The Q&A Archives: Eccess Foliage

I love tomatoes! I use Miracle Grow on my tomatoes every year. My problem is that the plants grow way to large and crowd each other. I space them out when planting at two feet apart, but by the middle of the growing season they look like a jungle! I get nice tomatoes, but I have to keep tying my plants up. Some of them get so heavy with fruit that they break. I grow mostley Jet-Stars, Big Boys, and a couple of Cherry Tomatoe Plants. I feed my plants Miracle grow about every 10 days. What am I doing Wrong? Any Help would be appreciated.

Answer: It sounds like you are not doing anything wrong. Healthy indeterminate vines will continue to grow and produce all season. Tomatoes are large plants, and very often need more space than you are providing yours, even though they may look awfully far apart at planting time. An average spacing would be at least three feet apart, more if you use cages that are several feet in diameter. If you are using a cage or staking your plants, tie them in regularly so they are not so heavy when you go to support them. This way they will be less likely to break when moved. Some gardeners will also prune their vines somewhat to try to control their growth. You might experiment with that and see if it helps. Finally, make sure you are not oversupplying the plants with nitrogen as that can cause weaker, softer growth and an excess of foliage. To determine how much nitrogen (and other nutrients) you need to be using, you will need to run some basic soil tests. Your county extension (447-7582) can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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