I have about 16 large tomato plants which have both blossoms & small green tomatoes on them. I'm afraid that maybe I planted them too close together, as the foliage is really thick & I have to search to see all the tomatoes. I'm worried that the fruit won't get enough sun to ripen. Should I pull out some of the plants so the fruit will get more sun?
How much light do my tomatoes need to ripen?
If the plants are flowering and setting fruit well, you're good! Sunlight has to fall on the leaves, but not on the tomatoes. In fact, too much sun on the fruit will damage it (sunscald).
What varieties? What distance?
If these are large indeterminates like Sungold, Black Cherry, etc. then they ought to be at a minimum 2 feet apart in all directions.
They are all medium-sized red varieties. One is Better Boy, I think. I chose three different kinds with different growing periods. Basically, there's no space between the plants.
Had a volunteer last year plant itself in nearly full shade. I was sure it wouldn't get fruit, but it did. Then I was sure they wouldn't ripen, but they did. They were the best-tasting tomatoes I had. Far better than my intentionally-planted ones. Go figure!
I agree with Frank. If they're flowering and setting fruit, I wouldn't worry about it. My tomatoes the last two years have been very close together, and that hasn't seemed to slow them down at all.
glendale.....had something similiar happen here. Started tomatoes too early last year and one black cherry ended up over two feet tall, neglected and in a 7 inch pot by the side of the house. Went days without water but it produced a few fruit. My sis, a long time foodie, pronounced them the best tomatoes she had ever had. But the later black cherries in the dirt, which grew in full sun to be over 12 feet tall and produced hundreds of fruit, were not popular with anyone. They were bland.
I saved seed from last year's shady volunteer. It was also growing in hard-packed, solid red clay. I have about 10 plants going, hoping that at least one of them will produce fruit as good as that one. Only time will tell. They should -- but, as you say, often it is the condition they grew in and that's hard to duplicate sometimes.