can help you support your tomatoes in containers. Only one tomato per container requires a pot with a 14-inch diameter and 5-gallon volume. But, to ensure you have enough space, a 17 to 20 inches pot with a 20-gallon volume is recommended. The greatest advantage of growing tomatoes in a container is you can grow them in winter.
We hope this guide on tomato spacing has taught you everything you need to know. As long as you stick to these dimensions you will have no problem growing your tomatoes. You will have a plentiful harvest of big juicy tomatoes.
If it pains you to leave so much space between your tomato plants, you can interplant creatively. Under the tomato plants, you can plant a variety of other crops like lettuce, radishes, beets, etc. Choose plants that do not require a ton of light and grows fast. You will need to plant and harvest these crops before your tomato plants hit the peak and start to grow excessively.