Luscious vine-ripe tomatoes straight from the garden provide a delicious and nutritious addition to fresh garden salads and a flavorful accent in sandwiches. Growing and harvesting them is relatively easy. As long as they are planted deeply, provided enough space for healthy growth and adequate water, tomato plants produce an abundance fruit ready for harvest 60 to 80 days after transplanting to the garden.
Determine the type of tomato plant you wish to grow. Tomatoes generally fall into two groups, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes grow to a specific size, usually 1 to 3 feet in height. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow throughout the summer and can reach a height of 6 to 10 feet depending on the climate. Check the seed package or plant identification tag to determine which type you are growing. Each requires different spacing.
Plant determinate tomatoes 1 ½ to 2 feet apart in rows spaced 3 feet apart. Plants that are caged or staked may be grown slightly closer, but should be spaced at least 14 inches apart to allow adequate air circulation and room for harvesting.
Space indeterminate tomato plants 3 to 4 feet apart in rows spaced to 4 to 5 feet.These plants grow profusely and spread to a wider area than determinate varieties. Failure to provide adequate room for the foliage results in increased susceptibility to disease, due to lack of air circulation.