Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tomatoes - Determinate vs Indeterminate

I think one of the most confusing things for me when I seriously started gardening was figuring out the different between determinate and indeterminate.  It's kind of like when you are a kid (or later) and you have to remember which is your left and and which is your right.  LOL

Like remembering which hand is which, knowing the difference in tomatoes will help you emensly in choosing the right tomato for different applications.  The difference in these plants has nothing to do with flavor but it does have everything to do with choosing the right plant for the right location and the length of growing and producing times.

Determinate tomatoes are perfect for container gardening because they tend to grow as a bush.  Take a careful look at the length of these tomatoes growing time.  Reason?  They will give you a burst of tomatoes during a given period of time and then they will be done.  For this reason it's a good idea to choose several different varieties for early, mid and late season tomatoes or actually plant in succession.  These plants do well in the upside down method of growing or, as I said before, in containers.

If you want a plant this will give you tomatoes all season long and you want to just depend on this fellow then choose an indetermanite tomato variety.  Be prepare to stake or cage this fellow because he will continue to grow and vine all over the place.  These guys can be rather unruly.  When tying them to your supports remember to attach them loosely as the vines also grow wider as they grow older and you don't want to choke the vine off.

When you purchas your tomatoes Determinate tomatoes will often be marked DET and Indeterminate with INDET.  Most heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate but I was fortunate to find some heirloom seeds that were actually determinate for my hanging tomato pole this year.  My dear hubby kindly moved my pole closer to the house so I can water them more frequently.

So you see, anyone can grow a tomato plant whether in a regular garden or a container.  They like LOTS of sun and now you can choose the variety of tomato that will best suit your application.

Happy Growing!

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