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Tomatoes - What's the Difference?

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While perusing through the catalogs or nursery isles, we've all seen the words Determinate and Indeterminate on the tags, but how many of us know what this means?


The Growth Habit of Determinate Tomatoes  

  • Often called "bush" tomatoes because of their bush like habit
  • Grow up to 4ft (1.2 meters) tall 
  • In early growth, will grow to expected height, then stop and become more bushy with side shoots
  • More compact then Indeterminate varieties 
  • Less staking is needed
  • Great for containers or small spaces
  • Don't require much pruning or sucker removal
  • Many varieties are early yielding
  • Variety works well in climates with shorter growing seasons
  • Bears fruit for around 5 weeks and then it's finished
  • Examples of determinate tomato varieties are:   Beefsteak type: Rutgers, Celebrity, Mountain Fresh, Florida 47, Orange BlossomPlum type: Roma, Plum Dandy, San Marzano



The Growth Habit of Indeterminate Tomatoes  

  • Often called "vining" tomatoes because they continue to grow vertically until killed by frost
  • Continue to flower and bear fruit until killed by frost
  • Can grow well over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall
  • Need staking
  • Need to be pruned regularly.  Removal of suckers is required for best yield. 
  • Best yield when grown in areas with long growing seasons
  • Examples of determinate tomato varieties are:  Cherry type: Sungold, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Sweet 100;  Grape type: Red Grape, Juliet;  Beefsteak: Big Boy, Early Girl, Big Beef, Jet Star;  Heirloom/Speciality: Brandywine, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra


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