The Ideal Distance Between Indeterminate Tomato Plants

Short, compact varieties of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) grow to a certain height and blossom and bear tomatoes in a short harvest period. Tall, sprawling tomato plants — called indeterminates — continue to grow, flower and bear tomatoes until they are killed by the first fall frost. Normally, these larger tomato plants are supported by stakes or wire cages.

Transplant Basics

You can grow indeterminate tomato plants from seed or purchase transplants from a nursery, a frequent practice in areas with a short growing period. The seedlings need to be 6 to 8 inches tall until you plant them on your garden. After being watered thoroughly, they are best planted at least 2 inches deeper than they were at the grass. Planting tomato seedlings in the late day prevents them from losing water from drying soil. How far apart you plant them depends on whether you plan to support them using wire racks, staking them, or allowing them to sprawl on the ground.

Spacing Caged Indeterminate Tomatoes

Growing indeterminate tomatoes in acylinder or rectangular wire cages enables the plants to develop naturally and spares you the chore of having to occasionally tie the plant to a stake. You can purchase ready-make tomato cages from most garden supply centers or make one yourself by bending wire fencing or even concrete reinforcing wire to your cylinder. A supporting cage should have openings of 6 inches between the wires so that you may reach into harvest tomatoes. Indeterminate tomato plants require a cage that’s out of 18 to 36 inches wide and 6 ft tall. If you use a cage to back up your plants, allow 24 to 30 inches of space between plants and 30 to 42 inches between rows.

Spacing Staked Indeterminate Spaces

Indeterminate plants backed by bets also require 24 to 30 inches of space between plants and 30 to 42 inches between rows. Sturdy wooden stakes, 6 ft long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches broad are pressured 1 foot into the soil from 4 to 6 inches apart from the indeterminate tomato plant. As the tomato plant grows, gardeners use twine or strips of fabric to tie the tomatoes to the stake every 10 inches.

Spacing Indeterminate Tomatoes that Sprawl

Indeterminate tomatoes can be permitted sprawl out on the ground rather than being staked or caged. However, this more frequently done with determinate tomatoes because the larger indeterminate plants develop in a snarl making the tomatoes difficult to harvest. Tomatoes lying around the soil is an an invitation to decay; placing landscape fabric or mulch around the ground may help guard them. If you allow them to sprawl, plant them 3 to 4 ft apart using 4 to 5 feet between rows.

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