This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

winner of the too-tall-tomato vine contest!!!

tape measure measuring tomato plants
too tall tomatoes
I was really impressed with The Tiniest Tomato of the Year at May Dreams Gardens and at The Gardeners Anonymous Blog. Wow! I've always wanted to win a contest, so I'm entering myself in the Tallest Tomatoes Vines contest and am officially declaring myself the winner! It seems there has never been a contest before for tall tomato vines, but nevertheless, there is one now.

What clued me in to my unusually tall vines was when my neighbor stopped by. He looked over the garden fence and said "What's with the tomato plants?" I hadn't noticed how tall they were getting.

So on September 3 (Labor Day) I got out the ladder and measured my tomatoes. I recorded a full 9 feet! 112 inches! If you have tall tomato vines too, please send in your heights. Of course to win this contest, you will need to have measurements recorded on September 3rd. Yes, it's a rigged contest. But I would still love to hear that others have outrageously tall vines too.

My winning vine is a New Girl tomato plant. I think the trick to growing tall plants is to plant them too close together. I have squeezed 20 plants into a space of about 7 x 5 feet. That's 1.75 sq ft per plant. I faithfully remove all suckers until the plants are about 5 feet tall. They have very good soil with lots of compost and fertilizer and are watered regularly. The location has sun from about 10:30 am on.

My tomatoes usually continue to grow into October, so this plant may grow another foot or two taller.

(As a footnote, I notice that Wikipedia cites the following tomato information: The heaviest tomato ever was one of 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), of the cultivar 'Delicious', grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. The largest tomato plant grown was of the cultivar 'Sungold' and reached 19.8 m (65 ft) length, grown by Nutriculture Ltd (UK) of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK, in 2000. These don't count for my contest, so I still win.)

I think I'll make a little button for my sidebar to say I have won this esteemed honor.

Solanum lycopersicum
photos of Kathy


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your sense of humor, and I agree completely.

I'm also really impressed with the tomato plant! I think my tallest was around 7-8 ft.

September 09, 2007 7:40 AM

Blogger Gina said...

congrats on the award! what an honor! those are really tall tomatoes...

September 09, 2007 10:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

None so tall here. The tallest of mine is yellow pear (cherry var.) ... it is almost to the top of my 8 ft. fence, but it is so wide I have given up trying to harvest from most of it. That's ok, the local squirrel does a pretty good job and has been leaving the other plants alone since I stopped picking from it.

September 09, 2007 11:19 PM

Blogger Ali said...

Congrats! You've truly reached the heights of achievement in tomato culture.

As for largest tomatoe plant, I'm not surprised that a Sungold one that. My sungold plant out muscled the nearby tomatoes and is now smothering my cucumber vine. But I LOVE those sweet little gems....

September 10, 2007 8:18 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Yes. "..the heights of achievement.."!!! I love it.

September 10, 2007 9:02 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I'm glad to hear that others have tomato plants that are pretty tall too. Mine don't seem to be way out of line.

September 10, 2007 9:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have on a pot a 8 feet tall grape tomatoes, and I'm very proud of it!

September 11, 2007 11:48 AM

Blogger kathy said...

I'm impressed that you grew a tomato SOO tall in a pot! You must take really good care of it.

Everything I put in pots this year has dried up because of neglect.

September 11, 2007 10:55 PM

Blogger Dennis said...

and you produced 3 tomatoes?

March 12, 2008 3:47 PM

Blogger kathy said...

More than 3!! The plants started late, but ended up producing very well. Maybe 15 good sized tomatoes per plant, I would guess? But I've never really counted.

March 13, 2008 3:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

my name is jim and i have a cherry tomato vine and iam am amazed it is 11/ 3 tall produces a lot of fruit

June 17, 2008 9:43 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Beautiful tomato mentioned your garden space is very shady. Did all of your tomatoes do well in your own space. I am growing few heirloom variety in my balcony where i only get about 3-4 hours of direct sunlight:-(

June 24, 2008 10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you grow your vines up strings like commercial growers you can easily grow them to's all about looping the vine back down to let it start growing up again.

September 26, 2008 6:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew one over 13 feet tall a few years ago, I never have been able to get one that big since, luckily I took some pitures.

February 13, 2009 7:57 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Wow! Tall tomatoes!

February 13, 2009 9:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice tomatoes! My tallest "Brandy Boy" topped out at just under 10 feet for my tallest one, and then about 8 1/2, 7 and 6. If I had one more plant, I would have sent in a photo to ATT wireless for them to use in one of their advertisements. Well done.

March 06, 2009 10:39 PM

Blogger kathy said...

10 feet is really impressive! Good growing!

March 06, 2009 11:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually have 10-11 feet of tomatoe plants. They are planted in the back of our condo and ina planter box 13" x 48" x 16" . They get sun only in the morning around 11 am to 1pm california time. My neighbors started to do the same as mine. I am proud of my tomatoes.

July 07, 2009 10:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi im nicole!! i love ur tomato plants!! i think its because u grow ur tomatos on the side of the house! i also do that..i have a plant right now thats also 9 feet tall!! here is my e mail! im going to try to take a pic and send it to u with my camara!!

August 04, 2009 2:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on TV in Mid-August with my 10ft tall tomato plants (yellow plum, beefstake, roma and jubilee). All require a ladder to get top fruit. One plant is pushing 12 ft. I use bamboo stakes. Size of fruit is not stunted. Tall staking needed to prevent plant bending.

August 24, 2009 4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually a Japanese Scientist simulated pre-flood conditions on the earth in a growing chamber, and grew a 30 foot tall tomato tree with 5,000 fruit hehe.

May 09, 2010 12:14 AM

Anonymous Ted Davis/In DC. said...

Has anyone used milk to feed there tomatos...? Since they are nothing but calcium anyway I was wondering if it worked for size and overall growth of the vines...? Thanks,Ted Davis,Washington DC.

June 23, 2010 9:43 AM

Anonymous Ted Davis/In DC. said...

I also wanted to add that this is a wonderful web site...! Kudos "Skippy" (and your mom...)The radish in the martini is a fantastic idea for color...I would never had thought of it...Thanks...Ted/DC.

June 23, 2010 10:28 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Not me on those milk fed tomatoes. Never heard of anyone doing this. You could be the first...

June 23, 2010 10:33 PM

Anonymous Ted Davis/DC said...

Hello Kathy...Ted here...I used the Carnation Evaporated Milk from the can mixed one can per gallon of water.I gave them a good soaking right when I planted them.As of today they measure in at 6' 3" tall...The largest I have ever grown and it is only July 3'rd.Happy gardening all...

July 03, 2010 9:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of my plants are now roughly 9 feet tall. My trellis only goes to 8 foot, but they're at least a foot taller or more than that currently, and still growing!

Just using some miracle grow pellets I sprinkled out earlier in the season, as well as some manure and top soil mix, I mixed in. This is my first season of ever growing a garden too! It's amazing what these have done.

Aaron (Nashville, TN)

July 10, 2010 2:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ted, down here in Centreville we use Gatorade instead of milk since everyone in D.C. knows plants need electrolites.

My German Johnson tomato plant is now at 8ft tall, JUly 11th.

July 11, 2010 12:21 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Wow - those are well tended plants! This year mine are only 3 feet tall now :( I just added some Garden Tone. Maybe they want Gatorade and Milk too!

July 13, 2010 3:59 AM

Anonymous Ryan said...

Neato! I had a monster cherry tomato plant grow about 7 feet. then I let the limbs go back down to the ground. Easily 14 feet. does that count? or does it have to be held up in the air?

May 13, 2011 9:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want tall tomato plants. Why do you stop suckering at 5 feet?

May 24, 2012 9:51 PM

Anonymous Dave said...

It is July 25th 2012. I have a tomato plant that is over ten feet tall at the moment. It's out of control. lol

July 25, 2012 1:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today is August 1st 2012 and I have 2 cherry tomato plants that are closing in on 12 feet tall and still growing fast. Only a week ago they were 10 feet. They have reached the top of the stakes and now I need to figure out how to go higher with the stakes

August 01, 2012 12:17 AM

Anonymous Sandy said...

I also have a Cherry tomato plant..Tiny Tim I think it is called. I was a little late getting it planted near the end of June I believe it is now 8 ft 6 in and still growing.

August 28, 2012 3:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Sally, in northern Iowa. I believe it's all about the cage. This year I put up a 10' one around 2 Big Boy plants. Even in the severe drought it's at 8'9". Have close to a month before frost and thinking it will hit the top of the cage. Too fun!

September 10, 2012 9:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been having fun with growing taller and taller plants. Three years ago I grew an 8' grape tomato. I thought that was really tall, until last year I had a plant that grew to 12 1/2'. This year, our plant ended up 19.8". Not sure if this is a record or not. If not, I still have had a lot of fun.

November 11, 2013 5:47 PM

Blogger Tom said...

I have an heirloom beefsteak that has exceeded 9ft and still growing. It is 4 inches from the eave of my house

August 13, 2014 10:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one it is 12foot right now and is getting taller

August 07, 2015 6:25 PM


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