Friday, 8 May 2009

Tomato Root Space

How much root space a tomato plant needs depends on the variety and the size of fruit it produces.

Bush Varieties

Tumbling Tom and Balconi Red are quite happy in a smaller area than Red Alert - all of which produce cherry tomatoes.

Oregon Spring, Siberian, Alaskan Fancy and New Yorker (these are medium and large fruited) will all require more root space than the cherry varieties or they will run out of energy before the tomatoes fully mature. They are also bigger plants.

So how much root space, or size of container should they be planted in?

There are two things to consider:
  1. Size of Plant
  2. Size of Fruit
Red Alert is a larger plant than Tumbling Tom even though the fruit are about the same size.
Larger plant = larger root system.

When dealing with plants that are about the same size but produce different size fruit, the larger fruiting variety requires more root space.
Larger Fruit = larger root area required to bring larger fruit to maturity.

Answer: A Tumbling Tom (small cherry plant) will be quite happy in a 5 Litre pot - around 9 inches diameter.

An Oregon Spring needs a 10 Litre container (at least) to perform to its full potential because both the plant and the tomatoes are large.

Tall Varieties (Also known as Cordon and Indeterminate).

The issue here is:
  1. The size of fruit
  2. The amount of trusses you intend to grow.
These plants are usually grown in grow bags so the question is - how many plants in a grow bag?

Answer: two medium or large size varieties, or, three medium to cherry size varieties in each grow bag. Most average size grow bags contain around 35 litres of soil/compost.

With regard to the amount of trusses ... you could grow two plants with six trusses each or three plants with four trusses each - you still end up with the same amount of trusses!
Usually it is four trusses outdoors and six trusses in the greenhouse.

Few! ... if you are still with me and haven't decided never to visit my blog again, well done!

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