How Far Apart to Plant Tomatoes? A Guide to Spacing Your Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most common things that everyone that has a garden has. It’s quite easy to manage and it is perfect for salads during the summer. But most of the time, new gardeners don’t really know how far apart to plant tomatoes.

In fact, I remember the first time I planted was a nightmare because I did not have enough space between them so the roots of my tomatoes ended up coiling and there was not that much fruit.I really do not want this to happen to you so I have listed down the best technique for you.

How Far Apart to Plant Tomatoes?

Answering this question is not as straightforward as you might think. There are factors that would make the answer different. In general, the spacing depends on the technique you use when planting your tomatoes.

Tomatoes in a Cage

tomatoes in cage

Growing your tomatoes in a cage is probably one of the most common ways to grow tomatoes. This method allows your tomatoes to grow naturally without having to stake it, which is a technique that most are not comfortable with.

I personally used this method initially and I found that this is best for gardeners who are beginners. Cages are really easy to find. You can buy them in most gardening stores or even hardware stores. Building one for yourself is also quite easy.

Depending on the size of your tomatoes, you can space each plant 6 inches apart. Just remember that you also need enough space around the actual fruit for easy picking so make sure that your hand can fit.

I advise that your cage should be at least 5-6 feet tall and 18-36 inches wide. The size of your cage would obviously depend on how many you would plant and how much space is available in your garden. If you are using more than one cage, make sure that they are 4 feet apart from each other.


Tomatoes in a Stake

Young tomato plants in the field that have been recently staked

Aside from using cages, you may also opt to use stakes. I personally find stakes to be harder to manage. This is because you have to tie your plant to the stake as it grows taller.

If you live in an area where the wind is quite strong, using a stake might not be for you because the stakes can easily be blown away or topple over.

However, this method is highly recommended for those who are planning to grow taller tomatoes plants.It is recommended that the stakes you buy should be 6-8 feet tall. When you stake it to the ground make sure that one foot of the stake is below so that it would be more stable.

As for spacing, plant your tomatoes 24-30 inches apart. This would make sure that the roots would coil and that there is enough space for you when you pick your fruits. The rows, on the other hand, 40 inches apart.

I mentioned that you need to tie your tomato as it grows up the stake. For best results, you should tie it every 10-12 inches. You may use twine, rope, or a string for this. Just make sure that whatever you use, it would be strong enough for strong winds.

Below is a very helpful video to show you how to stake your tomatoes.


When Letting Tomatoes Sprawl

Tomatoes in different colors and stages of growth growing on substrate at tied plants in a large specialized Dutch greenhouse horticulture company.

You can let your tomatoes sprawl instead of using cages or stakes by letting them grow out of the ground. This is usually a technique used for determinate tomatoes because indeterminate ones, especially the later variety, are prone to having their roots coiled.

When the tomatoes grow in a snarl harvesting is difficult and could also impede growth and nourishment. If you want to let your tomatoes sprawl, you should plant them 3 - 4 feet apart. The rows, on the other hand, should be 4-5 feet apart.

You should take note that letting your tomatoes sprawl on the ground can make them vulnerable to decay so to avoid this you should lay landscape fabric on the soil.


Determinate Tomatoes

Gardener Picking Up Fresh Ripe Red Cherry Tomatoes In Garden Wit

The measurements for spacing I have mentioned above are all for indeterminate tomatoes. If you have a determinate variety the spacing would be slightly different. This is because determinate tomatoes are smaller and grows for a shorter period of time so they could be spaced slightly closer to each other.

Determinate tomatoes also grow a certain height and then completely stops. Space each plant 1 ½ to 2 feet away from each other. Rows could also be closer and can be spaced 2-3 feet away. You can use all the techniques above for determinate tomatoes just keep the closer spacing in mind.

Here is a quick video to show you almost everything you need to know when it comes to planting determinate tomatoes.

Do’s and Dont’s of Planting Tomatoes

Now that you know how to space you tomatoes, you should know what other things you should do and should not do when it comes to planting them. I have listed 3 do’s and 3 dont’s to keep in mind so you'll get the most out of your plant.

DO'S

  • Plants seeds that are already flowering.
  • Water your tomatoes from a higher point. You should always water them closer to the soils to avoid splashing.
  • Transfer your tomatoes if the temperature is below 50 F because anything lower than this would not be optimal for growth of your tomatoes.

DON'TS

  • Know the type of tomato you are planting. This would help guide you to the right techniques and right spacing.
  • Plant your seedlings deep in the soil.
  • Add a bit of Epsom salt. Adding a bit of Epsom to the roots of your tomatoes can help them grow better and faster. Not adding this wouldn't do any harm as well.

Conclusion

I hope that this article has helped you in knowing how to space your tomatoes. Keep in mind that not spacing them correctly might end up in malnourishment or bad fruits. These two is obviously not what anyone would want so please keep the spacing in mind.

If you have any other suggestions or you feel like I missed out on some tips, please comment them below so everyone would know as well.

Dan Harris
 

Hi. I'm Dan Harris. My wife and I started gardening 5 years ago. Neither one of us had any gardening background but we loved the idea of growing our own organic food. Over the years, our garden has almost doubled in size and I’ve learned a lot from my season’s successes and failures. I’ve been excited to share my own beginning knowledge and special skills with all garden lovers.

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