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What's the difference between a ‘DETERMINATE’ and an ‘INDETERMINATE’ Tomato?

DETERMINATE varieties of tomatoes are also called “BUSH” tomatoes. They are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (average 4 feet).

• Determinate tomatoes stop growing when fruit sets on the “terminal” or top bud of the plant. They ripen all of their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period) and then start to die
• These tomatoes require CAGING and/or STAKING for support.
• They SHOULD NOT be pruned or “suckered” as it severely reduces the crop production.
• Determinate tomatoes produce relatively well in a good sized container (at least 5 gallons)
• VARIETIES INCLUDE: Roma, Tumbler, Manitoba, Patio, San Marzano

  INDETERMINATE varieties of tomatoes are sometimes called “VINING” tomatoes.

• Indeterminate tomatoes will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost
• These tomatoes can reach tall heights of up to 10 feet (6 feet average).
• Indeterminate tomatoes will bloom, set fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time
• Throughout the growing season these plants require SUBSTANTIAL CAGING and/or STAKING for support.
• Pruning of suckers (small leaves growing between plant branches) is recommended to encourage fruit set.
• VARIETIES INCLUDE: Early Girl, most cherry types, most heirloom varieties listed here

What's an Heirloom Tomato?

An heirloom is generally considered to be a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family because of its valued characteristics. For our purposes, heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation. Note: All heirloom varieties are open-pollinated but not all open-pollinated varieties are heirloom varieties. With large changes in food production, we have lost many varieties of heirloom tomatoes in the last 40 years. The multitude of heirlooms that existed for hundreds of years are being replaced by fewer hybrid tomatoes. In the process we have also lost varieties of foods typically grown by family gardeners and small farms, and we have decreased genetic diversity. Every heirloom variety is genetically unique and this uniqueness includes an evolved resistance to pests and diseases and an adaptation to specific growing conditions and climates. We welcome you to our smorgasbord.