Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomato Plants
Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period) and then die. They may require a limited amount of caging and/or staking for support, should NOT be pruned or “suckered” as it severely reduces the crop and will perform relatively well in a container (minimum size of 5-6 gallon). Examples are: Rutgers, Roma, Celebrity (called a semi-determinate by some) and Marglobe.
Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called “vining” tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the growing season. They require substantial caging and/or staking for support and pruning and the removal of suckers is practiced by many but is not mandatory. The need for it and advisability of doing it varies from region to region. Experiment and see which works best for you. Because of the need for substantial support and the size of the plants, indeterminate varieties are not usually recommended as container plants. Examples are: Big Boy, Beef Master, most “cherry” types, Early Girl, most heirloom varieties, etc.
Varieties Available at Pemberton Farms
Beef Master (80 Days): Standard extremely large 20 oz., Italian beefsteak with outstanding taste.
Better Boy (75 Days): Large fruited hybrid, average 16 oz. Not much wilt tolerance.
Celebrity Bush (67 Days) Shorter version of ‘Celebrity’, determinate plants, easy to stake, 8-9oz, solid red fruits with a flavorful blend of sugar and acid. Resistant to Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt (Races 1 and 2) and nematodes.
Early Girl (54 Days): Oblate shaped fruit, deep red exterior and interior color. Excellent flavor for an early variety.
Jet Star (70 Days): Large, clean fruit, relatively blemish-free. Globe-shaped, low-acid, pleasant fruit with bright and attractive color inside and out. Sturdy, indeterminate vines grow vigorously, producing heavily on stakes or on the ground.
Lemon Boy (72 Days): These plants produce medium-sized fruits (7 oz.) with beautiful and unique lemon yellow skin.
Supersonic (75 Days): Produces heavy yields of large, meaty tomatoes of excellent quality. Fruit are deep oblate in shape, smooth and crack free. Indeterminate – use ground or stake culture.
Patio Hybrid (60 Days): For bedding plant growers and perfect for containers. Dark green, bushy, potato leaf foliage average 24 in. height. Produces large 4 oz. red fruit.
GRAPE (CLUSTER), PLUM & PEAR TOMATOES
Juliet Grape (60 Days) Hybrid ‘Juliet’ was a 1999 All-America Selections winner and is resistant to both Alternaria (Early) Blight and Late Blight. Indeterminate. Fruits ripen early. 1 – 2 oz fruit.
Moby Grape (70 Days) Unusually sweet 1 oz fruit, 2 ½ x 1” on a compact plant great for patio pots. Determinate.
Roma (75 – 80 days) Large harvest, thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 oz, 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy or for slicing. Cooks down into a thick sauce.
San Marzano Plum (80 Days): Great taste and a great keeper both on and off the vine. Very popular for sauces.
Speckled Roman (85 Days) A gorgeous and tasty 3 x 5″ orange tomato with yellow stripes with few seeds and good for cooking. Indeterminate.
Yellow Pear (78 Days) Vigorous vines produce high yields of 2″, yellow-skinned, pear-shaped fruits with few seeds. Prolific yield and dependable performance. Large golden-orange fruits average 1-2 lbs. Very few seeds and delicious flavor.
Large Red Cherry (75 Days) the name says it all – these are just large red cherry tomatoes. Indeterminate.
Sweet One Million (65-75 Days) The indeterminate 3 foot tall plants produce 1-1 1/2 inch fruit in grape-like clusters.
Sweet 100 (65 Days): Must be staked. Popular high sugar, small 1 in. red cherry fruit.
Sun Gold (57 days): Bite sized golden orange high yielding fruit. Exceptional sweet, fresh-from-the-vine flavor. Produces large yields over an extended period of time.
Tumbling Tom (70 days) Relatively small plant produces high yields of 2 oz red tomatoes. Tomatoes are sweet and flavorful. It is ideal for small spaces – hanging baskets and containers. Indeterminate.
Black Krim (75 days) Produces high yields of dark reddish-black beefsteak tomatoes. Interior is reddish green and very sweet. Excellent for salads and sandwiches. An heirloom from the Black Sea region of Russia. Indeterminate.
Brandywine (90-100 Days) Originated in the 1800′s and known for the high standard of good flavor. Huge flat globe 10-16 oz. pinkish red fruit (some stripes) . Available in yellow and red.
Cherokee Purple (90 days) Plant produces high yields of 6 to 12 oz purplish pink tomatoes with a sweet rich flavor; they turn deep pink with purplish tint and green shoulders. Grown over 100 years ago by the Cherokee Indians. Indeterminate.
Green Zebra (75 Days) Produces good yields of 3 oz green tomatoes with dark green stripes. Tomatoes have old fashioned tomato flavor and stay green when mature. Excellent for salads, sandwiches, pickling, and sauces. Determinate.
Indigo Rose (75 days) Produces high yields of 1 to 2 oz tomatoes with purple tops and red bottoms. These tomatoes are resistance to cracking and the plants are relatively compact. Indeterminate.
Old German (75 Days) Produces good yields of 2 lb golden-yellow tomatoes with red and pink stripes. One of the best slicing tomatoes on the market. Indeterminate.
Rose (75 – 80 Days) Large, crack resistant, 10 oz. fruits are meaty and dusty rose colored. Flavor is excellent and is considered by some to rival Brandywine. Plants are vigorous and strong with good leaf cover.