Days

I'm new to gardening. I bought some tomato plants and they're doing well. Each was marked at a certain number of days such as 'Early Girl 80 Days'. What is 80 days? Does it mean the number of days from seed to edible fruits or something else?
I saw no explanation of 'days' anywhere in the garden center where I bought the plants. As a comment, I bought these plants which were about as tall as my thumb in early June. Today they are up to my chin - or about 165 cm. They are intermingled because I only planted them maybe 30 cm apart. I figure they are ok that close. Should I trim off the branches which intrude on their neighbors?
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Well, sorta. Best use for this sort of information is "which of these cultivars will ripen soonest?" in a relative sort of way, rather than counting on the "days" thing to mean much. And yes, it's supposed to be days from planting to harvest (first harvest in the case of things that will keep producing for awhile) However, in the real world, the actual number of days to harvest will be strongly dependent on air and soil temperatures and amount of sunlight.

I usually plant tomatoes about 30" on center, or about 75 cm apart, with about a meter or 1.25 meters between rows. The closest I'd consider planting the tomato cultivars you list is about 18", about 45 cm. apart in the row, and that if the plants are trellised. They're really competing pretty hard for sunlight and nutrients and water at such a close spacing. No, I probably wouldn't trim, but try a wider spacing next year. Bet you'll get more yield per plant.
Kay
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Kay Lancaster wrote:

which are now green turn red. Yet clearly, they are competing for space and sun which can't be good.
Next year I'll greatly enlarge the garden. My wife understands these things. I took a day when she was at a seminar to purchase the materials and do the plantings as a surprise.
Not surprised I did it a bit wrong.
-paul
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Trellised tends to protect the fruit from sunburn; I personally prefer to grow mine sprawled on clean mulch (better yield per plant). I wouldn't top tomatoes; the plants know what they're doing pretty well. ;-) Remember the part you're trimming off also is photosynthetic, and loaded with minerals the plant has had to absorb, translocate and turn into various compounds -- might as well let them keep it, is my motto. Also, removing apical meristems tends to cause more branching further down the plant... I really don't want the plant pushing for more vegetative growth while it's fruiting.
But methods of growing tomatoes get a bit into almost-theological debates at time... so if you've got a method that works well for you, use it, is my motto. If you've got a method you want to experiment with, then try it. I've known gardeners who have practically espaliered tomatoes, and gotten nice fruit. I'm in the "least effort" camp, and have gotten good fruit. Tomatoes are pretty cooperative about growing no matter what, in my experience.
To the OP: if your plants are flexible enough and you've got enough room, you could try to encourage every other plant to lean forward onto grass or mulch, which would give more exposed leaf area for interception of light. Or you can just say, "next year"! :-) Most of us are not subsistence farming... we're gardening for the pleasure of it. So celebrate the tomatoes you get this year, and do a little reading for next year....
Kay
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Kay Lancaster wrote:

Hmm, well, although the plants are clearly intertwined, I can't train them to go anywhere. Again, my embarrassment in being ignorant.
Last fall I gathered some datura seeds figuring they had a nice look to that plant. I put the seeds in the tomato garden and also some other wild seeds from buffalo squash plants I found (while riding my bicycle). Also a bunch of flowers I can't ID.
The upshot is my garden is a riot of plant activity. I can't see even a square mm of dirt if viewed from above. There is no room for anything at all. I had no idea the size these plants would grow if I put them in a garden I made with Miracle Grow dirt and the same brand chemical fertilizer. I have buffalo squash plant tendrils intertwined within my tomato plants, peppers in the squash, datura in everything and gosh knows what else is in there such as flowers, a watermelon plant and some morning glories.
I've harvested maybe 10 tomatoes. They tasted great and didn't have any insect damage. I can't spray for insects because my wife forbids this. She's an organic person.
I'm anticipating a good tomato crop as I have maybe 50 green tomatoes on the 6 plants and another 30 on the 'cherry' tomato plant. Next year I plan on drastically expanding the garden to accommodate the plants in their real sizes. I had no idea a plant the size of my thumb (tomato) would grow to be 170 cm tall in two months.
As to the reaction of datura to Miracle Grow, well the less said the better. I'm feeling a bit embarrassed but also tickled that my first garden is so green.
-paul
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