If you are trying to produce the tastiest and best growing tomatoes possible, you may have wondered what the difference is between a determinate and indeterminate tomato. Not only does each have distinctive qualities, but, many gardeners agree that there is a definite taste difference between the two.
It is helpful to know how determinant and indeterminate tomatoes differ. The distinctions below can assist in helping you produce the best growing tomatoes you can and enjoy the bounty each plant brings.
Characteristics of the indeterminate tomato plants:
1) have the ability to grow 6 – 10 feet tall
2) are generally sturdier and produce more tomatoes than the determinants
3) fruit is set on nearly every node and continues producing until frost
4) needs room to spread out and will require firm stakes
Characteristics of the determinant tomato plants:
1) also known as “bush tomatoes,” these grow up to 6 feet tall before extending to the side instead of upward
2) tomatoes mature faster – average of 60 days
3) tomatoes generally ripen all at once, and are therefore good for canning, freezing, or drying
4) pruning or staking is not needed
5) fruit is set on only a single node
Because they are less costly and easier to grow on a commercial scale, at least 80% of store bought tomatoes are from determinate plants. It is believed that determinants have less flavor due to all the fruit developing at once, and therefore less sugar and nutrients are available for each fruit.
Some examples of indeterminate tomatoes are:
2) Big Beef (most of the beefsteak types)
4) Early Girl
5) Big Boy
Some examples of determinant tomatoes are:
3) Super Bush
Because each variety has its’ own pros and cons, you have to look at you own unique situation to decide which tomato plant is the best for your circumstances. If you have limited space, the determinant may be a better option as these varieties can easily be grown on a patio.
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