Tomatoes love warm weather, making them ideal summer and early fall plants that tend to produce fruit in around two months from planting (of course it depends on the tomato variety you get, but two months out is a good average). Tomatoes also need a bit of extra care, particularly from the start with well-amended soil and frequent waterings. Especially when first planting tomatoes, bury them deeper than you would normally expect – as the tomato plant grows upward, having a solid root system below will help make sure the plant doesn’t topple over from its own weight (caging is usually needed for tomato plants, but we’ll discuss that more below).
So now that you know a little more about planting tomatoes, how do you choose the type of tomato plant? Tomatoes are available in two main types: determinate and indeterminate. The simplest way to tell the difference is by their height.
Determinate Tomato Varieties
Determinate tomato varieties are also known as bush tomatoes as they are more compact plants as they grow. While they can grow up to a height of 4 feet or more, they stop growing when fruit grows on the top bud. At this point, all the tomatoes on the plant ripen at approximately the same time, and shortly thereafter the tomato plant dies. Thus, it’s important to keep a close eye on your determinate tomato plants so you don’t miss harvesting the tomatoes once they’ve ripened. Nothing is sadder than finding your tomatoes after they’ve ripened and rotted. In fact, so nothing is wasted, determinate tomato varieties are ideal for canning purposes.
When deciding if you want to plant a determinate tomato variety, for the size of your backyard garden or patio planting, consider that they will need to have some caging structure for support. If you’re planting them in a backyard garden, space each plant three feet apart from each other. Ideal for urban farming, determinate varieties of tomatoes can also be grown in a large container on your patio if you just want one or two plants. Please note that you should not prune determinate varieties of tomatoes as the practice severely reduces your crop.
Examples of determinate tomato varieties are: Better Bush, Celebrity, Marglobe, Rutgers, Tumbling Toms, and more. Tumbling Yellow Toms are known for their hardiness, disease resistance, and compact size, making them ideal for Colorado weather conditions.
Indeterminate Tomato Varieties
Indeterminate tomato varieties, also known as vining tomatoes, are much larger than their determinate counterparts as they can grow up to a height of 6 or more feet tall. Due to their height (and the subsequent weight of the fruit), indeterminate varieties of tomatoes also need substantial caging to support their growth.
While their size might throw you off (especially if you live in the city), don’t write off indeterminate varieties of tomatoes just yet. Why not? Because they produce fruit the entire season unlike the determinate varieties that bear fruit once and they’re done. If you love to snack on tomatoes, add them regularly to your salads or other meals, and have them readily available throughout the season, choose an indeterminate tomato variety.
Examples of indeterminate tomato varieties are: Beefmaster, Creole, Goliath, Grape, Sun Gold, and many other heirloom tomatoes. Another indeterminate tomato variety, Anna Russians, are known to be incredibly drought resistant, making them ideal for Colorado growers.
Find Your Tomato Plants at City Floral Today
Knowing the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties is just the beginning. Come into City Floral Garden Center in Denver today to get your tomato plants and ask our knowledgeable employees about all your tomato related questions!
Crazy for tomatoes? We are, too! Click here: City Floral Denver Tomato list 2014 for our complete list of tomatoes. We also have a whole video on tomatoes from 2013 – watch it below: