What is the proper spacing when planting tomatoes in the garden?
Tomato varieties are classified as determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are small, compact plants. They grow to a certain height, stop, then flower and set all their fruit within a short period of time. The harvest period for determinate tomatoes is generally short, making them good choices for canning. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, flower, and set fruit until killed by the first frost in the fall. Accordingly, the harvest from indeterminate varieties often extends over a 2 or 3 month period.
Spacing of tomato plants depends on the growth habit of the variety and training system employed. Indeterminate varieties that are staked can be planted 1½ to 2 feet apart in the row. Indeterminate plants grown in wire cages should be spaced 2½ to 3 feet apart, while a 3- to 4-foot-spacing would be appropriate for indeterminate tomatoes allowed to sprawl over the ground. Determinate tomatoes can be planted 2 to 2½ feet apart. Rows should be spaced about 4 feet apart.