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The Best Distance For Planting Heirloom Tomatoes

After months of planning for your tomato garden, you finally have everything figured out. You’ve purchased seeds, starter mix and containers for starting seeds, tags for labeling, lights( if you are starting indoors) and now you are ready to start your growing season. A few weeks later, your seedlings have all done well, you have prepared your garden soil, readied your stakes, and soon it would be time to get your plants into the ground and out into the real sunlight. Suddenly realize that you’re unsure about what is the best distance for planting heirloom tomatoes, and that you may not get the maximum use of the space you have. Well, fear not!  I will discuss in this article what has successfully worked for me.

Minimum Distance Between Tomato Plants In A Row

When growing a heirloom tomato garden, there are a few things that should be considered as it pertains to plant spacing. Effective spacing could be the difference as to whether a garden is successful or not!  Tomatoes (heirloom or not) like enough room to encourage ample air circulation. Without a good and constant air flow, plants become very susceptible to a multitude of diseases. So planting for maximum airflow is perhaps the most important thing that can be done for a tomato garden.

I plant my indeterminate, non dwarf plants, no closer than 3 feet apart. So a 30 feet row will have at most 10 plants.  Things work even better if I plant them 3.5 – 4 feet apart.  This really makes my job easier because my plants remain healthier through the season. One thing that’s true is that I always have less issues with diseases and it’s always easier to control when planted further apart. If I already am familiar with the growth habit of  a particular variety, I make plans for that too. Some heirloom varieties can grow tall (6-10 feet) and just  as wide, so that should be taken into consideration. What you are hoping to achieve is good separation between any two plants that are next to each other. After which maximum airflow can be achieved by staking and pruning.

Distance Between Tomato Rows.

So in essence, I feel that the best distance for planting heirloom tomatoes is 3-4 feet between plants and 4-5 feet between rows. I plant determinate varieties 3 feet apart. Nothing in my garden is closer than 3 feet. I do realize that some smaller gardens may not be able to do that. But this is what works best for me.

Easier Harvest Time

Eventually, even at 4 feet apart, your plants are going to become entangled. It’s just what they do! This may make it a bit more difficult when they are ready to harvest, especially if you are saving seeds. One method I use is to plant varieties that look very different, next to each other. This ensures that I don’t mix varieties up. Hope this helps!