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Should you plant tomatoes in the same place every year?

Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
I rotate my crops from one bed to another every year but more and more I have seen a debate come up about not rotating tomatoes but instead replanting them in the same place every year. It "seems" that some gardeners have noticed that their tomatoes grow better when grown in the same place. I wonder if a specific type of fungi or microbe builds up in the soil and aids the growth of tomatoes. Any thoughts on this? Can anyone confirm or refute this?
Paula Edwards


Joined: Oct 06, 2010
Posts: 411
I actually wanted to start the same thread.
It is said too, that they love to be mulched with their own leaves.

I realized that tomatoes like to be grown messy and that they hate to be tied on a stake.
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3896
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  80
I don't know about it being better growing them in one place, but my limited space means that's pretty much what happens anyway.
I keep the soil as healthy as I can and haven't had any disease problems.
                            


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
Yes, I just was reading about that also, so I'm going to try it this next season.  And here we always thought we had to rotate, huh. 
I had three volunteer tomato plants that came up where tomatoes had been planted last year, and those plants did better than the purchased ones planted elsewhere.  Most of my garden debris gets heaped into piles in the fall just to get it out of the way, then I let the chickens in.

A side note about rotation: I have friends that rotate faithfully.  If they plant tomatoes where potatoes were the following year, the plants are a lot shorter than the rest of the tomatoes.  I didn't believe it until I saw the two rows side by side.  Where the potato crop had been the previous year, that row of tomatoes were 2' shorter.  I googled it and couldn't find any real science to back that up, but they made a believer out of me.

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
Its a frustrating question because there is just so little on the subject. The conventional wisdom overwhelms any alternative view points. I'd really like to find something specific on why tomatoes thrive in the same soil year after year. I guess thats the fun of permaculture. Not knowing better so you don't get distracted by that "conventional wisdom"
Mike Turner


Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: Upstate SC
    
    1
The wild type cherry tomatoes that self-seed throughout my garden each year haven't had any disease or growth problems after 4 years of self sowing in the same locations.
maikeru sumi-e


Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
ediblecities wrote:
I actually wanted to start the same thread.
It is said too, that they love to be mulched with their own leaves.

I realized that tomatoes like to be grown messy and that they hate to be tied on a stake.


Tomato leaves make for a rich mulch and happy tomato plants. I remember reading in a book that the leaves are rather rich in minerals, and this seems true to me, as the roots can run deep, thick, and everywhere, sucking up a lot of good stuff out of the ground. I have planted tomatoes in the same place now for a couple years now, and I recycle their leaves there. No problems yet. I'm already preparing that part of the garden again for this year's tomatoes.


.
Jason Long


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
In the subtropics the tomato plant is a perennial which only makes sense to me that they would like to be grown in the same area the following years.


Treehugger Organic Farms
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Im going out on a long limb by saying this because I really dont know, but I suspect that anything can and should be left to grow in the same spot every year as long as it fits into a balanced ecosystem. From my own experience I can say that it seems that things are just fine growing in the same spot when there is a balance of soil organisms, bugs and human interaction. My 2 cents


permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
Well I am going to go ahead and take the risk. I am going to be using the dcarch method but its only pheasable if you grow in the same spot every year. I do not think annuals should be grown in the same place every year. If we are following natures lead than its pretty clear that things move around. Is it vital to move plants far away from their previous spot? No but they should jump a few feet every couple of years. The exception to this seems to be perennials or tender perennials grown as annuals like tomatoes. It seems the more I read and discuss on permaculture the more my garden changes and evolves.
Pat R Mann


Joined: Dec 31, 2009
Posts: 21
Location: Seattle, WA
Marianne wrote:Where the potato crop had been the previous year, that row of tomatoes were 2' shorter.  I googled it and couldn't find any real science to back that up, but they made a believer out of me.
They're both in the nightshade family
Paula Edwards


Joined: Oct 06, 2010
Posts: 411
If it is really true that tomatoes can be planted in the same spot each year, that would be a huge advantage for the rest of the rotation. The nightshade family is rally overrepresented in the vegetable garden, and that is worse if you want to grow your own potatoes. there are aubergines, capsicums, chillies, ground cherries (and other physalis) as well and i might have forgotten something.
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit


Joined: Aug 08, 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
Tomatoes love to grow on the same spot year after year. Just give them tons of half rotten compost and lime.
Change the location when they get a disease.

No nitrogen for tomatoes!


Life that has a meaning wouldn't ask for its meaning. - Theodor W. Adorno
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i think this only applies to certain farms/gardens. modern conventional farms/gardens being the most important to rotate, as the soil is basically dead and the soil/plant cant defend itself as when there is a biologically rich soil.

i think it also depends on if its a monocrop or a polycrop. i find that tomatoes with other plants growing with them do better year after year. but when you just have tomatoes, and tomatoes only, eventually problems come into play. ive never had disease problems with volunteers growing in the same spots, or in the forest garden ever. but with the conventional organic garden i help run, some years the tomatoes do horrible and do better somewhere else.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit


Joined: Aug 08, 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
I agree with soil to some degree. In healthy soil some plants that don't need to be rotated much don't have to be rotated at all, e.g. tomatoes. Tomatoes are perennials anyway. I saw them growing up a tree in India once.
But some plants simply have to be rotated because of the distinct possibility of disease, e.g. Broccoli, cauliflower, all sorts of brassica species. Clubroot is a pretty nasty disease for them. You may be lucky when you don't get it in the second year but it's like playing russian roulette. One time cought you can't use that field for brassica species for 20 years.
 
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