Tomatoes are rich in vitamins and are one of the most frequently used ingredients in the kitchen. The tomato plant spacing is also a critical factor that affects the plant’s productivity.
Why Is Tomato Spacing Important?
Just like any other plant, tomatoes require the proper amount of space to maximize growth and productivity. Correspondingly, more space means your tomatoes will have more room to grow.
When you don’t know how much space does a tomato plant need, it can cause some problems, such as:
Pest And Disease
Tomatoes will be vulnerable to pests and diseases if they are too close to each other. Green caterpillars and late blight are the most common diseases for anyone who is growing tomatoes.
Close tomato plant spacing makes leaves hustle and less exposed to sunlight, making their leaves take longer times to dry. It is the ideal environment for various types of fungi and bugs to grow.
Several fungal diseases can cause the spotting of leaves and rotten tomato fruits. To get rid of them, you will need to maintain space between tomato plants to spot them and increase air circulation.
Insufficient Sunlight And Air Circulation
As we all know, every plant needs a good amount of sunlight and airflow around it. Since tomatoes are warm-season crops, the sun won’t reach their leaves if they are incorrectly spaced.
Besides, many tomato diseases thrive on damp leaves that can’t dry out completely. So, to avoid the chance of disease and pest infestations, tomato plants require adequate ventilation between them.
Lack Of Essential Elements
Everything in your yard strives for good resources, such as water and nutrients in the soil and fertilizer. Tomatoes are no exception.
If you leave the distance between tomato plants too close, they’ll compete and most likely lose. Consider the proper plant spacing for an even distribution of essential elements and less competition for nutrients.
Some people misunderstand that the more you push plants together, the more tomatoes you can get. However, even if many of them survive, you won’t be able to harvest as many productive plants as when you space them appropriately.
Planting tomato plants: How far apart do they need to be?
Tomato Plant Spacing Depends On The Variety
Determinate tomato, also known as “bush tomato,” usually grows to 3 feet tall and stops. It would be best to plant these tomatoes approximately 18-24 inches apart from each other.
However, some varieties can grow smaller or larger than the standard ones. So, you can change the spacing for tomato plants flexibly depending on what type they are labelled.
On the other hand, indeterminate tomato plants are the vining ones. They tend to be taller than the determinate ones; some of them can even grow up to 6 or 8 feet.
Since indeterminate tomatoes grow more up than out, you can keep them about 18 inches apart. Though, they can deliver more benefits when there are more spaces around them.
Grape, Roma, And Cherry Tomatoes
Grape, Roma, and Cherry tomatoes are the smaller varieties and most likely grow in a more vertical form. If you are planting them in the same variety, keep them about 12 to 15 inches apart.
In contrast, if you’re growing multiple varieties of tomatoes, make sure they’re at least 8 feet apart. Because if they are too close together, they may have a cross-pollination and produce fruits not as expected.
Tomato Plant Spacing Depends On A Garden Type
Traditional Row Garden
They are the garden type that you will come across the most often. For traditional rows, about 12 to 48 inches apart for each row is the ideal spacing.
This type of garden also takes up plenty of space. You should keep the row about 4 feet far from each other to allow sunlight to get in and enough air circulation.
If you want your tomatoes to grow more densely, a raised bed should be the perfect option since the soil is richer in nutrients, and each plant won’t have to fight for them.
Keep your tomato plants at least 18 inches apart in raised beds; this spacing should be enough for most kinds. Keep in mind that you will need at least one square foot for each plant to grow in a raised bed.
Keeping tomatoes in containers is the best solution for determinate and smaller varieties. Since they have their container, they won’t have to compete for water, nutrients and bring better fruit production.
The minimum size for each container should be at least 14 inches in diameter and 5-gallon volume. If you have a huge garden or a larger backyard, bigger pots are even better.
Tomato Plant Spacing Depends On Soil Type
You can keep your tomatoes a little closer to each other if you already have high-quality and nutrient-rich garden soil. Since it has plenty of crucial elements, your plants will have a sufficient amount of everything.
However, if your soil is poor or extremely dry, you may need to space your tomatoes further to ensure that they thrive in your environment.
Long story short, considering the proper spacing is not as easy as it might sound. You need to know how far apart to plant tomatoes to help them get adequate light, airflow, and essential nutrients.
Your tomato plants can create healthier and larger yields when taken good care of. When you are unsure about the distance between tomato plants, keep them further apart from each other.