Tomato seedlings ready to plant in a garden

How Many Tomato Plants per Square Foot?

Tomatoes, with their juicy, flavorful fruit, are a staple in many gardens. Whether you have a sprawling garden or limited square footage, it’s essential to plan your tomato plant spacing carefully to optimize your harvest. A common question among gardeners is, “How many tomato plants can I grow per square foot?” In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of tomato plant spacing and provide recommendations tailored to the type of tomato plants you intend to grow and your available gardening space.

Clovers Better Boy Tomato Plants – Two (2) Live Plants – Non-GMO – Not Seeds – Each 4″ to 8″ Tall – in 4″ Inch Pots – Indeterminate, World Record Holder
  • Two (2) large live plants – big, healthy, ready to grow, premium tomato plants, 4” to 8” tall plants, in 4” pots. NON GMO No Neonicotinoids
  • This great performer holds a Guinness World record for highest yielding tomato plant! These succulent, juicy and meaty tomatoes make great slicers for burgers and sandwiches, taste in delicious in salsas, sauces and are perfect for canners
  • An indeterminate variety that produces tomatoes until frost. 10x Root Development means these plants grow stronger right from the start
  • Grown in the Midwest. Plant in any US Zone. Plant in containers, small spaces, balconies, patios or large gardens. Larger plants benefit from caging or staking. Treat as a tender annual in Zones 9 and colder
  • Careful Packaging. Your fresh plants arrive quickly in our exclusive, eco-friendly, 100% recyclable box. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Includes our Clovers Garden copyrighted Quick Start Planting Guide

Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

  • Understanding Tomato Types: Tomato plants come in two primary categories: determinate and indeterminate.
  • Determinate Tomatoes: These tomato varieties have a predetermined growth pattern. They tend to be more compact and bushy, making them suitable for closer spacing in your garden.
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In the following sections, we will delve into the specifics of spacing for determinate and indeterminate tomato plants, ensuring you can make the most of your available square footage while nurturing healthy and productive tomato crops.

Optimal Spacing for Determinate Tomatoes

  • Determining the Distance: When it comes to determinate tomato plants, their predetermined size allows for closer spacing. To maximize your yield in a square foot gardening setup, consider planting determinate tomatoes approximately 1.5 to 2 feet apart in rows.
  • Square Footage per Plant: With this spacing, each determinate tomato plant will occupy roughly 1.5 to 2 square feet of garden space.
  • Row Spacing: It’s equally important to maintain adequate spacing between rows, typically about 2 to 3 feet apart. This spacing ensures proper air circulation and ease of access for maintenance tasks such as pruning, staking, and harvesting.
Clovers Garden Early Girl Tomato Plants- Two (2) Live Plants – Non-GMO – Not Seeds – Each 4″-8″ Tall in 4 Inch Pots – High Yield Canners
  • Two (2) large live plants – big, healthy, ready to grow, premium tomato plants, 4” to 8” tall plants, in 4” pots. NON GMO No Neonicotinoids
  • Early Girls are one of the earliest producing tomatoes with a huge crop of uniformly-sized fruits perfect for canning
  • Season long harvest – Puts out high yields of tennis-ball sized tomatoes, approximately 4- to 6-ounces until frost. 10x Root Development means these plants grow stronger right from the start
  • Grown in the Midwest. Plant in any US Zone. Plant in containers, small spaces, balconies, patios or large gardens. Larger plants benefit from caging or staking. Treat as a tender annual in Zones 9 and colder
  • Careful Packaging. Your fresh plants arrive quickly in our exclusive, eco-friendly, 100% recyclable box. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Includes our Clovers Garden copyrighted Quick Start Planting Guide

Indeterminate Tomatoes and Trellising

  • Indeterminate Growth Habit: Indeterminate tomato varieties, unlike their determinate counterparts, continue to grow and produce fruit throughout the growing season. Consequently, they require more space and support.
  • Vertical Gardening: To make the most of limited space in square foot gardening or small raised beds, consider utilizing trellises, stakes, or cages for indeterminate tomatoes. Plant them approximately 2 to 2.5 feet apart in rows, allowing for 4 to 5 square feet per plant.
  • Training for Vertical Growth: Training indeterminate tomatoes to grow vertically not only maximizes space but also promotes better air circulation and sun exposure, reducing the risk of diseases and enhancing overall plant health.
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These spacing recommendations for determinate and indeterminate tomatoes will help you achieve an efficient and productive tomato garden, whether you have a small urban garden or a larger gardening area. By tailoring your spacing to the specific type of tomato plant you’re growing, you can enjoy a plentiful harvest of delicious tomatoes throughout the season.

Bonny Best Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Large Tomato – One of The Most Delicious Tomatoes for Home Growing,
  • Bonny Best Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Delicious, Firm and Juicy Large Tomatoes – Non GMO – Neonicotinoid-Free
  • Plant Seed 1/4″ Indoors and 1/2″ Outdoors when Warm
  • Keep Moist While Germinating and Keep Moist Outside but don’t Overwater
  • Very Popular Variety
  • Marde Ross & Company has been a Licensed California Nursery since 1985.

Container Gardening

  • Container Size Matters: In container gardening, the size of the pot or container plays a crucial role in determining how many tomato plants you can grow per square foot. A general rule of thumb is that a 5-gallon (approximately 1-square-foot) container can typically accommodate one tomato plant. This applies to both determinate and indeterminate varieties.
  • Spacing Between Containers: If you’re growing multiple tomato plants in containers, ensure proper spacing between the containers. Adequate spacing allows each plant to receive sufficient sunlight, air circulation, and soil nutrients.

Micro-Dwarf and Patio Varieties

  • Specialized Varieties for Limited Space: In response to the demand for space-efficient gardening options, micro-dwarf and patio tomato varieties have been developed. These compact varieties are well-suited for square foot gardening and small raised beds.
  • Closely Spaced Planting: Micro-dwarf and patio tomatoes can often be planted very closely, sometimes as close as 6 to 8 inches apart, making them ideal for maximizing square footage.
Espoma Organic Tomato-tone 3-4-6 with 8% Calcium. Organic Fertilizer for all types of Tomatoes and vegetables. Promotes flower and fruit production. 4 lb. Bag – Pack of 2
  • FOR USE ON: Use Tomato-tone organic fertilizer for all types of tomatoes; both heirloom and hybrid. It Produces plump, abundant tomatoes, not unwanted foliage. Can also be used on all vegetables.
  • CONTAINS: Tomato-tone is a rich blend of the finest natural & organic ingredients enhanced with our exclusive Bio-tone formula; 3-4-6 Fertilizer analysis with 8% calcium to help prevent blossom end rot. Tomato-tone is environmentally Safe – No sludges or toxic ingredients.
  • WHEN / HOW TO USE: Best to use Tomato-tone fertilizer every two weeks through the growing season. Apply to the soil around the drip line of the plant and then water thoroughly. Tomato-tone is ready to use and requires no mixing.
  • FOR ORGANIC GARDENING: Tomato-tone is approved for organic gardening; It is a registered Organic Input Material meaning it meets all requirements for organic production.
  • MADE IN THE USA: Product of the Espoma Company. The leader in natural organics since 1929

Conclusion

In conclusion, the number of tomato plants you can grow per square foot depends on various factors, including the type of tomatoes (determinate or indeterminate), your gardening method (in-ground or container), and the specific tomato variety you choose. Understanding these factors and their associated spacing requirements is essential for achieving a successful and productive tomato garden, regardless of the space limitations you may have.

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Whether you’re growing determinate or indeterminate tomatoes, utilizing containers, or opting for specialized micro-dwarf and patio varieties, the key to success lies in careful planning and spacing. By following the recommendations outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy a bountiful harvest of flavorful tomatoes within the confines of your available square footage.

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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