how many tomatoes per plant

How Many Tomatoes Per Plant Can You Harvest?

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If you grow tomatoes, you naturally would wonder how many tomatoes per plant you can harvest on a square foot garden during the growing season. A tomato grower who understands their tomato yield stands a better chance of maximizing tomato production.

Different tomato varieties have different yields, but roughly, one tomato plant can produce 9 to 30 pounds of tomatoes. So, depending on size, a single plant can typically yield 20 to 90 garden-fresh tomatoes.

Factors determining tomato production include the variety of the tomato crop, growth environment, plant care, etc. Here are a few tips to help estimate your tomato harvest and boost production.

What Are the Different Types of Tomatoes?

Determinate Tomatoes

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Tomato varieties affect the fruit production and yield of your tomatoes. These varieties can be categorized under determinate or indeterminate.

Determinate varieties grow to a smaller predetermined size (roughly four feet high). Its fruits ripen roughly the same time, and the plant dies by midsummer when it has stopped producing fruits. The fruits from the entire crop ripen all at once.

Due to the ripening process, determinate tomato varieties make great tomato sauce and paste tomatoes.

A trial testing the yield of 6 determinate tomato plants in a heated greenhouse showed that the average yield of the 6 varieties was between 20 to 27 pounds. Furthermore, the average number of tomato fruits was 55 to 62 per plant.

If you prefer your tomatoes harvested within a few weeks, determinate tomato plants are probably your best option.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

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Indeterminate varieties continue to flower and produce fruit throughout their growing season. Besides the longer growing season, these tomato plants grow quite tall (6-12 feet) and large.

An indeterminate tomato plant is not as predictable in yield, but it doesn't have its flower clusters set on its terminal points, so it continues to grow and fruit until it dies. Generally, a longer growing season means that indeterminate varieties yield more tomatoes than determinate ones.

Most tomatoes are indeterminate, and these include heirloom tomato varieties and cherry tomatoes.

How Many Tomatoes Should You Get From One Plant?

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As previously highlighted, besides the specific tomato crop variety, many more factors affect the number of tomatoes you can get from one plant.

A good tomato variety in optimal conditions can yield 20 to 90 tomatoes from a single plant. So, you should harvest at least 20 tomatoes from one plant. The size of the tomato plants also varies between varieties.

How Many Kilograms of Tomatoes Can You Get from One Plant?

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It's much easier to figure out how many pounds or kilograms a determinate tomato plant should give since they're a little more predictable than their indeterminate counterparts.

Generally, each determinate tomato plant should give roughly 9-12 kg of tomatoes. On the other hand, the indeterminate tomato plant is a little more unpredictable, but it should give much more.

The type of plant support also affects the yield. For example, the average yield of a tomato plant on stake support is 3.6 kg of fruit. On the other hand, tomato plants on trellises yield roughly 5.5-9 kg of fruit on each plant.

What Tomato Varieties Are Most High-Yielding?

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High-yielding tomato variants are bred to produce more than other varieties when grown in the best conditions.

Here are the varieties you can get the most yield out of:

  • Roma tomatoes have meaty flesh and few seeds. They have one of the highest yields, with up to 15 cherry tomatoes in each cluster and an average of 200 tomatoes on a single plant.
  • Beefsteak tomatoes are popular for their large, juicy fruits that are perfect for steaks, burgers, and sandwiches. Beefsteak tomatoes come in either hybrid or heirloom varieties and can yield up to two pounds per tomato plant
  • Grape oblong tomatoes are perfect for snacking or salads. They bear many fruits on each tomato plant and can be planted as determinate or indeterminate tomatoes
  • San Marzano tomatoes produce 6-8 clusters of big, long, pointed tomato fruits with a few seeds and each fruit weighing 4-6 ounces
  • Cherry tomatoes can be eaten right off the vines. The Baby Boomer hybrid is a cherry tomato that yields more than 300 mini tomatoes per plant
  • Lengthy tomatoes might take up some space in your garden—but the right tomatoes in the right conditions are worth the space and commitment.

How To Maximize Your Tomato Crop Yield?

Tomato growers all work with the same goal in mind – better yield.

Here are some tips to help you grow more tomatoes and help your tomato plants thrive:

a) Create enough room below the soil surface for your tomato plants to grow. Deep holes allow your tomato plants to form a strong support system, which comes in handy later when it starts bearing fruits. In addition, have an optimal row space of 18"- 36" and 48" -60" between the rows. One way to maintain optimal space and provide support physically is growing your tomatoes in a tomato cage

b) Use well-drained, slightly acidic pH (6.2-6.8) soil on your garden bed to help prevent soil-borne diseases. This is one way to maintain soil health

c) Have optimal growing conditions like having your tomato garden in a bright place. Ensure that your tomatoes receive at least 6-8 hours of sunlight

d) Tomatoes feed regularly and heavy, so its important to regularly and proportionately fertilize

e) Tomatoes flourish in warmer climates. So, if you live in relatively cold areas, you can either grow tomatoes in the greenhouses or grow varieties that have shorter growing seasons

f) It's important to plant under the right temperature conditions because temperature changes could affect pollination. When flowers on the tomato seedlings sprout, the pollination process should occur within two days; otherwise, it'll abort.

g) Tomato diseases such as fungal diseases are most harmful to growing tomatoes. Successfully planting tomatoes requires you to create an environment where diseases won't attack the tomato crop or the plant's ability to get enough water

h) The distance apart you grow your tomatoes also has a part to play in its yield. Study results show that an interrow 20 cm space is ideal if you want to increase the fruit yield per plant.

These are some tips you need to consider to create optimal conditions for your tomato plant.

In Conclusion

Even the best gardeners agree that growing and maintaining a bumper crop yield can be challenging.

We've gone into detail on how many tomatoes you can expect from one plant and the best way to maintain a high yield in your tomato garden. Knowing the best conditions and the number of tomatoes to expect is one step to maintaining a high yield.

Different tomato variants will have different yields, but roughly, one tomato plant can produce 9-30 pounds of tomatoes, depending on the size. A single plant can give 20-90 tomatoes.

Besides knowing the yield to expect, you'll need to maintain certain conditions for a great harvest. These optimal conditions include having a well-lit garden, maintaining great soil pH and plant support, and much more.

You're ready to plant with this information and the best conditions in place. Happy planting!

Frequently Asked Questions on How Many Tomatoes Per Plant You Can Harvest

1. How long does a tomato plant live?

Most garden tomato plants in relatively cold areas only live for a year. However, in relatively warmer regions (where it doesn't fall below 60°F) or if you're growing tomatoes indoors, tomatoes can survive two years or more.

2. How many tomato plants would you need to feed a family of 5?

Organic tomatoes at the farmer's market can be a little pricey, so growing them in your home garden to feed your family would be great. Growing garden tomatoes is also one way of ensuring that your family eats fresh, wholesome tomatoes free of BPA and excessive pesticides.

If you grow cherry tomatoes in your garden, one plant would be enough to feed one person. However, you'd need two to four slicing tomatoes to feed one person.

So on average, you'd need five cherry tomato plants to feed a family of five or 20 slicing tomato plants to feed the same family size.

However, if you need tomatoes for salsas, pastes or sauces throughout the year, you'll need to plant more. For instance, preserving 24 quarts of marina sauce, pizza sauce, and salsa will amount to 72 quarts in total. You'll need three pounds of fresh tomatoes to make a quart of tomato paste, so in this case, you'll need roughly 216 pounds of tomatoes.

While working with an average yield of 15 pounds per plant, you'll need to plant at least 14 tomato plants to cover a family of five.

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About the author

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.