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Post  tazman7 on 5/14/2011, 10:18 am

Hi everybody,

This is my first garden I have ever had so bear with me. I read the All New Square Foot Gardening book and it got me hooked. I built four boxes to start out with and planted one of them a couple of nights ago and now I am worried about my layout. I read a couple places that the tomato plants need 6 to 9 squares for one plant???? I have also read in some places that they only need one.

Here are some pictures. I just need to know if I should relocate anything before they get growing to crazy with all of the rain we just received.
Starting in the top left: La Roma tomato plant, baby girl tomato, two better boy tomato plants. Next row towards us is four lady bell peppers and the third row closest to us is jalapeno peppers. I know it it a lot of the same plant but I bought them in a set of four and didnt want to just throw half of them away because im sure ill kill a few plants somehow since this is my first time gardening.

Thank you!

My garden layout Garden2011layout

My garden layout Garden2011
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tazman7

Posts : 13
Join date : 2011-04-21
Location : Northern Illinois

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Post  gingeandhales on 5/14/2011, 10:39 am

I'm also new to this, but from what I understand, if your tomato plants are vining plants, you can do 1 per square, but make sure you stay on top of pruning them.

I am assuming your tomatoes are on the North side of the box. You will want to build a trellis along the edge and train the tomatoes to grow up the trellis.

If they are bush then you might need more space, but I'm not 100 percent sure about that. What was the spacing recommendation on the identification stick?

The peppers should be fine. Some people warn of cross pollination between the sweet and the hot peppers could effect the flavor, but I believe that only is an issue for the second generation, so this years plants should be fine, but if you save the seeds for next year they might not be so good.

Your garden looks great!
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Location : Long Island Zone 7a or 6B I'm confused

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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/14/2011, 11:01 am

Welcome aboard! Another midwesterner...yay!

If I may ramble a bit, seems to be the mood I'm in today...lol. Here is a quick bit on determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes. It's important to know which you have. So, do your reseach online by googling the plant's name. It sounds like you have indeterminates, though, from what I know....

Tomato plants fall into one of two types that affect ultimate plant height and cultural requirements. Tomatoes are determinate if they eventually form a flower cluster at the terminal growing point, causing the plant to stop growing in height. Plants that never set terminal flower clusters, but only lateral ones and continue indefinitely to grow taller are called indeterminate. Older varieties are almost all indeterminate. These can be counted upon to produce abundant foliage and to ripen flavorful fruit. They may, however be extremely late in maturing.

That is a fancy way of saying determinates will stop growing and harvest all at once. Indeterminates will grow and grow and grow. Once started, only frost stops them from producing more fruits.

Determinates need more squares per plant...upwards of 3 or more. So, we SFGers grow mostly indeterminates in the Mel's Mix because of the efficiency of space the book preaches. We attach a trellis and watch them reach for the sky. However, a tomato cage will sort of work. And, tall stakes will work, too. You have to conclude which is best for your garden and your budget. But, the trellis is pretty inexpensive. Another thing I'd look into is the fence posts at a Home Depot. They run about $5 each and are called T-bar posts. They are sturdy and are easy to tie plants to.

You should be fine provided the north side is the top of your photo. You don't want tall tomato plants shading your peppers.

I see four boxes. What are the plans for the others?

Poke around and get comfortable here. Check the subforums when you get time, too. The regional forum should have some localized info for you, or at the very least, provide localized answers to localized questions.

Hope to see more of you here!
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Post  quiltbea on 5/14/2011, 11:08 am

It sounds good to me.
Tomatoes do well in one square if care is taken. If you can't get a trellis system set up on the north side of your beds (tall things should be growing in the outside north row), then you can stake them. But put in your stakes now before the roots get too big or you could damage roots plunging those in the soil later. I'm talking 6-7 ft stakes, not the short 4 footers.

Indeterminates are vining tomatoes and grow and grow and don't stop all season so they need trellising or tall stakes or a twining system. Remember it this way, the longer the word the longer the vine. Determinates are the shorter, bushy type who's fruit all come to maturity about the same time.

If you have determinates (bush types) they can still go in one square. Just get one of those tomato cages for it. I'm not sure if La Roma is a bush type. Many sauce toms are but some aren't. Some bush-types grow only 2 feet and others up to 5 feet so it depends. Take your chance with the Roma or look it up on google.
My garden layout 05-12-15
Here's one of those cheap tomato cages around a determinate Oregon Spring tomato. It worked well right thru Nov. but it only grew about 3 ft tall.
My garden layout 10-02-15
This was last Nov when the darn things (I had 3 in a row) were starting to produce a new set of tomatoes after none for over a month. If my season was longer, I would have had two harvests.

Don't worry about your peppers because as mentioned, it only matters if you save seed for the following year if the flowers got cross-pollinated. It won't change the flavor of this year's peppers. The hot peppers won't be their hottest till the very end of the season when they change color but you can harvest them as soon as they are a size you want while green, and they'll be tasty, but not as hot til they turn red.

Don't wait for all of them to turn red before harvesting. When they get to that color change, they will stop producing more peppers. To keep it producing, pick them while green and keep on picking til the end of the season, then allow the last ones to stay on the plant and turn red

You're garden is looking great. Enjoy.
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Post  tazman7 on 5/14/2011, 12:06 pm

Wow, thank you for the quick replies!

The top of my picture is pointed north so shade wont be an issue.

I am going to build a trellis this week as soon as I can decide on which kind I want to build.

I am also going to build an irrigation system for it since I am not going to be home for a couple of weeks in June and July, and I don't want to come home to fried vegetables. I will post pictures of it when I build it.

As far as the other boxes I have already started seeds inside of: a five alarm hot mix of peppers, scallions, thyme, oregano, rosemary, more green peppers (we eat them in probably every meal).

I am also going to do carrots, pole beans, onion sets, broccoli, lettuce...I'm sure i'm missing something..
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Post  missb on 5/16/2011, 12:18 pm

Regardless of the type of tomatoes you are growing, there are spiral stakes you can purchase. They work really well. Always remember to pinch out the extra growth between the stem and the existing branches.

Joyce from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

@gingeandhales wrote:I'm also new to this, but from what I understand, if your tomato plants are vining plants, you can do 1 per square, but make sure you stay on top of pruning them.

I am assuming your tomatoes are on the North side of the box. You will want to build a trellis along the edge and train the tomatoes to grow up the trellis.

If they are bush then you might need more space, but I'm not 100 percent sure about that. What was the spacing recommendation on the identification stick?

The peppers should be fine. Some people warn of cross pollination between the sweet and the hot peppers could effect the flavor, but I believe that only is an issue for the second generation, so this years plants should be fine, but if you save the seeds for next year they might not be so good.

Your garden looks great!
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