[Market-farming] how many tomato plants?

clearviewfarm at bluefrog.com clearviewfarm at bluefrog.com
Sat Feb 14 16:37:39 EST 2009


Bill,

Would you care to comment on which heirloom varieties were the best yielders?  For that matter, which were the worst yielders of those you trialed?

Thanks,
Kurt Forman 
Clearview Farm 
Palmyra, NY 14522

--- wshoemak at illinois.edu wrote:

From: Bill Shoemaker <wshoemak at illinois.edu>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] how many tomato plants?
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2009 10:26:14 -0600 (CST)

>   It seems that 10 lbs per plant is a common yield. At
>   that point I would only need 300 plants (30
>   lbs/share / 10 lbs per plant * 100 shares). Other
>   yield estimates, based on row feet, are 2.3 lbs per
>   row foot, with Florida weave. At 18 to 24 inch
>   spacing that would be 3 to 4.6 lbs per plant, would
>   mean 30 lbs per share / 3 lbs per plant * 100 shares
>   = 1000 plants. Quite a spread.

Over the many years I've done tomato trials, including heirlooms, I've found that better yielding varieties will produce up to 20 lb per plant, most of the time in plastic mulch and drip irrigation. With the heirlooms I found they could produce as much with some varieties, while others performed at less than half of the better ones. Most of the time I was planting in rows 5'-6' apart with plants 18" apart. If you're not getting 10 lb per plant, you may want to review your system.

Bill
William H Shoemaker, UI-NRES
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
St Charles Horticulture Research Center
535 Randall Road  St Charles, IL  60174
630-584-7254; FAX-584-4610
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