The Q&A Archives: Growing Tomatoes

Question: I was told to let my tomato plants grow as tall as possible, 7 ft. or so. I was also told not to let them grow tall at all (3 - 4 ft.). That way they would grow "out" and produce more fruit. Who's right?

Answer: As you have discovered, many gardeners have their own methods for growing tomatoes! Some people prefer to let them vine indefinitely, and some prefer to stake and prune them to encourage side growth or to limit their size, and some just let them scramble across the ground. (This last method may actually increase the yield, but it is hard to harvest the tomatoes!) Different varieties may respond differently to different techniques, too. Finally, yields will vary from year to year depending on the growing conditions such as soil and weather and the variety grown.

The best way to decide who is right is to grow some plants as a test trial and see what works best for you over time under your specific condions. Then you can "swear by" your own method!

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