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Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients??? Toplef10Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients??? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients??? I22gcj10Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients??? 14dhcg10

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Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients???

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Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients??? Empty Indeterminate tomato stealing nutrients???

Post  VirginiaA 3/4/2021, 4:16 pm

New SFGer here (Zone9a) and trying for the second time to start my tomatoes because all my seedlings died in the freeze a couple of weeks ago. I just read about determinate vs. indeterminate and learned mine are indeterminate. According to this article --> https://bonnieplants.com/gardening/square-foot-gardening/ , "Some crops, like large, indeterminate tomatoes, need more space than a single square foot—otherwise they’ll start stealing nutrients and water from other plants. Plus, plants can deplete moisture and nutrients quickly in a square foot garden due to the intensive planting technique. "

So, is it a bad idea for me to plant these in my SFG? If not, what beside Miracle Grow can I use to prevent them from depleting the nutrients around them? Can I plant any companion plants in its square to help?

Thanks in advance!
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Post  OhioGardener 3/4/2021, 6:37 pm

Virginia, I grow only indeterminate plants, and they do fine in MM. But, they do take up more than 1 square per plant.  I have tomato cages that are 20" diameter (this year will be changing to ones that are 20" square), and I put them offset within the bed so that there are 2 cages per 4' x 4' bed. I plant Basil as a companion plant to them. Tomato plants are heavy feeders, and I mulch them heavily to retain as much moisture as possible. The plants typically reach 8' tall.

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Post  VirginiaA 3/4/2021, 6:40 pm

Thank you, OhioGardener. So how do you plant across squares? We have string separating our squares.
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Post  OhioGardener 3/4/2021, 6:46 pm

Because of the drip irrigation system I installed, I do not use a permanent grid so it is easy for me to cross squares as necessary.  I use a portable folding grid for planting squares.

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Post  VirginiaA 3/4/2021, 6:48 pm

Do.you plant your basil in the tomato squares or in adjoining squares?
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Post  OhioGardener 3/4/2021, 6:55 pm

VirginiaA wrote:Do.you plant your basil in the tomato squares or in adjoining squares?

I plant the tomatoes in the center of 2 squares, and then plant the Basil between the tomato plant and the edge of the bed. If there is room, I plant Basil between the tomato plants, too.  Love Basil! Very Happy

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Post  VirginiaA 3/4/2021, 6:59 pm

The tomatoes I bought are "Red Currant" and get 3'-4' wide 😬. Might I need 4 squares? I seriously didn't think this through...
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Post  OhioGardener 3/5/2021, 7:33 am

VirginiaA wrote:The tomatoes I bought are "Red Currant" and get 3'-4' wide 😬. Might I need 4 squares? I seriously didn't think this through...

Depends on  whether or not you cage or trellis them.  If you don't cage or trellis them, they spread over the ground. If you cage or trellis them, they grow upward.

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Post  Mikesgardn 3/5/2021, 6:45 pm

I grow indeterminates at a one-foot spacing, but I only plant them in the back row (north end) of my boxes, and I do prune them to a single vine.  So maybe that is why I get away with the tight spacing.
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Post  VirginiaA 3/5/2021, 10:35 pm

Mikesgardn, Thanks, that is what I plan to do. I don't want to throw out all those seedlings Smile
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Post  Scorpio Rising 3/5/2021, 10:43 pm

I plant my indeterminate tomatoes (only kind I’ve ever grown) in my SFG.  I do prune all suckers and try to keep to a single stem, but my Sungolds (cherry type) go nuts and take 2 squares.  

They do best in my legacy boxes, old repurposed window boxes that are 18” vs 12 square.  They do fine but do need ventilation and tending!  And frequent feeding!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2021, 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Feeding)
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Post  sanderson 3/13/2021, 1:07 am

VA, Welcome to the Forum from central CA! glad you\'re here

Some folks plant indeterminate tomatoes in a checkerboard pattern. That allows an average of 2 sq ft for the roots and foliage. I think the climate has a lot to do with spacing. I'm in a dry, very hot area and the tomato plants seem to appreciate being in contact. Other areas, they need to have plenty of air circulation.

As far as determinate tomatoes like cherry tomatoes, they can be grown in a large pot with a tomato cage to save room in the SFG beds for other plants.

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