Determinate vs Indeterminate: Battles in The Land of Tomatoes?

From cherry or grape to beefsteak, there are many types of tomatoes. Surely, those are not the only categories to classify these “love apples”. Although this may sound like your old English class back in school, there is such a thing as determinate versus indeterminate tomatoes. We are about to tell the difference soon.

When it comes to growing tomatoes, each type may have slightly different methods. Either from the choice of fertilizer, seeds, to the ratio, we all hope to have ripe, blossoming fruits. They can later be picked and eaten as snacks or processed first as ketchup sauce. Foods like salads and sandwiches also need them.

To distinguish the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes, let’s check them out one by one.

1. About Determinate Tomatoes

There are seven (7) traits that determinate tomatoes show you, which are:

  • Their plants are small but with better, controlled growth.
  • Their fruits ripen quite early in the harvest season.
  • Because they can produce a lot (perhaps hundreds) in one season, many farmers use them for mass canning business. Imagine the number of pasta restaurants that need this.
  • Related to the previous point, they are also great for containers.
  • Unfortunately, the plants usually wither in the middle of summer. This happens because they give their space to other new emerging ones.
  • These tomatoes do not require a lot of staking and caging.
  • They can grow right in the flower beds as well without becoming parasites for the flowers and vice versa.

2. About Indeterminate Tomatoes

For indeterminate tomatoes, they have six (6) traits that you can see when you plant them:

  • Their plants are large, and they sprawl when they grow.
  • Unlike determinate tomatoes, these ones have fruits that ripen longer – from early to late in the season.
  • The production of these fruits remains until they become bulky shrubs.
  • These plants need strong
  • You can choose between growing them in large containers or using an in-ground planting system. However, the latter is better.
  • Large, dedicated vegetable beds are safer for them than any other beds.

3. The Indeterminate Tomatoes List

When it comes to types of tomatoes, the list is endless. From heirloom to hybrid, there are always variants to choose. With these indeterminate tomatoes list, you can have plenty of options too. Some of the best and most chosen ones are here:

  • The Beefsteak Tomatoes

There are three types of beefsteak tomatoes, and this is not just about their colors. They also ripen in 80 days.

These extra-large tomatoes are good for slicing. Also known as the “Beefmaster”, these indeterminate tomatoes can produce up to two pounds of them. Their shape is oval and rather flattened.

There is also another one called “Supersteak”. These tomatoes are also large and meatier, but with fewer seeds and pulp.

Last but not least, there is “Delicious”. Just like its name, this type is delicious and can grow about one-pound heavy each.

  • The Tiny Fruits

Just like the name of the category, these indeterminate tomatoes are small and often used for salads. They can harvest over a hundred in one season. There are many names, like “Super Sweet 100” (1-inched tomatoes produced in 70 days) and “Sweet Millions” (large clusters of cherry tomatoes produced in 65 days).

There is also a bunch of tiny fruits called “Yellow Pear” (1-inched yellow ones that do look like pears and ready to ripen after 70 days.)

  • The Unusual Varieties

These indeterminate tomatoes are also called ‘unusual’ for a quite a plenty of reasons. These are the five (5) best examples:

  • Yellow Stuffer: four ounces of lemon-yellow and multi-loved tomatoes. They look peppers, with their semi-hollowness.
  • Long Keeper: orange tomatoes with red-streaked flesh. After a few weeks, they are still good, and you are safe to eat them.
  • White Wonder: white tomatoes by skin and flesh, and also eight ounces heavy.
  • Evergreen: green tomatoes, also by skin and flesh. They look really bright green when they are ripe.
  • Brandywine: also, an heirloom tomato, large and pink by the skin. They are sweet, slightly acid, and can produce more in up from 75 to 85 days after transplanting.

 4. The Determinate Tomatoes List

Determinate tomatoes also have their own list. Just like the indeterminate ones, they have a lot of variations. From the real deal called ‘the heirloom’ to the hybrid versions, here they are.

We may begin with ‘Siberian’ and their twin ‘Beaverlodge’. With a high standard of flavor, these tomatoes are knee-high and perfect for salads. After that, there are ‘Glacier’ and ‘Sophie’s Choice’. These two are large enough for a ‘slice and dice’ before you keep them dry. Preserve them, and you get tangy ketchup sauce.

There is also that beautiful ‘Ida Gold’, with its beautiful orange skin and loaded with the little green fruits. They grow and ripe early and easy. They also taste really good. Another phenomenal one is ‘Patio Choice Yellow’. It has won the 2017 All America Selections.

You can even grow them in hanging baskets. Do not forget, though. There are still plenty of other determinate tomatoes, but most of them ripen up from 75 to 80 days.

  • Pruning Indeterminate Tomatoes

When it comes to growing tomatoes, you also need to know how to prune them. Pruning indeterminate tomatoes requires these four (4) steps:

  1. Snip off clusters of blossoms before they are 12 to 18 inches tall. Use pruning shears. Once they are this tall, let the next clusters develop and snip off the lateral branches.
  2. Cut off suckers over the second leaf from the bottom. Leave two leaves on each stem for better photosynthesis process. Let three to five suckers grow into main stems.
  3. Remove the broken, damaged, or diseased parts soonest before the infected part(s) affect the entire plants.
  4. Remove the growing tips for a final prune. This will redirect the sugar to the fruits as they ripen.

You do not need determinate versus indeterminate tomatoes as an endless battle. Each offers various classes, from cherry to beefsteak or heirloom to hybrid. You are welcome to choose any.

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