How many tomato plants should I grow (family of 4)

Tomato    None Given

All of us tomato lovers and would like a decent supply over the summer months. How many should I plant out to keep us going? Is there a very prolific fruit producing variety thats best?

Posted by: Vicki Albright (2 points) Vicki Albright
Posted: February 23, 2013


6-10 plants should be good.

However, I've had the same problem as you with tomatoes. Sometimes things go wrong. As with all of my gardening, from lettuce to fruit trees, I plant much more than I think I'll need. The worst thing that happens is you get an overabundance - and that's much more of a blessing than a curse. We bring our overflow to church and give them away to our neighbors. If you want sauce, like Matt said, definitely go with the romas. There's more flesh than juice there.

My best tomato year ever was the year I went (full scary disclosure!) dumpster diving behind a KMart. There I found an entire display of tomato seedlings that had been chucked. I filled multiple trash bags with them and gave away over 100 seedlings at least. My wife and I then jammed at least 50 plants into our own gardens... landscape... and wherever else we could find a spot. Some did great and other died - but we had tons of tomatoes with very little work other than planting and watering. Lots of sauce, salsa and fresh tomatoes that year!

If you grow from seeds, it's very inexpensive. Plant lots and you won't be sorry. Good luck!

Posted by: David Goodman (67 points) David Goodman
Posted: February 24, 2013

David Hughes commented,
Dumpster diving is great. And rewarding.
about 7 years ago.

That sort of depends on what you use them for. As you know there are hundreds of varieties. I personally don't like raw tomatoes much, but I love Roma tomatoes for making excellent thick sauces. Romas are very prolific, I think 6-10 plants should be enough for 4. If you want them for sandwiches and things there are many types of tasty heirlooms, but these are less hardy than what you might find at, say, walmart. Make sure you get an indeterminate type, so that they will continue to produce throughout the season.

Posted by: Matt Peoples (7 points) Matt Peoples
Posted: February 24, 2013

Vicki Albright commented,
Well fresh would be great but also would be good to have some for sauce or paste too. Last year I planted 5 out and I don't know if I maybe watered too little or they got a disease but by the end of July the leaves were yellowing and they died...
about 7 years ago.

Vicki mentioned in the comment to Matt that the leaves start going bad after a disease. Well, this could be low nitrogen in which case you need to add nitrogen. But it more than likely early blight that is caused by the fungal like organism Phythopthora. Here is a picture from Penn State extension

This disease transmits in wet conditions and often builds up on the lower leaves. You can control this by pruning off the yellowing leaves. This prevents spread of the disease. There is a nice youtube video on this
Also, dont spray the leaves but water directly onto the soil

In the future you should check in PlantVillage or you local University Extension site to see if Early Blight is on the rise. Just like the flu in humans plant disease build up in your area and hearing about that can help you reduce the costs on your crop.

Posted by: David Hughes (52 points) David Hughes
Posted: February 25, 2013

You need to log in if you'd like to add an answer or comment.