Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes: What you need to know.

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I have always said that tomatoes are the gateway crop that will have you so addicted to gardening that you will turn your tiny backyard into a wild and crazy food producing garden. (ask me how I know!) Not only are they fairly easy to grow, they taste way better than what you can buy in the store. Understanding the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes is helpful in planning your garden

red indeterminate tomato

What’s the difference??

When it comes to tomatoes, there are two main types: determinate and indeterminate. The difference between these two types of tomatoes is all about their growth habit.

Determinate Tomatoes

Determinate tomatoes are bushy plants that grow to a certain height and then stop. They typically reach a height of 3-5 feet and produce a large harvest of fruit all at once, usually within a 2-week period. Determinate tomatoes are a good choice for small gardens or containers, as they don’t require a lot of space. Some popular determinate tomato varieties include:

  • Better Boy
  • Early Girl
  • Roma
  • Patio
yellow tomato

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Indeterminate tomatoes are vining plants that continue to grow and produce fruit throughout the growing season. They can reach heights of 6-10 feet or more, so they require a lot of space. Indeterminate tomatoes are a good choice for large gardens or for growing in a greenhouse. Some popular indeterminate tomato varieties include:

  • Beefsteak
  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Sungold

Choosing the Right Type of Tomato

The best type of tomato for you will depend on your growing space and your needs. If you have a small garden or container garden, determinate tomatoes are a good choice. If you have a large garden or greenhouse, indeterminate tomatoes are a good choice. Honestly, I don’t have a large garden but I grow lots of indeterminates. I just make sure they have heavy duty supports like cattle panels.

No matter which type of tomato you choose, be sure to give it the proper care and attention. Tomatoes need full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering. With proper care, you’ll be enjoying fresh, homegrown tomatoes all summer long.

Here are some additional tips for growing tomatoes:

  • Plant tomatoes in the spring, after the last frost.
  • Space plants 2-3 feet apart (You can possibly go closer than 2 feet but you will have to stay on top of pruning)
  • Water tomatoes regularly, especially during hot weather.
  • Fertilize tomatoes every 2-3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Protect tomatoes from pests and diseases.
  • Harvest tomatoes when they are ripe.

With a little care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious tomatoes from your garden.

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