Monday, May 21, 2012

Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomato Varieties



When scanning a seed catalog, tomato varieties are listed as determinate or indeterminate.  The type to buy will depend on how the tomato will be used. 

Determinate varieties grow as a compact bush, often referred to as “bush tomatoes” and produce most of their crop at one time. The fruit will be harvested in two to five pickings; then the plants are pulled. Once the first flush of fruit has ripened, the plant will begin to diminish in vigor and set little to no new fruit. Determinate plants are often the choice of gardeners who want a large supply of ripe fruit at once for canning or other type of processing. Many paste tomatoes are determinate varieties.

With indeterminate varieties on the other hand, the vine continues growing throughout the season producing its fruit. These plants are also referred to as "vining" tomatoes and will require staking to support the large load. The majority of tomato varieties are indeterminate including most heirlooms and cherry types. Other indeterminate tomatoes include Beefsteak, Big Boy and Brandywine. 

For gardens in tropical climates, when purchasing tomato seeds, as well as other vegetable seeds, check out the University of Hawai`i Seed Program at  http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/seed/contact.asp
Seeds sold here are all grown in Hawai`i and are university varieties, well adapted for the region. Seed is sold by the pound, ounce or in home garden packets (HGP).  These packets cost between $1 and $3, shipping is free.
Email seed@ctahr.Hawai`i.edu.