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Determinate/Indeterminate tomatoes

The following article was adapted from one written by Gardening Jones, a master gardener in Pennsylvania and appeared in its entirety on the April 24, 2013 website of Horticulture magazine.

 

"There are two basic types of tomatoes, and which one you want depends in part on your needs.

The shorter, bush type tomatoes are called determinate tomatoes. They normally don’t need to be supported, though it won’t hurt. They shouldn’t be pruned, and will only grow to a height of 3 or 4 feet, making them easier to care for.  Determinate tomato plants will produce most of their fruit in a short period of time, often within weeks. These tomatoes are good for those who want a lot of fruit to ‘put up’, for gardeners with a shorter growing season or those growing in containers, and for gardeners who want to free up some space for succession planting. Most determinate types are hybrids, though there are a number of heirlooms to choose from as well.

We often get asked “Why did my tomatoes suddenly stop producing?” Well, unless they have been subjected to very hot weather, it’s usually because they are determinate plants. If they are short and you got a lot of tomatoes, chances are they are that’s the reason.

Taller and vining indeterminate tomatoes are just the opposite. They will need to be supported and are better off pruned. Indeterminates can easily grow over 6 feet tall. They will produce less fruit at a time, but over a longer period. On these types of plants you’ll see flowers as well as different stages of fruit development throughout the season; in fact they don’t stop growing until frost. You’re not going to want these if you intend to grow tomatoes in a container. Indeterminate varieties are better for those gardeners who just want a few fresh tomatoes throughout the week and over a longer period of time. Most heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, the way nature intended. Many tomato connoisseurs would argue that heirloom tomatoes, and especially indeterminate varieties, are the best tasting.

That could very well be true. I can say from experience that the indeterminate heirloom ‘Sungold’ was by far the best-tasting cherry tomato we ever grew. It also tried to take over the garden, growing easily to 8 feet tall and quickly out of control, attaching itself to other tomatoes and anything else it could find."

 Gardening Jones is a master gardener in Pennsylvania. Learn more at gardeningjones.com/blog.

News

Summer Food in Wintry February

 

16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.


more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News