Which Should You Choose?
If you’ve ever decided to grow your own tomatoes, then this is a dilemma that you’re probably familiar with – determinate vs indeterminate.
We’ve all been there – standing in our local nursery or flipping through the pages of our favorite seed catalog. There is a long and wonderful description of the fruit that each plant will produce, and they all sound utterly delicious. With so many options, it can be very hard to narrow it down and choose only a few.
And then, next to the lengthy description of the fruit – there is one word that you aren’t sure about. It’s on every label, so it must be important. “Determinate,” what the heck does that mean? Even worse, “Indeterminate.” You were feeling so excited, and now you’re just confused. Does it really matter? Should I buy one of each? Did someone put this here just to confuse me?
Well, the short answer is that yes, it really does matter – and no, someone didn’t put it there just to confuse you. There’s really one key factor that you should take into consideration when choosing determinate vs indeterminate tomato varieties… Here’s Marjory Wildcraft to tell you what it is:
Determinate vs Indeterminate
The main point Marjory makes can be summed up like this: determinate tomato varieties yield their tomatoes all at once, and indeterminate varieties yield tomatoes sporadically throughout the growing season.
She also touches on the growth habit of each type, explaining that determinate varieties are typically more compact and bush-like; while indeterminate varieties typically grow as large vines and require some sort of trellising or support.
How Will You Use Your Tomatoes?
If you’re planning to preserve many of your tomatoes, then determinate varieties might be a no-brainer for you. Because the tomatoes all come in a short window of time, these varieties lend themselves to canning. Using determinate varieties, you’ll be able set aside some time and do your canning for the season all at once.
But if you prefer to eat your tomatoes fresh, indeterminate varieties may be a better choice for you. You will be able to harvest tomatoes for a longer time, and you’ll be less likely to be overwhelmed by a huge harvest of fruit that comes all at once.
As with most things – the best approach is probably to try both types yourself and figure out which one works best for you. If you have enough room to experiment, it’s always nice to plant a few of each so you can have your tomatoes and eat them too!