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Old 02-28-2013, 11:33 PM   #1
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Question about growing tomatoes

OK, if you have planted tomatoes this year in most of your available gardening space, and given the fact that you shouldn't really grow tomatoes two years in a row in the same space, what would you do for more tomatoes next season?

Is there a way to prepare the bed to negate the effects of planting the same crop again? Would it help planting green manure in it over the winter?

The tomatoes are about to get pulled out very soon and I would really like more next season.....but should I just suck it up and rest the garden bed/grow something else next season?

Any advice from seasoned tomato gardeners?

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Old 02-28-2013, 11:43 PM   #2
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

The reasons for not growing tomatoes in the same place repeatedly is 1. soil depletion and 2. disease. Most home gardeners don't need to worry as much about this. There's ways to combat it. You can start by making sure you pile compost on that bed before planting the tomatoes and regularly during the season. Tomatoes are nitrogen-hungry, so planting peas or beans in that spot either earlier in the season or after the tomatoes are pulled up will help naturally restore available nitrogen. Regarding disease, if it's there, it's not going to disappear if you plant them elsewhere. Disease can blow from miles away from another gardener's plot to yours so there's not a whole lot to do but responsibly manage it. The most common problems are fungal diseases in the soil reoccurring. Removing the leaves from the bottom of the plant a good 8-12" off the soil will prevent splash up from watering, as will thick mulch and black plastic. If you have a terrible problem with either of those things, I would work on improving the soil and in the meantime grow the tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets. But as I said, small home gardeners grow their tomatoes year in and out in the same spot and rarely have a problem if they tend to the soil.

ETA: use aged compost as green compost will further deplete the nitrogen stores in the soil in order to break down and could burn your plants if it contains animal manure.

Last edited by 3lilbubs; 02-28-2013 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:43 AM   #3
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

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Originally Posted by 3lilbubs View Post
The reasons for not growing tomatoes in the same place repeatedly is 1. soil depletion and 2. disease. Most home gardeners don't need to worry as much about this. There's ways to combat it. You can start by making sure you pile compost on that bed before planting the tomatoes and regularly during the season. Tomatoes are nitrogen-hungry, so planting peas or beans in that spot either earlier in the season or after the tomatoes are pulled up will help naturally restore available nitrogen. Regarding disease, if it's there, it's not going to disappear if you plant them elsewhere. Disease can blow from miles away from another gardener's plot to yours so there's not a whole lot to do but responsibly manage it. The most common problems are fungal diseases in the soil reoccurring. Removing the leaves from the bottom of the plant a good 8-12" off the soil will prevent splash up from watering, as will thick mulch and black plastic. If you have a terrible problem with either of those things, I would work on improving the soil and in the meantime grow the tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets. But as I said, small home gardeners grow their tomatoes year in and out in the same spot and rarely have a problem if they tend to the soil.

ETA: use aged compost as green compost will further deplete the nitrogen stores in the soil in order to break down and could burn your plants if it contains animal manure.
Yes. We tend to plant our tomatoes in the same plot year after year. Now, we have tried the last two years to grow oats on the plots we are done with to "fix" the soil and it seems to work well. We didn't have any major issues, it was more of an experiment. It's easy, and doesn't hurt anything to do it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

Thanks for the replies. I was under the impression nematodes could build up in the soil and that's part of the reason for rotation. Maybe that's just an Australian problem? My toms did die off a lot but still kept ripening, not sure what was going on, so I'll check their roots when I pull them up.

It is a new garden bed, it had pittosporum trees in it before, so I will pull out the toms, add lots of compost and plant some oats or other nitrogen fixing plants in there over winter.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

Read storeys guide to tomatoes, the kindle edition is like$2 paper version $3, a great guide to growing tomatoes! I'm taking a lot of the above in there this year. But I have a 20x40 ft garden an most of our well be peppers and tomatoes every year. I'll be planting peas after (even if I don't get to harvest any) to till into the ground with maneur and compost and let that sit over winter
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

I grow my tomatoes in the same spot every year and haven't had any issues. Infact I think my tomatoes multiply more each year.

we do plan on putting new soil in this year.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

My parents put their tomatoes in the same planters/dirt for a couple years in a row, their plants are doing great
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