Going tomatoes in a raised bed garden is a very simple and easy method. There is no soil problem, less weed problem, no digging and so much more. With the beginning of each season, add some compost and mulch on top of the raised bed soil and you are good to start growing tomatoes.
One of the biggest questions about growing tomatoes in a raised bed is how many tomatoes plants are enough for better growth? How many plants are too crowdy in a raised bed? Keep reading to find about spacing tomatoes plants in raised bed garden in feet, inches and even in centimeters.
For a 4×4 raised bed, it is safe to say that 5 plants are best for the optimal growth of plants without any measurement. One in each corner of the raised bed and one in the center. But there are so many factors involved in spacing the plants. I will discuss each factor in detail here.
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How To Space Tomato Plants In A 4×4 Raised Bed?
As I mentioned above, there are so many factors that are involved in this question. The number one factor is about the variety of your plant, either it is determinate on indeterminate.
Determinate Variety Of Tomatoes:
These kind tomato plants grow to a certain size, get fully matured, give yield in a very little period of time and then gave up. Their growth time is just a few weeks. After giving their first or possibly the last yield, the plant begins to die and produce no or very little amount of new fruits.
Determinate tomatoes plants are also known as bush plants because they do not grow very much in height. They only grow up to 4-5 feet in length. Pruning is not necessary for these plants because they stop their growth. The use of a cage or trellis to support plants totally depends on your choice.
If you wanted to use the trellis for determinate tomatoes plants, then 2 to 2.5 feet (24-30 inches) (60-76 centimeter) apart in 4×4 is best for better growth. It means you can go with 6 plants in a 4×4 raised bed. But remember you have use trellis or cage and give a lot of nutrients for that number of plants.
If you allow your tomato plants sprawl over the ground, the best space is 3-4 feet which are 36 inches and 91 cm. But it is best if you use trellis or cages to control and support your plants.
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Indeterminate Variety Of Tomatoes:
Unlike determinate variety, indeterminate tomatoes do not give very yield and die. They are vining plants and they don’t stop growing in length throughout the season. They can grow up to 12 feet long.
Throughout the growing season, they will give you fruits and produce new fruits until the frost hit and they die. Their yield is slow and steady and almost the whole season, unlike the determinate variety which gives only one but large harvest.
The ripening process of indeterminate varieties takes a little bit longer time because these plants spend so much energy and time in growing tall. Most of the tomato varieties are indeterminate like most heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, Brandywine tomatoes, and Sungold tomatoes.
If you are using cages and trellis for indeterminate varieties then, 3-4 feet spacing is good, which is 36 to 48 in inches and 91 to 193 in cm. It means you can grow 4 plants in a 4×4 raised bed.
And only 2-3 plants would be appropriate if you allow your plants to sprawl over the ground, which is not a good thing, you should always use cages or trellis to support your plants.
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Here are a few things you need to know about spacing before planting tomato plants in a 4×4 raised bed.
In a 4×4 raised bed we have about 16 square feet area to grow tomato plants. And a single tomato plant needs a minimum of 4 square feet area to grow. According to this calculation, we can grow only four plants in a 4×4 raised bed, which is totally true in the case of indeterminate varieties.
Some indeterminate plants require even more space like 6-8 square feet for one plant. But you can grow 5 or 6 plants if you are growing determinate tomato plants.
There are some methods and varieties of tomatoes which only require 1 square foot for each plant. That is awesome.
Tips For Growing Tomatoes In A 4×4 Raised Bed
A first and very important tip about growing a tomato in a raised bed is the selection of soil. Tomato plants love acidic soil of pH 6 -7 with good drainage. So a little soil test would be great before plantation. And this is one of the best things about using raised beds, you can easily manage your soil.
The second tip is very important for users of 4×4 raised beds. The size of 4×4 raised beds is small. It means plants have a small number of nutrients to grow. That is why fertilizing the plants is very important after a certain period of time. As we all know, tomato plants are heavy feeder, they will require a good amount of nutrients to grow tall and give a high yield. Use organic fertilizers.
For indeterminate tomato plants, pruning is a must. Because they grow up to 12 feet and will cover all the areas. So you have to prune the plants, so there will be less competition for resources.
As I already told you that tomato plants are heavy feeders. They also need a lot more water to thrive. Even more water in a raised bed. Always check the moisture level of the soil. If it feels dry, water them. Water early in the morning or before sunset. Water deeply and slowly.
There is a lot of misinformation available on the internet about spacing. That you can grow 1 plant in 1 square foot. That may be true for certain methods or varieties. But for most of the varieties, that will be a disaster. You will have a jungle of tomato plants with no fruit.