How Many Tomatoes To Plant This Year?
The number of tomatoes produced on a single tomato plant in a season is tough to predict. You get a variation as a function of which variety you have planted and you get all kinds of changes as a function of the weather. At the same time we can make a general guess so we can reasonably plan on how many plants we want to go into our garden this year.
A determinate tomato is the one that grows to only 3 or 4 feet tall and it produces its entire crop over a period of four or five weeks. You can estimate that you’re going to get something between 20 and 40 tomatoes over the season from one of these plants.
On the other hand the indeterminate tomatoes are the ones that can grow up to 7 or 8 feet tall and will produce continually from mid-July to the first frost. These plants, if everything goes well, can produce 80 to 100 fruits during the season; that’s a lot of tomato salads.
So while it is imprecise to estimate exact numbers, if you plant two or three plants per adult you will likely have sufficient fresh tomatoes for the entire season.
So far I have been talking about people who would be considered to be fairly sane. There are among us however, including myself, tomato gardeners who have no control whatsoever. There are only two of us in this household and last year we had more than 20 tomato plants; some would think that is a little crazy and it probably is.
Here is my rationale. I know that there are certain varieties of tomato that are going to grow extremely well in my area. And on the other hand there are varieties that do very well on the East Coast or on the West Coast but not so well here in the Midwest. So I figure the only way to discover those best varieties is to plant each year 5 to 10 varieties that I have never grown before.
Obviously we have lots of tomatoes to share with friends and neighbors and the food kitchens. You will have to figure out for yourself whether you want to be sane or crazy.
Nancy Szerlag, America’s Tool Queen