Rumors require temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and plenty of sunlight to produce an abundance of fruit. Increasing several plants together in a single bed multiplies the crop, but only as long as the plants are planted correctly to optimize production. Planting too carefully results in water and soil nutrient competition, while also making the plants more prone to disease. Space the tomatoes properly, and you can successfully grow several plants in a single bed or more in a small space using intensive gardening methods.
Set tomato seedlings outdoors 10 days prior to the transplanting date in order that they adjust to outdoor conditions. Place them in a place protected from direct sunlight, rain and wind. Leave them outside for 2 hours the first day. Slowly raise their time outside and the exposure to the elements over the 10 day period until the plants spend the entire night and day outside. Bring the plants inside during this period if frost is expected.
Work a 2-inch layer of compost into a full-sun garden bed prior to planting. Select a bed that receives at least six hours of daily sunlight. If you plant intensively with tomatoes set close together, make certain the bed receives air flow on all sides and isn’t against a fence or wall to minimize fungal disease problems.
Plant caged determinate tomato varieties 3 feet apart in all directions. Space staked and pruned tomatoes as little as 2 feet apart. Plant small stake-trained varieties as near as a single plant per square foot at a small intensive gardening bed.
Dig a planting hole for each individual tomato. Lift the tomato from its pot, and plant it so the bottom leaves are appropriate above the ground. Tear the rim off biodegradable pots, like the ones made of peat or hardened, and plant deep enough so the rim of the pot isn’t above the ground. Duplicate for each tomato plant.
Install the plant support system immediately after planting. Put heels over plants or install a stake in 6 inches of each tomato plant stem. Caged tomatoes need no pruning to grow together at a bed. For staked tomatoes, tie the main stem of this plant to the stake at 8-inch intervals, and pinch off the small suckers that form in the joint between the lateral branches and the main stem.
Water tomato crops once or twice weekly. Supply about 1 inch of water weekly, or sufficient to maintain the top 6 inches of soil moist. The soil may dry out more quickly in intensively planted beds in which the tomatoes are put close together, requiring more regular watering.